Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Stupid, Faithless Agent tricks

The good news is that I've moved from seething to very disappointed.

Regular readers may recall my post this past Spring on the subject of life insurance policy claims:

"In consulting with colleagues around the country, it seems that I am a bit behind the times on insisting on delivering the claim check personally (where possible). And I'm okay, albeit disappointed, with that."

My primary carrier's default position on the subject has long been to send the check to the beneficiary unless directed otherwise by the agent. I don't like this, but they've also built in a process where, if I tell them upfront to send it to me, they will.

Except: they didn't. And then they compounded it:

A long-time (and I mean long time: 30+ years) client passed away recently of natural causes.

It happens.

I met with his son (the beneficiary) and we completed and submitted  the paperwork, on top of which I stapled my customary memo reminding the claims folks to send the check to me.

Some weeks go by, and I email the claims department for a status update (what's taking so long?). Here's their reply:

"The claim has been processed. I do apologize the check was sent directly to the beneficiary on 1/24/2020 instead of sending to you for delivery."

And when, exactly, were they going to inform me?

(Spoiler Alert: That would be the 12th of Never)

So I replied to her (and my field rep):

"I’m sorry, but this is completely unacceptable.

I specifically requested in the cover letter that the check come to me, and I had already discussed this with your department.

And you didn’t notify me that it was sent.

I am VERY unhappy."

Now the truth is that they don't really care that I'm unhappy, they're likely more concerned that they've been caught out. My field rep happened to be in the home office as all this transpired, and he called to let me know that they didn't do this on purpose (which I knew) but that it just didn't matter to them (I know this not because he explicitly said so, but because he told me that he had been shown the folder, which had bright yellow highlights confirming that the check was to be sent to the agent). It reflects a culture that doesn't understand (or, apparently, care) that these are my clients, not theirs.

So why am I not naming the carrier? After all, we've done that many, many times for egregious violations (as this most certainly is).

The only reason I'm demurring here is because, sadly, this is apparently not only wide-spread industry practice, but apparently also enjoys robust agent support. That is, most agents apparently don't want to be part of this process (and thereby completely bail on an explicit promise they made to their client). So how can I blame the carriers for acceding to their agents' wishes?

So as disappointed as I am with the carrier(s), I am disgusted with what seems to have become of the agent force.


(Oh, perhaps I'm being too harsh in claiming above that they just don't care? No, it's pretty simple: had they cared, they would have realized that they'd screwed up, and reached out to apologize to me at the time)

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