This is an alert to Michigan consumers who are either currently dealing with OR who may be considering dealing with Hanover Insurance Group, in Michigan. This information concerns Homeowners insurance policies that were written under Citizen's Insurance and handled by The Hanover insurance group. Hanover may be applying these practices insurance groups and policies other than those of Citizens Insurance.
Consumers are receiving deceptive postcards, via postal mail, in which a company named Information Providers Inc, informs (does not "request") the homeowner of the fact that an "underwriting survey" of their home is to be conducted. This group conducts inspections of property - for the benefit of the insurance group. The card states that this is being done at the request of both the insurance company AND YOUR AGENT - for the purposes of updating their records.
The card language is vague, cleverly worded, deceptive and designed to get the consumer to allow access to their home and property, while attempting to reduce the company's liability for providing false information and/ or hiding the deceptive intent of the contact. The card states/ implies that this "survey" is a normally occurring event. They describe the intention of this invasive survey, to be a way by which Hanover/ Citizens can obtain "perspective" about your property. The consumer does not receive an official (legal) letter from Hanover, from Citizens or from your personal Agent. This may be an attempt to create some form of denial of responsibility. Consumers are not being asked to provide any needed/ updated/ missing information through a written form that was sent to them - only to agree to an invasive "survey". This "survey" is actually an onsite inspection.
While an ethical insurance company may indeed ask to conduct an inspection of a home, prior to agreeing to underwrite/ insure it; it is NOT a normally occurring event for an ethical company to attempt to gain entrance to the home/ property of a client who is already insured - and in some cases, with that property having been insured by Hanover/ Citizens for many years. This is an attempt to find fault with your property and to create some "cause" to raise your insurance premium rates. The homeowner will then receive an 'increase in premium' notice... and a threat to cancel if the increase is not agreed to and paid.
The Hanover/ Citizens personnel have tried to claim that the purpose for this invasive behavior is to determine if your rates should be LOWERED, or to determine whether you have a need for an expanded policy to better protect the home improvements that you have completed. Logically, any homeowner who improves his/ her property would be wise enough to contact their own Agent TO SEEK PROTECTION FOR THAT IMPROVEMENT INVESTMENT! If the company were attempting to protect YOUR interests and property, they would send a gerneral letter in which you are encouraged to identify any recent improvements and to update your policy. This deceptive survey activity does not seek to protect the homeowner... but to establish some reason - any reason - for negative action. They also may attempt to say that they need measurements of the exterior of the home, itself. Generally, the homeowner had already provided those measurements, at the time of underwriting. If that need were legitimate, the company (or your own Agent) would first ask YOU to provide those measurements YOURSELF. No intelligent company pays an employee to make an onsite visit, just to measure your foundation, if they can get you to do it for free.
We are also finding that in many cases, YOUR AGENT is totally unaware of this activity - since neither Hanover, nor Citizens has bothered to inform the Agent of this attempted activity. This fact is a clear indication of deceptive intent - since your Agent may well be your strongest advocate. In addition, questions are now arising as to the qualifications of the "property inspectors" that are used by Information Providers, Inc. and whether or not these personnel are nothing more than personnel that are quickly hired and then taught to target/ report any flaw in a property - with the sole intention of drumming up any form of "justification" for a premium increase. The professional credentialing of these personnel is in question - and therefore, so are their findings. You may wish to consult your city government and inquire as to what type of "inspection support" is available to you.
We do not yet have sufficient information, to state conclusively that this activity is occurring more frequently (or exclusively) in "targeted geographic areas". If you receive a survey demand card, please post that fact on this site and identify ONLY the geographic area (the city only) that your home is located within.
Call your Agent and ask if he/ she was even aware of this activity and post that information also. Do not identify yourself, your address or your Agent. Ask your Agent to find an alternative homeowner's insurance provider for your home. Do not reward a company like this with your business or your money. Check with your friends or neighbors to see if they have been contacted with a demand for survey. If you determine that you have identified a geographically-based pattern for these survey demands, contact your appropriate elected officials immediately! We will update this information, as it becomes available.
If you are threatened with a cancellation or rate increase, because of your refusal to submit to this inspection process - please post that information also. If you DO submit to an inspection and receive a demand for premium increase or a cancellation - please post that information, as well.