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Insurance woes

By: Unsatisfied Customer

Date Posted: 2001-11-15

After reading another of the insurance salesman's shameless advertisements in the “Letters” column, I am compelled to present. the rest of the story.

In 1999 an insurance company (TWA) agent found my telephone number somewhere, called me up and asked if I'd be willing to listen to a presentation on the "life insurance company that has at least an A+ rating from A.M. Best." Essentially, the presentation shot holes in the military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). Conversely, the company’s “Accumulator” policy, for only $100 a month, would accumulate cash value and be worth something, whereas the SBP does not allow for recapture of premiums.

Sounded like a good deal to my wife and me, so we said "let's do it." A few days later, the agent brought the papers over for signature. I was startled to discover that on the first page of the contract that death by SCUBA diving was described as an activity that the insurance would not cover. I told the agent I dove every weekend. He looked crushed, but said, "don't worry about it." I started having misgivings, but he launched into another finely worded dialog on the benefits and convinced me to sign. I was stupid.

Over the next 18 months, this bothered me. If I died in a SCUBA accident I could picture my wife going to the insurance company to collect and telling them, "the agent told us don't worry about it." I wised up and cancelled the allotment and notified the company that I wanted to cancel the policy. A few months later, a cancellation letter arrived. I wrote back and asked where my $1,800 was. They wrote back and said, sorry Charlie, you don't get your money back.

So, that's my story. I have another letter to write to the company before I file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). I probably won't get my $1,800 back, but I'm going to give it a shot. Oh, before I go, I'd like to post something I've pasted in, word for word, from a BBB Reliability report:

Without admitting any wrongdoing, the defendants agreed not to sell, advertise or promote the Flexible Dollar Builder or the Accumulator or have their agents do so without including information correctly describing the products as life insurance policies. Such information is to be provided to purchasers at the point of sale in the form of a written Statement of Understanding, with a further copy provided when the policy is sent. The defendants also agreed to cooperate with the Federal Government in its investigation and prosecution of other companies operating in the "military/life insurance" market.

I wish I'd read this earlier. Those contemplating insurance might be better off dealing with another company.

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