Beware of this company and its agents
Two months after I lost my job, our basement backed up with sewage. At the time, I thought that Erie did a good job covering the loss (we had a sewage rider). I was able to find a job later in a different state.
In late March/early April, I received a renewal notice that showed our rate going from $578 to over $900 dollars. Apparently, they were upset that I filed a claim with them and intended on penalizing me for it. On April 28, with us being in Texas and the house not selling, I contacted Erie (through the Ridge Agency) to see if I could reduce anything to save us money. I was shocked when the agent informed me that after talking with his people, my policy was to be cancelled as of May 1 because we were now living in Texas. He could sell me a different policy, but it would run over $5000, and I had to make the decision quickly because I would have no coverage for the house in a few days. I specifically asked him the question “So as of May 1, I have no insurance?” He responded, “Correct, they are not going to renew the policy.” He asked if I wanted him to start the process on the new policy, and I informed him that we would probably be leaving the house abandoned, and I would call him back if I decided I wanted the coverage, but that there just wasn’t any way that we could afford that.
On June 3, I received a letter from them saying that they were extending coverage to June 21, 2009. Since I hadn’t requested this, I ignored it. On July 1, I received a letter from them saying that I owed them another $152 for the extended coverage period. I called the customer service number on the form that day. The woman took my information and my questioning of why I was expected to pay for this, and said that she would send an inquiry and get back to me. I never heard from her again.
Instead, in mid-August I received a letter from a collections agency for the amount – not only had Erie Insurance not done a thing with my inquiry, they had sent it to a collections agency. How's that for customer service?
On August 18, I first called the Ridge Agency and was told that they didn’t know a thing about this, that the main office had pulled the records, they couldn’t see anything regarding the policy, and that I would have to call the main Erie office. I did so, and was passed between several people, all of which said they couldn’t help me. They denied that I had every contacted them regarding this, despite the fact that I could tell them the date and time that I did, and have phone records to prove it. They just kept passing me to someone else. I finally was transferred to an executive assistant in the office of the president. I explained the problems that I had to her, and she kept insisting that I had to have signed a cancellation, despite the fact that they were cancelling the policy, not me. She put me on hold for 10 minutes, and then said that had called and spoke to my agent (interestingly enough, when I had called the Ridge Agency, they said that he was out of the office for the week with a medical injury – so how did she speak to him? One of them was obviously lying to me, I just don’t know which). In the end, she said that she would further investigate and get back to me. I never heard from her again either.
In late September, I received another collections letter. I then wrote to the president and CEO of Erie Insurance laying out the utter failure of their company. The response was laughable:
* He refused to respond to the question of why my first call was ignored (and didn’t take my offer of providing him with the phone records)
* He then claims that his executive assistant tried to reach me by phone, but my cell phone goes to someone else’s voice mail, and the home phone keeps disconnecting them. We get anywhere from 12-15 calls per day on these two phones, as my work number automatically transfers to my cell if I don’t answer. My boss would be all over me if operations could not get a hold of me. There is no problem with these phones. The problem is with their failure to provide any customer service. At this point, I don’t believe they even tried to call.
* And even if they could not contact me by phone, why was no letter sent? They obviously have had no trouble sending me letters requesting money?
* Both his letter and his executive assistant claimed that it is my responsibility to know state law as it pertains to the insurance business – this is their idea of customer service – telling the customer that they’re responsible for knowing how their business operates and is affected by state law. And why would I not believe the agent telling me that I have no insurance as of May 1?
* He also states that the agent told me that they were not renewing the policy because I filed a claim for the basement flooding. The agent never told me this, nor did the executive assistant try to claim this in the August call. And if this were true, why had they sent me a renewal notice in March/April? Although maybe this is the hidden truth of the matter, I filed a claim, so they want to drop me – again, obviously a company dedicated to customer service. If you use their service, they cancel you.
* Also, if the agent knew that it would be another 51 days until my insurance would actually stop, why was there a rush to get me to sign the $5000 policy immediately – “before my policy lapsed on May 1”? That’s a big question - but that one I can answer – to collect commissions on a huge new policy and having me pay for two policies covering the same period!
Does this sound like a company you want to deal with? My guess is no. I would suggest that you avoid Erie Insurance and the Ridge Insurance Agency like the plague. They are obviously unethical businesses, and have no intention of actually providing you with value for your money. All they want is your money, unless you file a claim, and then you’re going to be cancelled as soon as they realize they actually had to pay you. Companies that lie to you, refuse to answer your inquiries, and refuse to adhere to their so-called corporate motto – “Above all in SERVICE means knowing what's right and doing something about it” are not worth your time and money.
Again, I urge you to avoid Erie Insurance and the Ridge Insurance Agency at all costs. If you are already entangled with these dishonest people, I recommend that you begin looking for honest businesses before they decide to cheat you.