VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Co-operative’s treatment of the elderly is a new low for insurers

Money

Isn’t it time someone stopped the music on the infuriating dance we do with our insurers?

For years Money Mail has exposed how major firms repeatedly hike your premium at renewal — forcing you to jump through hoops to get a fair deal.

And now, as we reveal today, we find that even so-called ethical insurers know full well they are ripping off large numbers of customers.

Co-operative Insurance says it cannot treat elderly customers differently as it would be ‘deemed unethical’ to ‘prejudice our customers based on their age’.

Co-operative Insurance says it cannot treat elderly customers differently as it would be 'deemed unethical' to 'prejudice our customers based on their age' 

Co-operative Insurance says it cannot treat elderly customers differently as it would be 'deemed unethical' to 'prejudice our customers based on their age' 

Co-operative Insurance says it cannot treat elderly customers differently as it would be ‘deemed unethical’ to ‘prejudice our customers based on their age’ 

Shame on them. Perhaps they should consider treating all of their customers fairly.

This organisation should set an example to other insurers. Chief executive Mark Summerfield must step in to end this rip-off.

The entire insurance model is broken. It is built on offering huge discounts to new customers and penalising those who don’t move.

It’s not transparent, it’s not fair and it’s definitely not ethical. It will take a bold figure to cut insurers out of this mould and if they don’t do it willingly then the regulator should force them.

In May, the Association of British Insurers — which represents its industry members not consumers — issued new guidelines to crackdown on the excessive differences between what new and loyal customers pay. 

They said insurers should review customers’ policies if they have been with the firm for five years to see if they are on the best value deal.

But this does not go far enough. Who decides what best value means? Insurers already try to claim that these older, more expensive policies offer more comprehensive cover — even though the loyal customer might not need these extra benefits any more.

Others think it’s enough to just tell customers somewhere on the second page of a jargon-filled letter that if they shop around they could get a cheaper deal.

Don’t tell us to ‘switch and save’. It’s not saving, it’s clinging onto what is rightfully ours. And it shouldn’t be such a fight.

Data outrage

In what world does a company think it can get away with hitting a customer with an unexpected bill for thousands of pounds without explaining why? Yet as we explain here, Unicom is doing just that. It wants a 70-year-old to pay £10,000 for downloading 17 gigabytes (GB) of data — she typically less than 1GB — without providing a breakdown of the bill.

Worse still, the Communications Ombudsman, whose job it is to enforce fairness for customers, is allowing it.

Experts say that using this much data is borderline impossible, so without an explanation it’s as if the firm has just plucked a figure out of the air.

I hope Unicom isn’t using the same maths as when it worked out that it could sell 3GB of data for £6, and then charge the same woman £500 for 1GB later on.

As more of us use the internet on our mobiles, it’s clear there is a real lack of transparency over how firms bill for data. Just last week we revealed how Virgin Media had tried to charge a reader £91 for data used while she was asleep.

If you have received any odd bills for using the internet on your smartphone please write to us at moneymail@dailymail.co.uk or Money Mail Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT.

Help us help you

We love helping you but in order to do so, you need to help us. When you write to us about a dispute please, include a note giving the firm involved permission to speak to us about your case.

Financial companies like to muck us around as much as you and this is a key weapon.

Without it they throw the data protection rulebook at us and refuse to tell us a thing.

Use the form at thisismoney.co.uk/permission We also need details to help the company identify you on their system — full names, addresses, customer reference numbers and a contact phone number. 

And don’t forget to name the firm. The more time you can save us, the more people we can help.

v.bischoff@dailymail.co.uk

 

Leave a Reply