Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I fired my insurance agent

...and I'm so happy I did!

No, I don't enjoy firing people as much as Donald Trump but sometimes you need to do the deed.  I had the same agent for 8 or so years.  The first hint of the relationship changing came about 3 years ago or so when the smaller independent agency that I used was gobbled up by a larger agency.  The changes weren't immediate but there was a feel that things were different.  Then about a year after the acquisition we received a scary letter from the new company.  The short of it was that our existing insurance company, Adirondack, didn't meet whatever new criteria the new company had.  I spoke with the agent who reassured us that Adirondack was still a good company but that the new company just had different criteria.  We were glad to hear this as we like Adirondack; we had experienced a claim and we thought they handled it very professionally.

Now fast forward about a year from that contact to now and we receive another letter from our insurance company with a quote for Hanover Insurance company and a cancellation form for us to sign to change when our current policy runs out.  I contacted our agent (same one who told us Adirondack was a good company a year ago) who related that she was concerned about the changes occurring at Adirondack and that the company was urging Adirondack policy holders to make the change to Hanover (and that it would save us money).  After doing a search on the Internet, I expressed in an email to our agent, Alison, that I was concerned about the many complaints that I observed online and specifically asked what our other options were.  Alison's response was to dismiss the online complaints - yes, I agreed with her that people are more likely to write complaints than compliments; however, I expressed that some of these complaints were very current and also that one source was actually an analysis of complaints to total claims and Hanover was very high in comparison to others.  I once again asked Alison if there were any other options.  Her response was a closed, "no, Hanover is the cheapest and best option."

Thereafter, I made a call and visit to a local independent insurance agent.  I expressed my concern regarding consumer complaints and he made a recommendation that was more expensive but with a company with high customer satisfaction.  This was a bit pricey so I asked for other options.  John, provided a follow up quote with MetLife which was lower than the initial top tier company and which was also lower than Hanover Insurance.  We had insurance previously with MetLife and were overall satisfied.  The reason we had left MetLife was because our original agent, Larry, (who we loved) had retired and we felt left with largely fending with the 1-800 numbers.  Long story short, MetLife plus a local agent seems like a winning combination to us.  I will briefly note that we also reached out to the insurance services offered through our credit union (CAPCOM - they're terrific) but were disappointed to learn that the insurance services were not local.

Having found a winner, the only thing left was to break the news to Alison.  I left a message on her voice mail which was quickly returned.  In our parting conversation, Alison expressed that she wished that I had expressed that I was interested in a different option as they write insurance with MetLife too ... huh?  I think my jaw had dropped so low that I was speechless.  She then went on to relate how she had attempted to contact me a couple times but that I did not get back to her... double huh?  Some people just know how to reinforce your gut feeling that you absolutely made the right choice.  Bon voyage, Alison

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