Long time since I've posted! No longer at blue hardware store, thank God. Now I work for an insurance company in a call center (customer service, not sales). Haven't had many calls that really warranted a post (though I've had many assholes who frustrated me), but this one really takes the cake.
We have property policies for our customers. Part of property policies is "dwelling coverage," which covers the actual structure of your home. We run an MSB report periodically on the insured house, which gives us the estimated replacement cost to build the home from scratch, including materials, permits, labor, all that stuff. Then, if that estimated replacement cost has gone up, we update the dwelling coverage on their house, which does raise premium slightly if they have it set to automatically do so, which is built into their inflation protection. My company has a policy that we do not like to insure homes for less than the MSB tells us, so dwelling coverage should be 100% of what the MSB says. However, we do allow customers to drop that coverage down to certain percentages, depending on the states. Most states are 90%, some are 80%. These percentages are dictated by the individual state, not my company. If they decide to drop it below 100%, even if it's just to 99% of the MSB, they have to sign a form stating that they know the estimated replacement cost of their house is $X, but they are choosing to ensure it at $Y. All this explanation is important.
So this guy calls in, upset that his premium has been raised. I see that we recently ran an MSB and updated his dwelling coverage to about $240,000. He pitches a fit over it, so I advise him that we can lower it to 90% (state minimum) of the total replacement cost. This is about $216,000. He's not happy with that. He wants it lowered to $200,000. I tell him that we cannot insure the dwelling for less than 90%. He insists on $200,000. Back and forth, over and over. He says 200k, I say no. He starts accusing me of arbitrarily telling him how much coverage he can have, and if he's paying for it, he should be able to decide how much to insure his house for. While I get his point, our company does not want to insure it for less than it's worth, because it can get very sticky in the event of a loss. That's why we have to have the form for less than 100%, basically putting that burden of knowledge on the customer. It reads something like "[Company] has advised me that the total replacement cost of my house would be $X, and I am fully aware of what total replacement cost is. Despite knowing this, I elect to have my coverage at $Y, which is less than the total replacement cost" with their signature.
Then he starts arguing with me, accusing me of making up the MSB cost. He said that he built the house himself, and did it for $120,000. I ask him how long ago that was, and he told me 12 years ago. I pointed out that the cost of goods, labor, etc has gone up during that time, not to mention that it costs less to build a house yourself than to hire people to do it for you. He still isn't having it, so I tell him I can lower the dwelling coverage to 216,000 but even for that he'll need to sign the form. He says "great, send me the form and I'll send it in for $200,000. I tell him it can't be done for $200,000 but that I'll send him the form. I ask how he'd like it sent, and he gets snarky with me saying, "well why don't you pick since you're picking how much coverage I get on MY policy anyway." Finally, I wrestle his E-mail address out of him, and send him the form. This is the first time I've used the form, so I pull it up and find out that I have to put in the coverage amount (which suits me just fine) so I fill out the form for $216,000 and send it to him in an E-mail, telling him basically, "I had to fill out the form with the coverage amount, so I put the absolute minimum you can have. If you accept this coverage, please print and sign, and fax it back to xxx-xxx-xxxx or turn it into your agent."
He E-mails me back, saying he is filing a formal complant against me with the "appropriate authorities" because I misinformed him on the phone. He claims that I told him that I couldn't lower it to less than 90% unless he signed the form, and he hopes I have a recording of the call that, according to him, incriminates me. I just E-mailed him back, apologizing for the confusion but pointed out that I in fact said NUMEROUS times that we absolutely could not lower it past 90%, that it CANNOT be done, with or without the form. I forwarded the exchange to my supervisor, as well as the information to have the call pulled in case he really does try to lodge a complaint against me for doing my job.
There are two kickers to this story: The premium difference between $216,000 and $200,000 is negligible, like no more than $10 for 12 months. And really, the premium difference between 90% and 100% is about as negligible, to have it covered 100% in the event of a total loss, which can be the difference of having to pay thousands out of pocket versus nothing. So I think he's being ridiculous anyway. The second kicker: if I HAD lowered his premium to 200,000 like he wanted, underwriting would have A) just put it back at 100% when they found out, B) flagged it for bad risk and non-renewed the policy, or even C) cancelled the policy mid-term. So at best, he would have been put back at 100%, and at worst, he would have lost his insurance entirely. Not to mention, I'd probably get written up.
- (no subject)