Swimming in the salvage pool – with the sharks

Just a little history re AIG – they’d owned a large portion of an insurance company called 20th century until of course the 21st when they changed their name until they decided they wanted to own all of it and do away with the name. AIG, up until that time had used independent agents, while 20/21st century was more of an online, agentless insurance company for the new generation, which AIG was wanting to go completely to for their auto policy business. What does that have to do with anything, you ask? well, first of all when I finally found a number for AIG it made a difference whether you had gotten your policy through an agent or not. If you did, you had to get your information from him. I had gotten an agent name from the insurance company.  It turns out AIG was just an umbrella company consisting of quite a few companies, hence probably at least part of their problem. So when all the catastrophe hit they decided they probably shouldn’t go quite that far so they kept the 21st century name for their auto policy business. However, as part of the federal bailout, in order to be able to repay the loan they had to begin to try to sell some of these companies and 21st century was their most profitable one. So they got an offer first thing for it from Farmers Insurance, which was also wanting to get into an online, agentless side of their business as well as their exclusive agent side.  What does that have to do with anything, you ask? well, first of all when I finally found a number for AIG it made a difference whether you had gotten your policy through an agent or not. If you did you had to get your information from him. Oh, I failed to tell you I did get an agent name from the insurance company and found a phone number and address but ran into the same thing with calling I did before so was going to go but was trying this route first. So when I was able to give them an agent name they did have him in their system with the same phone number so I tried again, and again was able to contact him this time. Again, I was probably just too early the first time. You get up and start early but that doesn’t mean the whole world does.  But somewhat again like last time, he said since AIG does no longer use agents, at least independent ones; (I found out later they are going back to an agent model but exclusive ones now, like ALFA  and Farmer does; maybe they’re seeing that’s a better business model, since both of those companies seem to have done pretty well), when he could no longer write policies for them, he discarded all his information, but he said it didn’t really matter for this purpose anyway because he didn’t have anything to do with claims anyway; they were handled directly with the company. And actually I was informed later that he didn’t really have the role of a true agent, anyway (maybe that’s the difference between an independent and an exclusive); he served somewhat merely as a broker to help you find an insurance company not truly as a agent of that company. He didn’t even have a phone number. And also the owner/title/holder’s policy had already been cancelled by that point as well.  So I go online again and this time make sure to tell them I’ve talked to the agent on file and he says he doesn’t have the information and explained what he’d said about how it was handled and what he said we needed to do so I get a number that I am told will be able to help me; it was what is called a helppointclaims number, which serves more than one insurance company.  It at least gets you into an agentless claims/customer service queue and we are able to pull up a hail damage claim by the name, address, and phone number (have I told you about obtaining all of that) of the insured – so get a claim number and am told it is a 21st century claim and I will need to talk to them and they gave me a name and number of the adjuster(remember at this point I had never heard of that company) and because it was hail damage they said it was handled by the regional catastrophe team and give me that number; however, when I call it I learn it is no longer taking calls. It’s one of those temporary numbers they set up during a time like that but then take down when it’s over.  However, that is all because since it is so old it has been archived and they have to request it to be retrieved – really this means unlocked in their systems, not actually retrieve a paper copy – they’ve gone to a paperless system –  by their people there in the help point claims center, which will take at least all day, although it’s still fairly early in the day; if we could just get things done just a little earlier in the day we could possibly gain some days (like manufacturers with their coupons; they’re not going to let us get ahead of them, but that’s another story) along the way but that just seems to be the way things keep going. Now, to jump ahead somewhat as the file did get retrieved from archives and some information did begin to come to light some concerns began  to arise regarding the collision that had shown up on the accident report. It involved another vehicle and I’d been given its insurance company, which I also contacted. Now this one had no problem pulling  information as old, actually older than this claim/file, but they didn’t have the insurance information that I’d understood was on the accident report, which I found rather strange and they found strange that I had it. Maybe I’d misunderstood and that’s not where it came from. Maybe it came from a CLUE or ISO report, which an insurance company you’re trying to get insurance with would pull on you with information of your previous insurance companies. That company would have had reason to have done that where the one only involved in a claim would not. And, no, that is not something I knew before; it’s something I also found out through all of this. When I tried to contact the adjuster I now ran into the day too late syndrome, being the last day before New Year’s now;  of course he’s gone, oh, wait did I say of course, only because it turned out he wasn’t just an adjuster; he’s the branch manager because the actual adjuster is inactive. This means he has been pulled off the claim. Now he did have people to contact which I then proceeded to do. But these people were all answering the phone (when they did, which not all did; I left a message with one, who turned out to be the supervisor) as Farmers (?) so what is going on? Finally one  of them told me what I’ve already related about the relationship between 21st century, AIG, and Farmers. But this was done as part of explaining that Farmers has set up a legacy team for  handling 21st century claims that were made prior to their taking it over and any former adjusters that were not made part of this team were made inactive on the claims. The adjuster on the claim is “merely” the head of this legacy team. I finally did make contact with one of the members of this team for our region. They did also tell me that Farmers set up a total loss team that I learned later is instead of the salvage dept. that 21st century had.  However, they, too only handle claims reported since the Farmers take-over; otherwise anything regarding them is handled by the legacy team as well. I was finally able to make contact with a legacy team member who said she would need the insured’s permission to tell me anything regarding the claim from the record, which I understood. We left it, since we had the holiday weekend coming up, that I would be back in touch after the holiday to see if she actually had the record and she would tell me that much before I made further contact with the insured.  However, what I did not mention was that in the middle of trying to contact a member of this team, in contacting one of the people the adjuster had listed he mentioned the hopeful possibility that the claim number the salvage pool had was not the same, that there had just been an error somewhere so I swam over to the salvage pool to check the claim number and not only was it indeed the same but it was not just something coded but was explicitly stated on the transmittal form from the insurance company.

About donnainthesouth

I'm a transplant, born up north but raised in the middle, now I'm down here where you don't see too many snowflakes; I'll probably post just about as often (here at least)
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