Firm Hold…

I like my car and I enjoy driving my car. Both of are good since I spend well over ten hours most weeks driving one way or another. I like the space I have and I enjoy the technology. I can talk ‘hands free’ on my cell phone and I can speak to my satellite navigation so that it can tell me where to go.

My car has a diesel engine. And it’s from Germany. But it’s not from the company what was all over the news last week. I believe the technology in my car does what it should do and that the exhaust emissions are ‘neutralised’. On the other hand, I am sure everyone who owns one of the impacted cars thought the same thing up to a week ago. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly our trust and confidence as customers can be eroded by (negative) events.

I woke up last Monday to a letter from my insurance company quoting my car insurance renewal for the next twelve months. It seemed at first glance to be significantly larger than the figure I paid for the last twelve months. So I found last year’s certificate and pulled out my calculator. Nineteen percent increase was the answer. Nineteen percent! I was shocked.

Nothing has changed in the last twelve months – other than me and my car being a year older…with a few thousand miles on both of our clocks. No accidents, no claims, no speeding tickets. No nothing. And the nineteen percent was applied to my insurance and to my associated ‘no-claims discount’ insurance.

I knew I was going to have to understand this increase. I also realised that I was suspicious. Suspicious that the insurance company were pushing up their price significantly more than inflation and just hoped I would pay. I knew that ‘suspicion of motive’ is a pretty good leading indicator for erosion of trust. And I also knew that in my limited experience, calling insurance companies over renewals in the past has never ended well…

I cleared my head; sipped my coffee; breathed deeply; dialled the number at the top of the letter…and started my conversation with a very helpful individual at the call centre. My approach was to focus on my confusion, express my disappointment and allude to my frustration…whilst stressing that my emotions were all directed at the company and in no way at the individual on the telephone.

The helpline operator was very concerned. He checked my account, looked for claims or tickets or other changes, but was unable to find or offer an explanation for nineteen percent. He was friendly and cordial, but I knew I could feel my trust and confidence waning. At the very least I had expected something about ‘challenges of the insurance industry’ or ‘overall increase in claims in general’.

‘Let me see what I can do’ was his next line. I was surprised. ‘OK’ he said, ‘good news – I bring it down to a seven percent increase’.

My instinctive response was to smile. Seven percent sounded better. But then almost immediately I could feel my heart sinking. It had been too easy. A simple phone call had resulted in a ‘saving’ of twelve percent. That made no sense.

If the insurance company had stuck with nineteen percent, I may have been frustrated, but I would have concluded the increase was based on something real. The ease with which they conceded only left me feeling more certain they were trying it on to see how much extra they could get.

My trust and confidence eroded…I have now requested competitor quotes…




About Steve Street

I have worked in R&D within the Pharmaceutical industry for over 30 years. Up until April 2012 all of my career had been with one company, but that has now changed. I left that company and took up a new role on May 1, 2012 - still very much within the Pharmaceutical industry and again based in the UK. I have been blogging every week now for over 10 years but only on an external site since January 2012. Email updates of the blogs can be requested using the ‘follow’ option within Wordpress. The blogs are only ever my personal view of what I see, think and feel. I am delighted if you agree and find value; happy if you disagree with my views and overjoyed if you feel motivated to comment. Most of all I am simply grateful that you read. Cheers Steve
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