• Report: #1041936

Complaint Review: American Bankers Insurance of Florida

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  • Submitted: Tue, April 09, 2013
  • Updated: Wed, May 15, 2013

  • Reported By: Brb28054 — Rock Hill South Carolina
American Bankers Insurance of Florida
Internet United States of America

American Bankers Insurance of Florida Assurant Deceptive Application process online, Bad faith claim denials, Unethical Practices Internet

*Author of original report: Additional Complaint of BBB handling

*Consumer Comment: I feel your pain

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I purchased a renters insurance via Geico.com . I went through the online application filling each and every question asked. I was approved and purchased the policy again, via geico.com. On March 2, 2013 our home was broken into while I was in the Hospital.

The police came out, filed a report. It was determined that someone or person(s) gained access to our unit via the vacant unit next door and came through their attic into our attic which has not firewall divider. We kept our attic doorway padlocked so the burglar(s) kicked and/or punched through the attic floor/living area ceiling.

We filed a claim with the insurance company. Geico directed us to the underwriter, American Bankers insurance of Florida - Assurant. We sent all requested documents and was assigned to an adjuster named Mary Ramero. VERY pleasant to speak with , at first!..She asked for the same documents over and over repeatidly. First she wanted photos we had emailed to her 1 way, then she requested, a week later, for us to send same pictures another way, then, a week later, we got a letter in the mail asking us , again, to send SAME pictures AGAIN.

We were now into 3 weeks of her delaying the claim by continuously asking for same documents. During the 3rd week, she did a recorded statement via telephone and asked my partner, If we had ever had an insurance claim in the past. My boyfriend answered yes! gave the approx date, approx amt and circumstances. [ she did not ask if you had another claim]. After my boyfriend gave her that information, she moved on to other questions.

The following day, we get msg that the claim had been turned over to the SIU ( Special investigative unit).. No problem. We went another week and never contacted by the special investigator or who he/she was. I called our adjuster to find out the status. She informed us the claim had been "DENIED".

Her reasoning was ; "you concealed information and misrepresented information on your application for coverage and that is considered fraud". I WAS FIT TO BE TIED AND LIVID. THis same week, on Easter Sunday, My father passed away, we were having to deal with the burglary in which my boyfriends grandmother passed away a few years ago and left him several collectible dolls which can NEVER be replaced, and now,  This agent, company, is wanting to insinuate "fraud"??? IF ANYONE had committed fraud, it was them, and Ill explain for everyone else whom is considering Assurant/ American Bankers Insurance of Florida ( THROUGH GEICO). I stress, "through geico" for a reason which ill explain.


I informed her I know D*** well I listed the previous claim and specifically remember doing so. I told her I wanted a copy of the original application . She informed me I would have to go through Geico since it was their website.

I called Geico, explained the problem, and the rep informed me he would have someone check into it and email me the information and/or call me the same day when the other rep got off the phone with another call.

3 days later now, still no call or email. I called geico ( after spending 20 minutes through the usual automated msgs, "press this number for this......") I bet I pressed each and every option listed and spoke
to as many reps who informed me, "I do not know who would have that information but i can transfer you to someone who does"..JUST TO BE PLACED BACK ON HOLD IN CUE in circles.

Then, they started telling me they would transfer me to Assurant ( the underwriters). I informed them, "NO, i do NOT want to be transfered to them, i want the information from geico who originally took the
application online". they reply, "oh ok, let me transfer you to OUR help desk"..Of course they transfer you to "Assurant". When I get to assurant, I enter my policy number/claim number and then, It disconnects
me. ( as if they have me black  listed for complaining now).

Each company is pointing the fingers. They accuse you of something you KNOW is false. then, when you ask for the proof. NO ONE CAN FIND THAT INFORMATION!!!!!

Not withstanding the fact that: My claims adjuster stated, "if you had stated you had a previous claim, we would not have insured you". I informed her 1. we DID list that information 2. when we did a recorded
statement with her some weeks ago, she asked, "have you filed a claim in the past"? we answered "yes" and gave details, dates, amts, items etc etc etc. She didnt ask a follow up, "have you had any others?". WHen I
pointed that recorded statement out to her, she stated, "well, that is beside the fact"..

Yet I played devils advocate and went to Geicos website today, applied for insurance with a different name, address etc etc. I entered 3 different claims, 1. $25,000.00 2.$6,000.00 and it allowed me to go all
the way to the final page to enter my credit card, electronically sign, state the date I wanted the policy to start . IN other words, it was going to allow me to start a policy.

In addition, on Geico.com website, hypothetically speaking, during the application process, if you enter "0" claims filed in the past, it will default you to a "Travelers Insurance" policy. At least when I ran 3 different simulations. So it begs the question, if American Bankers Insurance is stating, "we stated we had no prior claims" then it would stand to reason, we would not be dealing with Assurant via Geico, it would be Travelers.

Further, no where on Geicos website did it have a legal statement to the effect, prior claims may or may not be held against you. in the field where it asks if you have had a previous claim, their is a little (?) mark symbol you can click for information that states, "that information is needed to assure the best rate for the policy", it didnt state any legal terminology about "fraudulently" withholding that information. Regardless, the original application we DID list a previous claim!!

After I emailed "Geico" several times requesting a copy of the application i submitted via their website, I received an email reply from geico with a pdf file document that was an application in pdf form, however, it was titled "American Bankers Insurance of Floriday", Geico was not listed on that form anywhere. Not to mention, the application sent to me had different questions that asked on geico.com web/application. such as: Policy holder name/insured:  there are 2 ( two ) people on the policy yet this pdf app had one name listed. 2. The American Bankers Application sent to me in pdf asks, "have you filed any prior claims in the past 3 years?" Geico.com application asks if you have filed any claims in the past "7 years". At the bottom of that pdf file application, it asks the applicant to electronically sign by typing in their full name in the box provided. Beside that box, it has the : Application date:..The date we applied was Jan the date entered in the field showed April.

It is important to note: if you go to Assurant's website to fill out a quote for insurance, you go through the process and if you enter a previous claim, it will not allow you to proceed further. Many people will say, "the application is for a quote subject to change/cancelation etc and is not a guarantee of service", however, at the same time the online application asks for your credit card information for payment, and the notice
that by signing your electronic signature and authorizing payment, you acknowledge you are bound by the "contract" the same as if you were signing on paper in ink.

I would STRONGLY encourage anyone thinking about renters insurance to consider other agencies versus Geico and American Bankers Insurance. If geico is selling a service provided by American Bankers, they need to have their act together and their story straight with regards to the qualifications of the applicant. When i DO TAKE THEM TO COURT ( and my attorney is discussing this very option with me if they do not resolve it on their own ), Ill hold both geico and American Bankers Insurance of Florida Accountable.

It seems they have two varying applications they use when the time comes for a claim being filed, I assume they use which ever one will help them out and fit better into the current situation.

They are denying claims on deceptive application practices and they want to accuse other innocent consumers of Fraud?


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/09/2013 02:03 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/American-Bankers-Insurance-of-Florida/internet/American-Bankers-Insurance-of-Florida-Assurant-Deceptive-Application-process-online-Bad-f-1041936. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 1Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Additional Complaint of BBB handling

AUTHOR: Brb28054 - ()

Everyone im sure, is familiar with the current popular beliefe that the BBB Better Business Bureau is a ripoff. As well, im sure majority have seen recent national news videos of reports of unethical practices by the BBB and how they are bias to the "paid" company members with regards to giving their paid business members the red carpet and sheltering them from complaints, so long as they continue to be a paid member with the BBB.



Well here is my story and further proof of their unethical tactics.



My complaint is regarding a recent renters insurance claim denial by my recent insurance carrier through Geico with the underwriters being American Bankers Insurance of Florida / Assurant. That is another company I have filed a report about on this same site and referenced above, you will find my complaint regarding that company. In esscence, this is a two part complaint but in this report, ill focus more on the BBB complaint.



Brief summary:

March 2, 2013 we were victims of a burglary to our home while I was in the hospital. Late that night, burglar(s) came in via our attic from the vacant apartment and ripped us off over $17,000 worth of belongings. The police were called out, did a report etc etc.


The following day, we filed a claim with our insurance carrier American Bankers Insurance. After a couple of months, our insurance carrier denied the claim for the reason they claim, we failed to disclose in the application for renters insurance we had a previous insurance claim filed several years ago and they considered this concealing information.


The issue with that is this: When we took out renters insurance policy, we did so via Geico's website application and did in fact list a previous claim, date and amount of the claim. Geico passes the application/information to the underwriters, American Bankers Insurance.

When we disputed the claim of concealing that information on the application, I requested a true electronic copy of the application submitted and taken out via Geico website. As an ITT guy, i KNOW they have a backup system that keeps logs of all electronic application and forms. However, they did send me a pdf file of a "American Bankers Insurance of Florida / Assurant" application with our information. They claimed this was the exact same form the electronic application generates, and that it "mirrors" the information provided to Geico.

This was not true: examples: Geico application asks if you had any claims in the past 7 years, American Bankers applications asks if you had any claims in the past 3 years.. 2.It has the names of the insureds and lists only one, myself, where as the policy is in two peoples name. Additionally, at the bottom of the American Bankers application, it has a box field for the electronic signature and date of application, it had the date of application as being the date that PDF was sent to me and not the date it was supposedly electronically signed.

Their were SEVERAL other inconsistencies in the two applications. The American Bankers Application had about 15 questions and I recal the Geico application have so much more, and different questions at that.

Not to mention another important fact: On geico website, when filling out an application, they have several underwriters they go through, and depending on the information you provide, it will default you to the appropriate underwriter. "if we did NOT in fact, state we had any claims and entered, -0- claims" It would have given us a Travelers Insurance policy. [ I toyed around several days making dummy applications trying to duplicate the original application ]. and if you enter 1 or more claims, it of course puts you with American Bankers Insurance of Florida/ Assurant. So again, we DID in fact enter we had a previous claim.



THEIR IS A LOT more information regarding the complaint with American Bankers / Assurant , including the illegal phone recording they did of me on the phone but again, thats filed in another complaint on this site.



BBB BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU COMPLAINT

At the time of the denial, I filed a complaint with the BBB of West Palm Beach, the BBB over this division for the insurance carrier.

I submitted all evidence, documentation etc etc. Not sure if everyone is familiar with the BBB complaint process but here is the run down: you file a complaint, it is logged, forwarded to the company for their response. They respond, you respond, back and forth, repeat!!!!


Each time the company responds, you can log into the complaint and see the actual document(s) they have supplied BBB regarding their response in pdf or word form.

We , both parties, went back and forth for over a month now. A week ago, I logged into the complaint to see if their were any other updates provided by the company to the BBB. BOY DID I GET A SHOCK!

I seen and opened a pdf file that was out of the norm. It was not a typical business reply/letter, rather, it seemed to be an email thread between the BBB representative over the complaint and the Representative with American Bankers INsurance company of Florida. It consisted of emails between the two parties. And from the tones and communications, it would lead one to believe the two were great friends. They had a date they kept referencing about meeting each other in person and how they looked forward to meeting in person and talking with other employees of the company.

At first, I was thinking, "isnt it great to know, the bbb who is supposedly impartial, handling my complaint, is meeting with these folks for possibly lunch or whatever, you think I could get the BBB rep to come meet with me in person for lunch? - I think not".


I continued to read down the email thread of the pdf file and seen mention of my complaint:

This first paragraph was from Stephanie, the BBB rep to Nicole, the rep with AMerican Bankers Insurance.
Take note at one statement within the paragraph "if these items cannot be supplied,we would have to deem this complaint as unresolved". ( keep that in the back of your mind please, ill explain further down ).

Hello Nicole,
I just left you a voice mail message. I have conferred with Bob on this particular case and he
advised it is a valid complaint and that the consumer is entitled to a copy of the recording as well
as the contract that he signed. If these items can not be supplied, we would have to deem this
complaint as Unresolved. If you need additional assistance or need to speak with me regarding
this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to meeting you May 8th as well.
Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.
Stephanie R.
Accreditation Service Specialist


Below is another email sent by American Bankers Insurance of Florida / Assurant. I have underlined and highlighted a defamation and slanderous statement from the insured.

Stephanie
Thank you for looking over the Bobby Boyer case. Please let me know how you would advise we
proceed.
Mr Boyer has a long history, and we are only able to go so far to make him happy in a
case of insurance fraud.
I would love the opportunity to meet in person and would also like to pick Mike's and Bob's brain
on a couple of items. I'm hoping we can find a time in the next couple of weeks for me to visit
your offices.
Mike / Bob / Stephanie - Do you have any times available for a late morning meeting the week of
May 6 - 10 ? Please let me know how your schedules look.
Thank you !
Nicole VanderMey
Director | Federal & State Regulatory Administration



Now, not only did the insurance company act in bad faith in denying my claim, 1. They have not proven any wilful attempt to conceal information on the application. Wilful being the operative word which must be proven but now, they are slandering me in straight out accusing me of fraud and saying I have a "Long History".



Needless to say this had me burning with rage. I immediately emailed the representatives with BBB and American Bankers Insurance company of Florida / Assurant my disgust and my frustration.

American Bankers / Assurant NOT ONCE has replied to any of my complaints regarding this. I emailed probably every head person with this insurance company regarding this statement and no one felt the need to email , in the least, an apology or clarification. This is not surprising, American Bankers Insurance of Florida / Assurant had been this way throughout the entire claim process. never once emailing any sympathy, explanation or the likes.



The representative from BBB did email me back stating that the pdf was uploaded in error and realy has no bearing on the complaint which is why they deleted that record from the filed complaint history ( yea right, was to cover their A's )..Had no bearing on the complaint? my name was referenced, my case was referenced, I was slandered and accused of "Fraud" and the subject of the conversation via emails? and it has no bearing to the complaint?? give me a break!.



I did inform the BBB that I would hold them, as well as American Bankers Insurance of Florida / Assurant, both libel for the slander, transmittal, as well as defamation.


The BBB rep stated that they were going to consider the case "unresolved" if the company did not produce the requested information I orginally asked for.

After the expiration date sent to the Business for a follow up which was May 13, 2013, I logged in to see if it had been closed in my favor as it should have been. And it was not closed.

I emailed the BBB rep stating the company has not responded during the timeframe given and as promised, it should be closed as "unresolved" by the company. After a few hours, I logged back on to the BBB case claim and seen in bold red print a statement at the bottom that the current status of the claim has been put on hold. ( whatever that meant)..


I received an email from BBB informing me: "Our initial effort to reach a voluntary settlement on the above-mentioned complaint has not been successful. Arbitration is the last option BBB can offer to resolve a dispute."

I responded:

Thanks for the email. After researching arbitration via BBB upon reading reviews on various websites regarding public opinion, Im currently choosing not to go the route of arbitration which is conducted by BBB with respect to a paid member, that being American Bankers / Assurant.

As such, please, I wish you to please notate the complaint on record as unresolved. As in the Insurance policy stipulations, it states the insured must go the route of filing for arbitration with AAA arbitration which I will be commencing via the rules within the policy.

Thanks for trying to resolve this. It is unfortunate this insurance company, refuses to do the right thing, however, not surprising reading their reviews and ranking as a bad faith insurer.

Regards,
Bobby



BBB replied:

Subject: Re: BBB Complaint Case#90197959(Ref#106-92018475-90197959-23-31220)







We have reviewed all aspects of this case and it is the decision that the case is Administratively Judged Resolved. In respect to this matter, the company has showed that they are willing to resolve this matter through our arbitration and by any other means, which shows a good faith effort on their part. It is certainly your option if you wish to pursue this matter through other avenues, however this issue is now closed on our end.

Thank you,

Customer Service
BBB of SE FL

 


I responded:

Stephanie, of course they would like to go through arbitration with BBB. They are paid members to BBB and I have read statistics on the so called BBB arbitration cases with paid members, hell, read all the ripoff reports and National news videos.

American Bankers does not have the authority to change their own rules. Id be MORE than happy to share with you the policy agreement concerning arbitration. Better yet, Ill join the millions of others in sharing my experience as well as post the pdf file with emails between your agency and American Bankers speaking to one another about an in person meeting this month as well as state within the email from American Bankers accusing me of "Fraud" DIRECTLY..

I WILL be creating a page posting my review, evidence, and the pdf i mentioned above accusing me of fraud and BBB doing NOTHING to detract from that! And you say the company made a "GOOD FAITH EFFORT"?  As well, Ill post the actual insurance policy referencing arbitration clause being specifically through AAA American Arbitration Association ONLY!!!

Again, reading MANY statistics and blogs/posts/reviews, I certainly would not set my self up in a trap with arbitration administered through BBB who accepts paid membeship from the company being complained about! 

 

In addition, a previous email you sent YOU stated, "if the company did not produce the information I requested, it would be considered UNRESOLVED". now you back track!

 

 


After this company refuses to submit the information I requested ( a true electronic copy of the original application via geico), and after they slander me and accuse me of "fraud" and make an assertion about a long history the BBB is going to consider the complaint "resolved"? LOL how dareing of them.

 

Not to mention, they have allready assured me that if the company does NOT produce the information I requested in the complaint, they would consider it unresolved now they backtrack their promise.

 

American Bankers Insurance of Florida Has a clause in their policy : here is an excerpt from my actual policy arbitrational clause:

Any and all claims, disputes, or controversies of any nature whatsoever (whether in contract, tort or otherwise),including statutory, common law, fraud (whether by misrepresentation or by omission) or other intentional tort,property, or equitable claims) arising out of, relating to, or in connection with (1) this Policy or Certificate or anyprior Policy or Certificate issued by Us to You, (2) Any credit, loan or purchase transaction in connection with which this Policy or Certificate or any prior Policy or Certificate was issued by Us to You, or (3) the validity,scope, interpretation, or enforceability of this Provision or of the entire Policy or Certificate (“Claim”), shall be resolved by binding arbitration before a single arbitrator. All arbitrations shall be administered by the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) in accordance with its Expedited Procedures of the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the AAA in effect at the time the Claim is filed.

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#2 Consumer Comment

I feel your pain

AUTHOR: thefinn - ()

I've been fighting Assurant for a year and they still haven't paid everything they owe me. They totally ignore all emails and faxes. The only time my claim went forward is when I complained here. I recommend you file a complaint against them every place you can like: BBB, FTC and your local insurance board. 
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