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Property Insurance - Buy Direct or Use a Broker - That was the question.

Guthrie Insurance

This LinkedIn commentary is from an unsatisfied customer of TD Meloche-Monnex who has given us permission to post his dialogue. A customer of TD Meloche-Monnex since 1984 his home was destroyed by fire in 2003. Although 10 years later, his claim has still not been settled!

HS (name withheld)

"Our house was completely destroyed in the 2003 Kelowna Wildfires. We lost everything. We had been insured with TD Meloche-Monnex from 1984 and they still have not settled our claim. We are going to court. Has anyone else had this type of problem?

Buying direct online presents a number of difficulties later:

1. You don't have one contact to deal with so you are always at the mercy of whoever answers the phone or email.
2. We experienced serious flaws in their documentation from one call to the next. And at one point we found out that they had not insured our residence through an internal miscommunication.
3. I question the level of training the online staffers receive. The same question was answered differently on subsequent calls."

Ryan Guthrie

"It is inconceivable that a major loss of this nature has been going on for 10 years! I feel your pain. As a broker myself I am naturally partial to working with professional broker advisors. Ultimately, we are morally and legally responsible for our clients financial well-being and act as a liaison between our clients and insurers, all of whom have different interests. Over the past few years many insurers have commoditized insurance and I believe preying on unwary consumers in a heavily advertised, impersonal, call-centre environment where the only qualitative measure is price."

RD - Another Ontario broker adds

"I can't believe how long this could have gone on. As Ryan mentioned, we think broker's provided much better service. Most people don't differentiate between insurers until they have a loss. Until then, insurance is insurance. "

BK - Another Insurance professional adds

"That is why contract and document review are so vital"

HS

"I originally bought this insurance when I graduated from Queen's University Engineering in 1974. Meloche Monnex was advertised as the best insurance for professionals, and that's why I bought into it. When we bought a house in Ottawa in 1984 we thought Monnex was the best insurance on the market, even though then, it was done over the phone.

What they don't tell you when you buy into their "$One Million Dollar Solution" is that the policy is capped at $1M, even though their literature says "full replacement value". And even though they increase their premiums every year, the cap doesn't change. So when you house replacement value exceeds $1Million 10 years later, you are under-insured.
There is no followup, no inspection, no discussion of values...none of the post sales support that you would get dealing with a live local broker.

Buying insurance over the internet is a fool's folly!"

BK

"I agree with you and Ryan. There seems to be severe lack of moral and professional ethics and integrity here, especially when the client comes to claim on a policy that they have paid for and expected would protect their assets when something as disasterous and unthinkable as this happens. Unfortunately, the personal touch appears to be going the same way as the dodo bird. Now, when we call we get a computerized voice gving us menu options for various call types and when you do press "0" for a real live human you have to spend the next 10 minutes it seems, telling them what happened, only to find out they do not know what to do or how to do it because they are not showing anything on their records.

I sometimes wonder who listens to these recordings "for quality assurance and training purposes" of my call. I doesn't seem to be making a difference. Maybe they're deaf?"

BK

"They still advertise heavily in the colleges and universities and the alumni associations are benefitting from the advertising revenue"

HS

"Please quote me and please use TD Meloche Monnex's name. I am sure there are other professionals who bought into their Million Dollar Solution and have no idea that their policies are capped. I am looking to find other people who have had this problem with the hope of learning how they resolved it.
And, I want to communicate the fact that these policies are very unusual in the industry, and hopefully save other people from the surprises we experienced."

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