Why can’t an insurance company talk like a person?

insurance companyMy insurance company Vermont Mutual was kind enough to pay my claim for house damage after this awful winter. But before I repair my house, I’d like remodel their customer communication.

Vermont Mutual deserves a lot of credit. They were speedy to send an assessor to check the damage, and paid a fair amount. In between, though, despite many calls, they delayed paying six weeks due to clerical errors. Only my tweet got them moving. Since my policy was up for renewal, I knew they’d try extra hard to hold onto me.

A smart insurance company would account for my history before sending me a mass email. But insurance companies can’t act like humans. It would be nice, though, if they’d at least talk like humans. Here’s what they wrote, and what they could have said.

The first quarter of 2015 presented a nearly unprecedented combination of snow volume and sustained excessively low temperatures in much of the Northeast, resulting in a substantial number of losses to building from the weight of ice and snow and/or water damage to the interior of the building resulting from ice dam formation.

Translation: This was a wicked winter and cost us and our policyholders a bundle.

The severity and dynamics of the winters to come are not reliably predictable. However, given the nature of the factors contributing to ice dam foundation, it is safe to assume that buildings that have suffered ice dam related losses in the past have an above average potential to sustain a similar type of loss in the future unless there are modifications made to the building, alteration in response to snow events or both.

Translation: Don’t be stupid. You don’t want the same thing to happen next winter, and we don’t want to have to pay you again, . . .

The enclosed Loss Control information is intended to assist you in your efforts to assess your exposure to this loss source and to provide you with pertinent information to aid you in developing effective strategies to respond to ice dam potential in future winter seasons. [The letter included a very educational guide to how to protect your house.]

Translation: . . . so fix your house. We’ve included instructions.

We hope this information is of value to you. If you have any questions related to this information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The information in this publication is designed to assist our policyholders in their loss control efforts. While reasonable care has been exercised in the development of this material, no warranty or representation is made as to its accuracy or completeness. [Nice passive!] Those using this information must utilize their own judgment in determining the scope and specifics of their loss control efforts.

Translation: While we’d like to be more helpful, lawyers run our company.

I appreciate the outreach. Imagine how much better it would have been if it sounded like it came from a human.

Photo: Herzi Pinki via Wikimedia Commons

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