I’ve proudly represented the insurance industry for 35 years. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see anything negative about our industry. I’ve heard all the stories about increased premiums, poor claims services, crappy claims settlements, underwriting decisions that don’t make sense and the list goes on. Many people are just angry at the industry.
That saddens me because as an insider, I understand. But it doesn’t always have to be this way. We can know our rights and be better informed.
So, let me tell you a story about another industry, one that I recently had an experience with, that opened my eyes to those people who really hate mine.
I recently had a fall which occasioned a visit to the emergency room for a wrist injury. Subsequently I was sent to the hospital for a splint. I was told that I was to have an appointment later that month with Dr. Jones (names have been changed to protect the innocent). A couple days later I was contacted and advised that an appointment had been made with Dr. Smith at a certain clinic and not Dr. Jones as I was advised. The information provided was that it was first-come, first-serve and the clinic opened at 10:30 a.m. I arrived at 10:00 a.m. and was told that the clinic actually opened at 8:00 a.m. and that there was an hour wait for my appointment. I saw that the appointments had been triple-booked for every five minutes. Finally, at 1:00 p.m. (that’s 3 hours folks) I met with Dr. Smith only to be told that I was supposed to see Dr. Jones. Needless to say, I was extremely frustrated but rather than take it out on the individuals involved in this entire process, I did some research.
Apparently, in the summer due to falls, there is an increased need for specialists. The number of patients increases dramatically but the number of specialists remains constant. Thus, the need to triple book just so everyone has an opportunity to see the specialist. Secondly, having been in hospital waiting for surgery, I know that appointments and some surgeries are bumped for unplanned critical situations – car crashes for instance. Lastly, someone made a mistake in booking my appointment. And don’t we all make mistakes sometimes?
So rather than disparage the entire health profession, I chose to ask questions. What were the problems and potential solutions? That’s a discussion I will be having with my MLA.
This brings me back to the insurance industry. The industry in Alberta does have its challenges.
Did you know that of the last 8 catastrophic weather-related issues between 2010 – 2016 that 6 of them were in Alberta? We as consumers are paying for that with our premiums!
Did you know that aside from the Fort McMurray fire, that water claims are more common than fire losses? Over land water claims from floods, sewer back-ups, frozen pipes in commercial buildings and the list goes on!
Severe weather continues to cause extensive damage across Canada. 2018 saw $1.9 Billion in insured damage.
When a disaster hits, the number of claims increase dramatically but the number of trained insurance professionals (adjusters) is the same. It’s no different than the issue of specialists in the medical profession that I mentioned before. Service will suffer but everyone needs to be seen.
Bottom line is it’s time to become informed before we jump to conclusions and disparage an entire industry.
1. Read your policy, ask questions! Did you know that there is no such thing as “covered for everything”? Insurance policies have exclusions and they have them for a reason. Remember, it’s a contract that the insurer MUST abide by. Those contracts are governed by Statute or Civil law and insurers in many cases cannot legally do what you want them to do. Know your rights and responsibilities!
2. Talk with your agent or broker. They are paid either a salary or commission to help you. Ask the questions. Get the answers you need and understand. Never assume anything.
2. The Insurance Bureau of Canada is the Trade Association for the private insurance companies who are members. They have a consumer information line staffed by experienced insurance professionals who are ready to answer any questions you may have – 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422)
3. And finally, I’m here to help. Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.