Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Insurance Company Pays After Threat To Sue

I run a dry cleaning business here in Louisville, KY and after Hurricane Ike's wind storm ripped up most of our signs I had contacted NIE, our insurance provider and reported the damages to them. A few months later I had the signs replaced and sent in the statement to NIE so they could send my money. Several weeks went by and I didn't hear anything from them so I decided to give them a call to check on the status of my claim. They told me that my claim is still being processed and to check back next week so I said OK.

Following week I call them and ask the same question and this time they tell me that what I had replaced is not a sign, but an awning so they will have to review it with their supervisor and get back to me. I waited a couple of weeks and then received a letter from NIE saying, "...awning is not covered under your Commercial Package Policy. Therefore, no claim payment will be made. Please contact your Customer Service agent to review your current Insurance coverage." I pick up the phone right away and call the claims department and asked why my claim was denied. She said it's because it's an awning and not a sign. I said, "you're telling me that this awning that has the name of my business on it and represents my business is not a sign?" She said that's correct. I told her I will contact a lawyer and see what they have to say and she says I'll be wasting my money if I got a lawyer and that they would just take more money from me. I told her we'll see about that and hung up the phone without waiting for her to respond.

I get on the internet and look up lawyers that specialize in Insurance Claims. I find one and save it to my phone so I could call them after I get some work done. After about half an hour to an hour I pick up my phone to call the lawyer and my business phone rings. I answered and it was "Cindy"(not real name) and her tone of voice had completely changed. She was very polite and said that they wanted to try to help me out and called to get some more information.

After about 5 days I called "Cindy" and asked her about the claim and she said she still hasn't had a chance to talk to her "supervisor" and that she hasn't forgotten about me. She said she will get back with me and said "thank you sir."

About an hour later she called back and told me that they were going to pay for my "awning" and that a customer service agent would be calling me to adjust our policy so we wouldn't be running into this problem in the future.

So all this to get $1500 from NIE Insurance. I kept asking myself, "what is the definition of a sign?"

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