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When companies just don't get it...

Some companies just don't get it.

I'm currently with TD Insurance, and my home and auto insurance is up for renewal towards the end of this month.

I was already planning to shop around this year. Why?

On principle.

Because unlike many insurance companies, TD did not proactively offer discounts when COVID hit. After I called to inquire about a COVID rebate, they did issue me a check: a $67.99 cheque on a $1,739 auto policy. That's 3.9%... and only after I called to ask for it.

Maybe I'm the exception to the rule, but I tend to remember which companies choose to treat people well during difficult times and which choose to take advantage instead. And all things being equal, I try to reward companies that do the right thing for their customers and for society at large.

That's the backstory. As it happens, I got my insurance renewal papers in the mail yesterday, and I discover that my auto insurance premiums did go down... by $39.

This was surprising to me for two reasons:

1. COVID. People have been driving less, there have been fewer accidents, and insurance companies have had to pay out less as a result. (How do I know this? I have a newspaper subscription, and access to Google.)

2. I've been using the TD App all year to rate my driving, and the app tells me I'm eligible for a 20% discount based on my excellent driving. (My wife is eligible for a 17% discount. For the sake of marital harmony, I will not comment further on this discrepancy.)

So I called TD to ask them if my 20% discount had actually been included in my policy quote.

I waited on hold for 24 minutes before someone picked up.

And when John (the representative to whom I was assigned) did pick up, he confirmed that my 20% discount WAS included in my new rate. The rate is smaller than I expected it to be because rates were increased this year.

Let me repeat that: in a year when people are driving less, fewer claims are being submitted, and insurance companies are making more money as a result, TD rates went up.

When I questioned why this would be the case, John tried to explain: rates are set far in advance and were scheduled to go up before COVID hit. The insurance industry is regulated, and they can't easily adjust rates.

Nice try, John.

Last year in Ontario (where I live), the Ontario government amended a regulation under the Insurance Act to help ease the financial pressure on working people and families during this public health crisis. This means insurance companies were allowed to provide temporary insurance premium rebates to drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sure, there could have been a planned rate increase, but insurance companies could have negated those increases in the form of a rebate, and then some.

Some simply chose not to do so.

I know the rate offer I was provided wasn't John's fault, and I told him as much. Frankly, I felt sorry for him, because I could tell from the tone of his voice he was on my side; he knew there was no justification for the premium policy I was being offered, and it was clear this wasn't the first time he had to try and justify an unjustifiable rate to a customer.

But I also told him this isn't the way a company should treat customers, especially high-value customers like myself who pay my premiums on-time every year and have (in John's words), "a perfect driving record".

So I told John I was going to explore my options, and that I would call back if I wanted to renew my policy.

Then I posted, "Do I have any home/auto insurance brokers in my network?" to Facebook, and shortly after, I was speaking with an insurance broker.

I gave him all of my pertinent information, then told him what I was currently paying with TD. His response was, "Huh. That's not a bad rate... I might not be able to do too much better than that."

That's unfortunate. I'm going to do some more due diligence, and when all is said and done, there's a chance I'll still renew with TD Insurance; after all, as my father used to tell me when I was younger, "you don't cut off your nose to spite your face". But if TD turns out to be the best option, financially-speaking, I won't be happy about it.

Some companies just don't get it.

And those that don't shouldn't get your business either.



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