Property & Casualty Insurance/American Family Denies Renewal
Hi Dominick - I just received what looks like a form letter with our names & address cut and pasted at the top from a district underwriter at American Family informing us that our homeowners policy will not be renewed effective our anniversary date in early August due to the following claims listed below:
3/5/2012 Freeze/Water $1,285
1/2/2012 Wind zero
8/8/2010 Wind $3,337
7/15/2009 Wind $21,844
1) The 2009 claim was not wind but hailstones (coding error?) that were the size of apples which damaged 16 sections of vinyl siding and ruined the roof as determined by Am Fam's appraiser. It was not classified as catastrophic because the damage was limited to my suburb. Everybody in my neighborhood received new siding and/or roofs.
2) The 2010 claim appears on my CLUE report as catastrophic, which it was, wind driven rain that got in through by bedroom window and ran down the wall into the two rooms below. Also wind-driven rain through a gable vent into window frame of bedroom below. Both window & gable were properly repaired to prevent this from ever happening again & insurance repaired the water damage.
3) The 1/2/12 was a non-event that I never should have called in. A section of my siding was laying in the yard after a winter blizzard. Turned out to be a leftover piece from original installation that was wedged up there somewhere and the high wind dislodged and blew down. Should never have called it in and no payment made.
4) The 3/5/12 claim is coded wrong. It was a garbage disposal back-up that went undetected and ruined a finished basement bathroom cabinet & laminate counter top. At the time, my mother and youngest son had been simultaneously been diagnosed with cancer; we were overwhelmed and called it in to AmFam without thinking.
Dominick, I have a customer of AmFam's for over 24 years with a good claim record prior to above. The house has no mortgage, high FICO and insurance score, on-time payments & no risk or liability issues. Do I dispute with underwriter, my agent, or the state insurance commissioner and what about coding errors? If not, how do I seek another insurer without my premiums going up astronomically and my insurability taking a major hit? My naivete about homeowners showed in two of the above claims and in my way-too-low deductible of $250. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I'm sorry to hear about American Family notifying you that they will not be renewing your coverage, especially after collecting premiums from you for 24 years. My advice would be for you to contact your agent about the issue that you're having. I'm actually surprised that they haven't reached out to you already, however they would be the one to call at this point versus calling an underwriter. Regardless, I doubt an underwriter would ever talk with anyone from the general public, however an agent may have access to open some doors for you. Remember, they rely on you having an active policy with them, otherwise they don't get paid their commission.
Ultimately, you may have to purchase a new policy with another company and your insurance agent should be able to assist you. Look for discounts associated with having multiple policies with the new company (like having both auto & homeowners combined with one company). Make sure that you choose a policy that is "apples to apples" with what you have now and do not lie on any application forms. If your insurance agent cannot help you in choosing a new policy, then you will want to work with another insurance agent or an insurance broker. An insurance broker will likely have working relationships with 20-30 insurance companies versus an insurance agent normally would only sell policies for one or two insurance companies.
When getting a new policy, be honest about your previous claims (they will likely want to know the claims that you've placed over the last 5-10 years and it's my understanding that all insurance companies are using a claims reporting agency (like a credit report agency) for just insurance claims. Insurance companies report to them when you make a claim, the details surrounding your claim, how much was paid out, etc.. They also order what is called a "CLUE Report" from the same agency. You may have another claim 5 years from now, but many insurance companies are looking at the original applications to see if anyone lied on them or checked the wrong box before making a payment. Be careful and review everything thoroughly.
In closing, I've looked online and found some information about the "Clue Report". It appears that you may be able to order a copy of your own report for both property claims as well as auto claims:
I hope this information has been helpful to you and wish you only the best.