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Why do they let these people write letters?
Old 09-14-2010, 08:32 PM   #1
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Why do they let these people write letters?

Warning: Curmudgeon rant follows...

I received a letter today from a Vice President of Policy Service at USAA regarding "Property Policy Deductible Changes". I was informed that when my homeowner's policy is renewed there will be a change to the deductible - the reason:

Quote:
We made these changes as part of our ongoing effort to balance risk for our membership as a whole and to offer deductible options that were most chosen by our policyholders. The change in your deductible was due to one or both of these reasons.
Very informative.

The letter stated my old 3% deductible on wind/hail damage and 2% deductible on all other perils would change to 2% deductible for both. Of course there was no mention of what the impact would be to my premiums or why both deductibles went to 2% rather than 3% - oh yeah, he explained everything in the quote above.

He closed with this:

Quote:
Can I change the new deductible?

When you receive your policy packet, please review it carefully to confirm that the coverage and deductibles meet your needs. Keep in mind that with a higher deductible, your out-of-pocket expense will be greater for a covered loss.
I suppose the "can I change" question was rhetorical since he didn't really answer it.

This is my 40th year of doing business with this company but seeing letters like this make me wonder if they're starting to run off the rails...
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:16 PM   #2
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I suppose the "can I change" question was rhetorical since he didn't really answer it.
Those kind of things make me curious about the thought process they go through before releasing a gem like that.

Are they really stupid, and didn't realize that they didn't answer their own question?

Do they think we are stupid, and won't realize that they didn't answer their own question, and that we will just absorb the info that they wanted to tell us?

Although it aggravates my DW, I will occasionally call to ask what they meant (like I did with the stupid Census questions). The responses are not very satisfying or even entertaining. They seldom have a clue.

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Old 09-14-2010, 09:32 PM   #3
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I received a letter in April from my ins company for the renewal. I tried to read it but I'm not an attorney. One thing did stand out though. I had a 5% hurricane ded. but then as I read on it said that wind and rain was not covered under this policy. WHAT?

Even my ins broker had to laugh. I got a new company but the fee went from under 1100 for the year to almost 1600. At least the rain and wind was covered as best I can tell. I think maybe nothing is covered but they cover it up well.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:14 PM   #4
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think maybe nothing is covered but they cover it up well.
The are in the business to make a profit you know! Insurance sure has changed in the last 30 years and not for the better.
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:05 PM   #5
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Letters like that are usually written by committee.

Audrey
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:45 PM   #6
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I received a letter in April from my ins company for the renewal. I tried to read it but I'm not an attorney.
Being an attorney does not necessarily help. I recently was asked to review a public liability policy for a running event that myslef and some friends are organising and was unable to work out whether certain obvious possible risks were covered. When I queried these with the insurance agent, I was told to refer to the terms of the policy and consult a lawyer. For some reason we decided to look elsewhere.
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
This is my 40th year of doing business with this company but seeing letters like this make me wonder if they're starting to run off the rails...
Yeah, and I bet there'll be a little sumpin' extra in your Subscriber Savings Account disbursement this year, too...

I think these letters are a sign that USAA has realized that they're overexposed in hurricane coverage. At least you're able to get homeowner's insurance from them! Now I'm wondering if spouse and I will get our SSA check this year.

FWIW, the phone number for Armed Forces Insurance is 1-800-255-6792. It's probably cheaper than USAA. Tell 'em I sent you.
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:13 AM   #8
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Letters like that are usually written by committee.

Audrey

... or that automated receptionist that seems to be fielding calls at almost all mega corps

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Old 09-15-2010, 09:39 AM   #9
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Here’s how it happens

Risk assessment shows they need to reduce exposure. Insurance group exec decides for a higher deductible / raised rate combo. Asks marketing to preparing announcement. Marketing employee Joe is assigned the task.

Joe prepares a short, 3 paragraph letter saying USAA needs to reduce risk and raise rates, just a bit, and that USAA is still a great organization to do business with. Ends with a warm thank-you to customers.

Joe’s manager reviews. Rewrites and adds
Marketing management reviews. Rewrites and adds.
Finance reviews. Rewrites and adds. Forwards to Policy services.

Policy Services gets the proposed draft, sends to legal for review. Lawyers rewrite the entire letter - now an exercise in obfuscation. Policy Services sees new draft, sends to others to sign off. When anyone asks about unclear language, the response is “You can change this letter, but if something goes wrong, it’s your ass and your job”.

Letter goes out. Customers complain. USAA customer service steps in, asks who wrote such a crappy letter? Answer – Joe in marketing. Joe gets demoted, reassigned, and eventually fired.
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