06 April 2011

Jacob says... "Watch your Insurance Bills, People!"



Ok - so not the most interesting of subjects to write or read about, but this little series of letters has seriously irked me and I'm not a man who likes to be irked...

So … the first communication I received was towards the latter part of last year – out of the blue a letter from the mysterious ‘OnePath’ insurance company.
Now I don’t receive a lot of junk personal mail as I make a point of not putting my address on things when I can avoid it but this was personally addressed to me and they even spelled my surname correctly so I gave it the courtesy of actually opening it.

The letter was an introduction to their company – my current housing contents insurer ‘ING’ insurance – had been bought by the wonderful ‘OnePath’ insurance company apparently over a year prior – which in itself was odd as I’d only renewed my policy with ING in April and nobody had bothered to mention anything. So my policy now belonged to them but I didn’t need to worry as I was covered for the duration of the policy I’d previously held. You’d sort of hope so considering I’d paid for the full year in advance back in April.

The next communication I received was in about January / February – this letter was asking if I’d like to take out some extra flood cover on my existing policy. The letter stated that it wasn’t a mandatory requirement and it would be included in my next policy renewal. Strange, I thought, I’ve only got contents insurance with them and I don’t live in a flood-prone area so I thoughtfully declined that offer.

Just last week I received my much awaited policy renewal letter (note the sarcasm). Included with my existing coverage was ‘flood insurance’ of a meager $10,000 – not really much when you consider our contents insurance is for $95,000. Don’t worry – the letter indicated – I didn’t have to do anything – as of May the 1st my premium would be deducted from my previously nominated credit card…..
So… let me get this straight, not only did you take over my policy without my consent or knowledge but you also got hold of my credit card details – hmmm – good thing I’ve cancelled that one since last year then huh?!
I was also being ‘given’ $9,000,000 in personal liability insurance – because that’s highly important for a guy like me… and, come to think of it, I have that on my life insurance policy anyway so not overly useful.

As if that wasn’t enough to irk me, it really doesn’t take much, I continued to read the letter and the expected premium amount to be deducted - $1116.

Hold on a minute – I could’ve sworn my premium last year was in the late $600 range. Surely they can’t whack on an extra $500 for flood damage that I didn’t ask for and don’t even need. I was so surprised by the amount that I trawled through my financial records to confirm that yes, my previous years insurance premium was for $620 for effectively the same level of insurance.

Perhaps I was being na├»ve – there have been a lot of floods and natural disasters in Australia over the last 12 months – maybe contents insurance really has jumped by 80%.

Online I go – fill in a quick online quote with another insurance company – did all the figures and they even included the stupid personal liability insurance which is actually fairly standard these days apparently.
Clicking on the ‘quote’ button and waiting with baited breath I thought to myself – hey, even if these guys are as expensive as OnePath I’ll probably go with them to prove a point…… ‘bing’ and the quote pops up – grant total of $689 per annum and I even get the option of paying monthly in case I don’t really want to commit to a 12 month policy….Sold!!!!
I could probably shop around for an even cheaper rate if I could be bothered but I’m relatively happy with these guys and I have car insurance through them also so I’m happy to go with them for now.

I am very much looking forward to calling OnePath when I get a chance and informing them that I am most definitely not renewing my policy with them.

This whole small and fairly insignificant incident got me thinking about the number of people that probably don’t read these communications or even bother to remember the details of their previous years premiums. How many people out there simply file the letter away and then get whacked with massive premium increases through no request or confirmation from themselves. Beware of the dodgy OnePath – which is an ANZ subsidiary by the way but don’t even get me started on the banks under handed behavior.

End of rant!... for today…

J.

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