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Old 08-22-2007, 02:09 AM   #21
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I see people describing their relationships with their insurance company and the financial strength. Those are important items.

But!



How many of you have had a catastrophic loss and filed a claim? Like house burned to the ground or earthquake leveled the house or tornado?

This is where the problems are starting to occur. This is where All State and State Farm are being criticized. Apparently former customers of those organizations are claiming that when they were hit with this sort of thing, the insurer was stonewalling to force lower settlements.


I will repeat this again in case people did not see it on the last post. Your State Insurance Commissioners web site probably lists complaints filed by policy holders against insurance company's. One such indicator is number of complaints filed per $1mm premium in the state. This ratio is an indication of how accommodating the insurer is when disaster strikes. A high ratio indicates problems. I would suggest that you check this in your state and one of the recent states that had a large disaster like California, Mississippi, Alabama, etc. This will show who pays up and who stuck it to people.


Forget having a 25 year or 40 year relationship with the insurer... none of the original people even work there. theses companies change tactics with new management. If you have not had a total loss... you probably do not have personal experience that you can rely on. You will need to get feedback from people that have had a total loss.

Of course the insurer is going to pay the small claim... they want the premium to keep rolling in. You hit them with a $500k claim and that is a different matter. Add to that if you hit them with a $500k claim and 1000 other do also because of a tornado... now you may have big problems.
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:53 AM   #22
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A few years ago I had a water pipe burst in our house while we were out of of town. We were gone for more than a week, and when we returned, there was extensive damage to the house---over $40,000 to both personal property and our dwelling. Our homeowner's policy was purchased through Amica. I had never filed a claim with an insurance company before, and frankly I was expecting an advesarial type of relationship--I could not have been more wrong. While Amica sent out an adjuster, they basically took our and our contractors word for what needed to be repaired, and the amount of money required. They fedex'ed us a debit card the day after we filed the claim to cover things like meals and hotels (our house was not livable for a while), and they provided payments for the repairs on a timely basis. They returned all calls quickly, and were very customer service oriented. I have found Amica's rates to be very competititve as well. If you are condiering changing homeowner's policies, they would be worth a look.
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Old 08-22-2007, 09:38 AM   #23
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I have been with USAA for over 40 years, and for the most part they have been good. Why ‘the most part’. Well in the past three years I have had three distinct dealing with them. In all three they proved to be a ‘big insurance’ company with inflexible service.
  • My brother passed away leaving a house in his estate. He had State Farm. We had a contract on the house, and the buyer was going to use USAA, (DD of a USAA member) We needed insurance for two months on the house to cover the period State Farm ran out, and deal closed. USAA said NO. Went to State Farm they said … Sure. I could not make USAA customer service understand the problem, and they would not escalate it to a supervisor. I wrote letters and got a apology from the President USAA, well at least it said it was from him.
  • Second occasion dealt with the purchase of our home. We financed through USAA. USAA uses GMAC as their finance arm. It was the worst customer service I have ever dealt with.
  • Death of another brother in accident. Brother was passenger in car with three others. Sister in Law, stated that USAA was the only insurance company of the four that was balking at paying off.

So my conclusion is USAA has great rates, but it is a big for profit, or at least profit for it senior leadership, company. On the plus side, our home was broken into about 20 years ago, and they paid without much hassle.
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Old 08-22-2007, 09:48 AM   #24
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I'll echo Rustic23's opinion of USAA. I've been doing business with them almost as long as he has and have seen the same trend. I'd say they were once a great insurance company that is now good in some areas but only so-so in others.
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Old 08-22-2007, 12:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic23 View Post
I have been with USAA for over 40 years, and for the most part they have been good. Why ‘the most part’. Well in the past three years I have had three distinct dealing with them. In all three they proved to be a ‘big insurance’ company with inflexible service.
  • My brother passed away leaving a house in his estate. He had State Farm. We had a contract on the house, and the buyer was going to use USAA, (DD of a USAA member) We needed insurance for two months on the house to cover the period State Farm ran out, and deal closed. USAA said NO. Went to State Farm they said … Sure. I could not make USAA customer service understand the problem, and they would not escalate it to a supervisor. I wrote letters and got a apology from the President USAA, well at least it said it was from him.
  • Second occasion dealt with the purchase of our home. We financed through USAA. USAA uses GMAC as their finance arm. It was the worst customer service I have ever dealt with.
  • Death of another brother in accident. Brother was passenger in car with three others. Sister in Law, stated that USAA was the only insurance company of the four that was balking at paying off.
So my conclusion is USAA has great rates, but it is a big for profit, or at least profit for it senior leadership, company. On the plus side, our home was broken into about 20 years ago, and they paid without much hassle.
Number 1 may have something to do with eligibility to be a USAA member. If the actual owner of the house is not within the criteria, I can see USAA's position being reasonable. If you were the owner and they would not insure you, that would be a problem, but it doesn't sound like that is the case.

Number 2 relates to financing, not insurance. If I wanted to invest or finance anything (including a house), I would go somewhere else. If I want insurance, I would stick with USAA.

Number 3 would appear to be a problem, but not knowing the particulars makes it difficult to say.
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Old 08-22-2007, 01:15 PM   #26
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USAA has grown to more than an Insurance company. That is part of the problem. You can get anything from auto insurance to a diamond ring to your home financed. My problem with USAA is they put themselves out as the 'great service' company for and of the military service member. It ain't so!

1. Brother was an Officer in the Army, qualified for USAA, I am a retired officer, Qualified for USAA. The problem was USAA did not give their service representatives the ability or authority to make a decision or to bump a dissatisfied customer to a higher authority. The correspondence I got from the presidents office clearly indicate they should have and their decision was wrong and they would be happy to write the two month policy. However, that letter came 7 months after the house closed! By the way, while his estate held the property, as the executor I was responsible for it. What I was asking was that USAA provide some of that great service they promise.
2. I financed two homes with USAA. The first was quick, clean and a pleasant experience. That is why 8 years latter I did it again. Based on the second experience, never again! By the way, I got an apology fromr the president for that one too........ You would think his office would get tired of that.

IMHO, the problem with USAA is the top has lost contact with the bottom. i.e. the basic member. USAA started as a company that insured Military Officers Only, and only auto insurance. It was formed by a group of Army officers that found it hard to get insurance based on the army lifestyle. USAA has lost it heritage and become just another big company selling multiple products to a diverse clientel. As I said, Finance, Stocks, Bonds, Diamonds, Cruises, Insurance, you name it and they will try to make a buck on it.

I still have most of my financial dealings, insurance, and banking with USAA. I am just not as much a “USAA is a great company putting the interest of its members first”. If you can get to the Presidents level, you will at least usually get an apology for the sloppy service.
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Old 08-22-2007, 02:29 PM   #27
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We're also trying to get liability insurance to rent out our fully set up concrete RV pad with full hookups, nice shade trees etc on our one acre property. So far no luck, though we can get insurance to rent out a room in our house through several companies - not Farmers - but we don't want to do that. Anyone have any suggestions? If we can't get insurance, any opinions about a Release of Liability Form? Any info appreciated.
I'm a PA insurance agent, and for the coverage you're describing (rental of the RV unit), we use Foremost. If you want a number for them, feel free to PM me. I'm not positive that they work out of CA, but it's worth looking into. They're the only company that we know of that will cover an RV or mobile home that is a rental unit. You may also be able to use Progressive for that type of coverage, but I've never attempted it, we come across the situation so rarely.

Also-and I know I'm biased, HOWEVER (and this is for everyone)...before simply dropping your agent because you feel neglected/taken for granted/etc. Give them a call and TELL THEM you're unhappy. I can't even tell you how many times we've lost business due to client dissatisfaction that we didn't even KNOW about. I know that I, personally, I have over 900 clients that I am responsible for, and many have 2 or more policies. This, along with quoting, invoicing, and general maintenence means that I don't always have time to give the individual attention I'd like to give, BUT, if I get a call, it becomes my priority. Unfortunately, I don't have time to call 900 clients just to make sure they're happy with their renewal premium. Call your agent and make him aware that you're shopping your policies. If he deals with more than one company (some agents are exclusive agents, dealing with only one) then he should be able to get you some prices with other companies. If not, he might be able to at least advise you on where you might be able to make changes, or discounts you may be eligible for that you're not aware of. Most agents will do whatever they can to keep your business. Now if he doesn't seem to care about keeping your business, then you need to walk. Oh BTW, we're a Travelers agent and I happen to also have my personal insurance with them (auto, home, umbrella) and I've been VERY happy with them (especially their prices).
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Old 08-22-2007, 02:34 PM   #28
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Oh and by the way, Travelers also offers a discount on their homeowners policies if you're retired, called the Prime Time Discount. I'm not sure if it applies in all states, but it's worth looking into.
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