August 24, 2017

The Daily Mail’s war on insurance is getting out of hand. Hard on the heels of all the fuss they’ve been kicking up about insurers being nicer to new customers than so-called “loyal” ones, they’ve now gone off on one about so-called “stealth charges”.

In particular they’re up in arms about the perfectly respectable practice of charging customers fees of up to £75 for renewing their annual policies.

Whilst accepting that some insurers simply absorb the not inconsiderable costs of renewal into an inflated premium, the Mail still reckons £75 is a bit steep for pressing the button marked renew. If only it were really that simple!

In reality, of course, renewing a policy requires endless to-ing and fro-ing betwixt numerous panels of insurance experts and dedicated clerks chasing back and forth along the labyrinthine corridors of Britain’s great insurance houses.

Plus: charging people to renew gives them some friendly encouragement to switch to another provider – and thereby avoid the loyalty taxes the Mail is supposedly so against. You can’t have it both ways, DM!

But it’s not just renewal fees, the far right paper is moaning about. They also seem to think being charged sixty odd quid for informing your insurer about altered personal circumstances potentially relevant to your insurance policy is a bit of a liberty.

Well, it isn’t (see paragraph four above). It actually requires the insurer to make what’s technically known a Mitten Adjustment and it’s a complete bl**dy faff! If policyholders only knew what a bother it is to have them as customers, they might show a little more humility and gratitude!

Oh, and then there’s cooling off fees. The Mail gets it’s union jack knickers in a fearful old twist over insurers’ charging people who decide to change their mind during the two week COP £45 for all their wasted time and effort.

In what bizarre version of morality is it OK to say ‘Oh, yes Mr Insurer, I want to insure my car with you’ and then turn round and say ‘Oh, sorry I changed my mind!’ COP teasers like these deserve far more than a £45 penalty.

They should be made to do their cooling off in a boxy thing like Steve McWeen in that old film – except without that kind of American cricket ball thing he has to while away the time.

If journalists think being an insurer is such a racket maybe they should try it themselves. Those lightweights wouldn’t last ten minutes!

In the meantime, it’s high time we provided policyholders with greater transparency by including all fees and charges in a single premium bill (delivered at the end of the year, with an estimate upfront) so they wouldn’t get confused by all these individually itemised bits and pieces.

Legislation please!


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