by Bonnie Chisum
I used to buy insurance online. It was fast and cheap compared to buying traditional insurance from an agent. The internet insurance coverage was fine for several years until I had to file a claim. The nightmare began when my apartment was robbed.
“Instant Online Claims Processing!” the web advertisement had boasted. I quickly filled out the forms online and forwarded the police reports and documentation to the insurance company. Then everything got strange. My phone rang. An insurance claims adjuster from Florida wanted to confirm the details of my claim. She asked me so many redundant questions that I had to ask: “Did you get the information from my claim form online?” The answer was “no.”
The stalling tactics began. The claim required multiple letters, phone calls and emails. When the requested information was submitted there was no response for three months. Finally on the advice of Sue Jarvis at State Farm Insurance in Stanwood - I filed a complaint with the Washington State Insurance Commissioner. The company was cited by the Commission for failure to respond to the regulatory investigation! After being cited the online Florida company finally settled my claim.
The excellent speed and efficiency in which the WSC processed the complaint contradicted the stereotype of government red tape. In this example, the protection of a government regulatory board prevented me from experiencing a devastating financial loss.