As many insurance industry experts already know, the reputation Travelers Insurance has been on a steady decline in recent years, as a result of their abysmal record regarding customer service and claims handling. In a 2020 US News and World Report Study on the Insurance Industry, the results showed “Travelers Insurance overall scores for claim resolution were LOWER than all other companies in our survey.”
The recent experience of one Chicago area family dealing with Travelers claims department will leave you horrified.
At first glance, Travelers Insurance appears to be doing a good job of taking care of its customers during the global pandemic. On their website, the company’s claims department even offers virtual inspections to assess properties for damage.
In order for this type of service to work, though, companies like Travelers Insurance need to actually follow through on the promises they’re making. That definitely was not the case for one local Chicago property owner.
Recently, David Marden, a Chicago property manager, noticed that one of his properties had experienced water damage and reached out to the claims department of Travelers Insurance to ask for assistance with filing a claim covered by the Homeowner’s Association Policy.
When he did this, he was not given any kind of opportunity for a virtual assessment of the property, despite Travelers Insurance’s promise that these assessments would be made available.
What makes this situation particularly interesting, though, is the fact that there were actually two identical units covered by the same Travelers policy and both were affected by the same water damage -- Unit 1N and Unit 1S (which is owned by Marden) -- on the ground floor of the building that were affected equally by water damage. Regardless of the similarities in damage, though, Marden received a very different level of service than the other unit’s owners.
The owners of Unit 1N received great service from start to finish. Not only did they have the opportunity for a virtual claim assessment, but they also received a payout several weeks before Marden.
There was also a significant disparity in the amount paid to each unit owner. Marden received a payout of $4,300, which was less than half the size of that offered to the owners of Unit 1N ($9,000+). This happened even though both units experienced the same level of damage and are covered under the same Homeowners Association policy.
In contrast, Marden was repeatedly denied the opportunity for a virtual damage claim assessment. Several phone calls and emails were not returned at all, too, and others took weeks before messages were returned.
At first, it’s easy to brush off this kind of story as a simple insurance claim dispute. It’s important to remember, though, that real people have suffered as a result of Travelers Insurance’s failure to carry out its promises.
While Marden was doing everything he could to connect with Travelers Insurance’s claims department, the residents of Unit 1S were forced to vacate a significant portion of their living space while it was overtaken by mold. They had to risk their safety in the midst of a pandemic with three small children in tow, including one who was just born in April of this year.
To further exacerbate the issue, Travelers Insurance also required Marden to contact third-party contractors and invite them into the property to assess the damage and provide them with estimates. Travelers Insurance made this demand during a pandemic when folks are being encouraged to socially distance as much as possible -- things don’t seem to be adding up, do they?
Not only was this requirement completely unnecessary (remember, Travelers Insurance gave the adjacent unit’s owners a virtual damage assessment, presumably for safety purposes), but it was irresponsible. Travelers Insurance’s decision put everyone, from the residents to the contractors, in danger.
When asked about his feelings on the current situation, Marden said, “As a property manager, I can fully understand why so many people are cancelling their Travelers policies and switching to more reputable carriers. Travelers Insurance has been a major disappointment in recent years and their reputation within the industry is suffering.”
Marden also pointed out that Travelers Insurance’s actions are confusing because the company has emphasized on their website all that they are doing to make things safer and easier for customers during this difficult period.
When we reached out to the CEO of Travelers, Alan Schnitzer, we received a reply from Nicole Berkshire acknowledging the poor service Mr Marden received on behalf of Travelers insurance, but the incident has been dismissed as nothing more than a potential “coaching” opportunity for the Travelers claims department. While Travelers was once considered a highly reputable company within the insurance industry, Mr Marden’s experience would more than justify the reasons that so many property owners have been cancelling their Travelers policies.