Saturday, 30 June 2012

War won - we now need a fair settlement

As you know we campaigned very, very hard to make lifetime insurance cover mean just that. Elsewhere other consumer champions are today claiming it as a famous victory that Lloyds and Halifax are writing to 4,500 of their ex customers to reinstate their pet insurance.
My feedback from the members of the Pet Alliance Watchdogs (PAWs) is that this has been just far too long coming, that the bank's communications with their customers has been atrocious and that most of them wouldn't trust them with a very long barge pole after how they have behaved.
As well as bringing their insurance back some people - not all - have been offered a pathetic £200 compensation. An insult.
It's just no where near enough for the stress these poor folk have been put through.
Plenty of people are still very keen to take the banks to court to get real compensation and the announcement yesterday of reinstatement seems to tell me that the banks legal folk know they have left themselves wide open and they're obviously very keen to get as many of the 4,5000 signed up to new insurance as possible so that this all goes away. That if goes to the Ombudsman they'll get a very bloody nose. And if does get to court ... yike! If it's miselling it could be as expensive as the PPI issue.
Quite rightly the many of the members of PAWs ask - 'what's to stop them hiking the premiums next year when the media has lost interest in the story?'. There's more than one way to get out of giving lifetime cover and sadly there's no insurer yet been brought to account for excessive price rises to ditch poorly pets that are unprofitable.
Yes, there's been a u turn.
And they've agreed to pay some people's vets fees that happened while there was the limbo period where their customers had no insurance. And some folk have got their premiums back for any insurance cover they did manage to arrange for anything other than pre-existing conditions.
Yes, many consumer experts told us it was impossible to embarrass the banks into better behaviour so it wasn't worth us trying. Seems they were wrong.
So yes, a small celebration that the banks have admitted they were very wrong to cease people's lifetime insurance cover - but now we need them to give sensible compensation for people like Oscar's owner who had to have their dog put to sleep because they couldn't afford the chemo thanks to their insurer leaving them in the lurch.
The offer they received to reinstate their dead dog's  insurance rubbed salt into their wounds.
If you are one of the clients affected and you'd like to join in the 'no win no fee' group action to get proper compensation from these badly behaved banks, please do email me.
Remember it's important we send a clear lesson to any other insurers that might think of leaving their customers in the lurch.
We can now smell victory, they've conceded guilt - now let's make certain people get proper compensation.
Yesterday I asked the head of media relations...

A few more questions, will vet bills paid out in the gap between old and new cover be covered? What if a pet developed a new condition in that insurance gap – will that be covered by the new insurance?

Will there also be compensation paid for the considerable upset? If so how much. We have heard £200 has been offered. Is this the figure? Some owners dogs were put to sleep before the rethink, Oscar was featured in our magazine last month for example – see attached. Some people have paid premiums for insurance that didn't include the pre-existing conditions – will those fees be refunded.

Will you now start talking to the Pet Alliance Watchdog about settling their group complaint?

Best wishes
 And I got this reply ....
If customers have questions or concerns regarding their cover, bills, conditions or any other issue they can contact us on the number provided on the letters we have sent out.

Thank you for reiterating your offer for a meeting, however we will continue to deal with all customers on an individual basis.


Divide and rule obviously works well in a battle - but they're never fought pet owners before!

1 comment:

Kareen Kidd said...

Having already received my new insurance offer, I have already telephoned the number on the letter to enquire about compensation and backpayment and got nowhere really. Apparently there is another letter on its way to me regarding the backpayment, but I was told that compensation will only be being paid to people who refuse the insurance. Whilst, I am happy at the offer of reinstatement of insurance I am very undecided what to do as I am really concerned that over the next year or two they will outprice themselves so I will basically be back in the same position again with no insurance but no leg to stand on.