Our auto and home insurance is through State Farm, but not through lack of looking elsewhere. Twice now they have canceled my insurance due to a computer glitch–I’ve made every payment in full and on time for the better part of 8 years, and twice is two too many times to be almost without insurance when that is the case. The last time it happened was right after we bought our house, and I wrote a rather angry and pointed letter to both my agent and to the regional office. I received no reply.
But State Farm is cheap with better coverage than everywhere else I called, so I couldn’t justify switching. And when they called me three weeks ago to ask if I’d come in “to chat” and have an “evaluation” done to make sure they were “meeting my needs,” I went along with it. I was angry about it–the office is inconveniently located and it’s hard for me to make time during a week day–but I viewed it as a requirement rather than a nicety. I figured this was their nice way of telling me that my insurance rate was going to go up.
My insurance agent once again didn’t recognize or remember me, but they’ve apparently hired a young, pretty girl to be their front-person. She’s the one who did most of the talking and the actual evaluation, which was prompted by changes in state laws across the country that have modified auto liabilities. I guess if you’re under a certain threshold and get into a car accident, up to 25% of your wages can be garnished–if you are above the threshold, no problem. To get my car insurance above that threshold was only another $20 per 6 months, so I figured it’s worth it even if they are bullshitting me (which since Missouri hasn’t passed any such law, they kind of were, though they were kind enough to tell me this). An extra $3.33 a month is pretty good for an extra $200k in coverage.
They asked if I had any other questions at the end of the evaluation, and I’d been thinking about it for a while so I went ahead and asked.
“You may not remember me, but we’ve met several times in the past. Do you recall the letter I wrote you two years ago?”
He did not.
I recounted how computer glitches had canceled my insurance twice, and that I only found out the second time through the final cancellation notice–earlier notices weren’t sent out. When I called his office, they told me to call the regional billing office, but all that office could say was, “Huh, you’re right, we did cancel your insurance. And we didn’t notify you. Not really sure why we did that.”
So I wrote him a letter. The way I see it, if everything’s automated by a computer and that computer has so little oversight that it can just cancel my insurance without warning or notification, what am I paying him for? That’s when I began looking for another insurance company, but I couldn’t find any cheap enough to switch to.
He didn’t really know what to say. According to him, he never saw the letter, and he apologized and said they do whatever they can to make things work well. They’re not perfect, but they always call when people cancel their insurance or miss a payment. (Note that they didn’t call me, or reply to my letter.)
Anyways, it ended with more apologies and him leaving the office, at which time the new girl thanked me for coming in and apologized again.
“We’ve had a lot of turnover in the last two years,” she said with a glint in her eye. “I can assure you that you won’t have any problems with us again.”
I foresee a bright and successful future for her.