I overpaid by over $2,000 for our homeowner's insurance last year because of what*********** at Heil & Heil calls a "miscommunication" between her and myself. Here's what happened. We left the country for a year, from July 2013 to July 2014. Before we left I asked**** to arrange for a new insurance policy that would cover us for the fact that we had renters in our home while we were gone. The premium was about $2,400 higher, and I paid it. Last May, when we were planning to come back, I contacted her again and asked her to switch the policy back to one without renters. She sent me a quote, and I approved it. The difference between the policies was about $2,400 (both were with ******). We talked on the phone and communicated via e-mail. On May 7, 2014, I sent her an e-mail that read, "OK, then, let's extend the present policy through July 31 and have the new one start August 1, please. Thanks!" I have all the e-mails documenting this, including the quote she sent.**** did not follow up. My old policy was renewed, and that was it. I paid the full premium for the old policy. I didn't notice because it was deducted in four payments two months apart directly from my bank account, and because we were still paying ******, I assumed the new policy had been switched for the old one, per my instructions. There was no communication between**** and I until she contacted me in April 2015 to tell me that my policy was still being written as a "rented to others" home. She then switched us to a much cheaper policy with Selective. I talked to her on the phone in May 2015 and she said it had been my responsibility to call her when we got back to Chicago to tell her we were now back and the rentals were over and it was time to switch. But she had never told me that it was my responsibility to do this. In May 2014 she had left me with the impression that she was going to do what I explicitly asked her to do. She never said, "Please contact me after August 1 to make sure I did this." In my conversation with her she did not offer to make any restitution for the error. I then contacted the owner and V-P of Heil & Heil,*** ******** and ************, and the latter basically reiterated what**** said and did not offer any restitution.
I would like a refund of the difference between the quote ********** gave me in May 2014 and what we actually paid during the ten months that we were overpaying for our insurance.
To whom it may concern:
In response to the complaint by Mr. ********* below is our viewpoint relating to this case.
While we are in agreement with the timeline presented by Mr.***** and most of the dialogue and correspondence between him and **********, there are some points of disagreement.
Our Vice-President's response to Mr.***** was as follows:
I have reviewed the situation involving your dwelling fire/homeowner's policy.
As I am understanding the scenario, *** had a policy in place for your home; written as a Landlord Rental (dwelling fire), while you were out of the country for a year's time. From 7/1/2013 until 7/1/2014.
On 5/7/14, you had contacted *** stating that you were coming back to the country sometime in July 2014 and desired a quote for the property as an owner occupied homeowner's policy. She did provide that to you and you agreed with the coverage.
*** stated that 5/7/14 was the last correspondence that she received from you. *ou had made payment in full on the existing policy and the policy was sent out to you. What appears to be the miscommunication, occurred when *** was waiting to hear back from you to ensure that you had indeed come back to the US and on which date.**hat appears to have not taken place. I have pulled email correspondence between yourself and ***. I do see where you stated that you would be back in July, however, I don't see an exact date. Nor do I see any future correspondence from you stating that you were indeed back or requesting the new homeowner's policy be activated.
At some point, in April of 2015 when *** was reviewing her renewals, she saw that your Landlord Rental policy was still in force and reached out to you to see if you did return.
I recognize that you desired a Homeowner's policy vs. a Landlord policy and that seems to be the issue here. However, should anything have transpired to your property at any given time, a policy was in force and would have provided coverage. At no given time was there ever a lapse in coverage. Since a policy had been sent out to you back in June 2014, it always states that the "policy holder" review the policy carefully for accuracy and contact us with any changes that need to be made. *ou were sent a policy in its entirety for the 12 month term 7/14-7/15 prior to July 2014.
And though you had mentioned to *** in previous correspondence that you would be back sometime in July, it would have fallen upon your responsibility to alert her as to the exact date you were back and when to start a different policy.
My determination of this is that there was some miscommunication, however you as the owner and insured on the policy do have a responsibility to alert us to changes in your residence status as it occurs. *** was not aware of whether or not you had returned at the originally planned time frame. She did her due diligence in April 2015 by contacting you immediately when she noticed that the policy was still in the Landlord status.
I must reiterate that at no point in time, were you without coverage on your home.
I see that corrections have since been made and you have a homeowner's policy in place with one of our premier insurance companies.
Our goal as your agent is to make sure that your property is covered. In this particular case, there was never a moment when you did not have coverage on your home, regardless of how the policy was written.
It is to that end, that we ensure that our clients have coverage for their valuable assets. Going forward, I know *** will continue to provide you with good service as she does for all of her clients.
We value your business and look forward to continuing working with you in the future."
While we both seem to agree about the fact that there was coverage in place, the issue of premium comes into question as to who is responsible?
Though we are the agent, the policy does belong to the client.**here is a responsibility for the policy owner when money is being automatically deducted from the insured's bank account. As we facilitate the contract between the insured and the insurance company, the funds are paid by the client. All policies are direct bill.**he insured did receive an "in force" policy.**he policy was billed to the insured's bank account. If there were a change to the policy as the insured had requested, he would have noticed a change in premium deduction reflecting the same. As payments continued to be deducted, at no time did he contact ********** to question why he was paying the same amount for a new policy with different coverage? It was only upon **********'s renewal review, that she contacted the client immediately to find out if he indeed returned to the US and had the policy changed to another insurance company with a lower premium.
The agreement in the policy provisions states; "We will provide the insurance described in this policy in return for the premium and compliance with all applicable provisions of this policy."
We feel that the insured also had an obligation to alert us if money was being taken out of his account in an amount higher than he felt was acceptable.**herefore, we cannot reimburse
the insured for coverage he had based on him not alerting us to his return to the US and subsequent bank deductions.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
*** never told me to contact her when I came back, and never told me that the new homeowner policy that she sent me and that I approved and that I asked her to put into place would NOT be put into place until I told her that I had come back. When I explicitly wrote to her on May 7, 2014, "OK, then, let's extend the present policy through July 31 and have the new one start August 1, please," she should have responded with "No, you have to let me know you're back first" or something along those lines.
If a homeowner asks an agent to put a new policy into place, and the agent does not do so, is it the homeowner's fault for not following up with the agent, or the agent's fault for not telling the homeowner that she needed a final date? Why did *** wait 9 months to tell me that she did not put the new policy in place like I'd asked her to? It's a question of customer service here.
Everyone involved has now acknowledged that I paid far more for my insurance coverage than I should have.**he blame appears to me to be with Heil and Heil.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Nobody ever told me that the date I provided was only "speculative" (it wasn't--we were always planning to return at the end of July and I never gave any indication otherwise) and I was never asked to provide an "exact" date. I don't know why any "clarification" would have been needed, as it was abundantly clear in my e-mail that I wanted the new policy to begin August 1. As for the Landlord policy that was renewed, it was proper to renew that policy because I was still abroad at that time (it was renewed in May or June). I expected, given my instructions, that the new policy would then be put into place in August and the old one discontinued. Basically, what we have here is an insurance agent who either a) ignored her customer's request or b) needed additional information in order to comply with the customer's request but did not let the customer know she needed that information. In either case, her inattention cost the customer a lot of money and some restitution is in order.
Final Business Response
Contact Name and**itle:****************
Contact Phone: ************
We must reiterate again, that it is the insured responsibility to confirm changes to their policies. Due to the lack of clarity on the exact date of Mr.********* return our responsibility to the insured is to have a policy in place, which we did. It's the insureds responsibility to provide clarification at the time a change to a policy is desired i.e. Mr.********* occupancy of the home upon his return. ********** did her due diligence by maintaining coverage for the client. I've attached the front cover of the Landlord policy sent to Mr.******* and the front cover the Homeowners policy also sent to Mr.*******. It's clear that the policy in force was a Landlord policy which would have been changed to a Homeowners policy once Mr.******* had confirmed his return officially. We cannot take action in advance based on a speculative date, when it comes to coverages.
I feel that it needs to be reiterated that at no point in time, did Mr.******* call to ask where his new policy was or why he was still paying the same premium?