Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dear Esurance: Why I dumped you

Esurance just sent me an email wondering why we broke up. Poor Esurance, it seems hurt and confused, and yet it should have seen it coming. Sure, we had three great years where they provided me with car insurance and I gave them money, but the magic in our relationship vanished in the last month.  

"We're sorry to have lost you as a customer," the company wrote me. "We'd appreciate it if you told us why you canceled your Esurance policy. If it's something we could have done better, we plan on fixing it."

Thanks for asking, Esurance. It's a little painful for me to talk about, but perhaps if I explain it, it will help someone else from getting hurt like I did.

Here goes:

It all started when I got my car insurance renewal from you, Esurance. For some reason, the new rate was 25% higher than last time. That's on a six-month renewal, so this amounts to a 50% increase in annual terms.

Why, Esurance, why? Did I do something to hurt you? During our relationship, neither I nor my wife had an accident or got a speeding ticket. We never made a claim. And what thanks do we get?  A 25% rate increase?

I suppose I could have called it off right there, just walked away without a word. But I felt this was something we should talk about. So I called you.

It turns out that it's not that easy to talk to you. I waded through a phone tree of options, was transferred and waited on hold for about 8 or 9 minutes before finally reaching a human. This woman looked into my account, put me on a hold a few times more and then, after I'd spent 20 minutes on the phone, I was disconnected.


Maybe, Esurance, you felt like you didn't need to work on our relationship. After all, the policy was set for automatic renewal just a week later, and you'd get your money even without talking to me. I don't like to be taken for granted, so I emailed you and told you to  "NOT automatically renew my policy." 

I thought this would spur you to talk to me, but, alas, you misunderstood. I received an email back from you saying, "As requested, your policy has been canceled." No -- that's not what I asked for! Good communication is so important in a relationship.

I tried to call you again, but I was kept on hold so long, I gave up. I tried a third time, but like the first time, that call ended with you hanging up on me.

OK, I get the message. You didn't want to talk to me (but why do you want to talk now?).

I tried one more tact. I applied online for an Esurance policy just like a new customer, but the rate was again too high. I had to face the fact that our relationship was over. 

But the next day you called. You had seen my online attempt to renew our courtship, and you wanted to know what you could do. We had a long talk, but when I said that was an existing customer, not a new one, you suddenly turned cold. You couldn't help me, you said. Why? You were surprised to know about our three-year relationship?  It was like you didn't know me anymore. 

I put you out of my mind and started a new car insurance relationship with someone else. Then one Saturday morning you called again -- so early in fact that it woke up three of the four people in my household. I tried to explain what had gone wrong, but you -- or your "licensed agent" anyway -- didn't seem to want to hear it.

So that's what happened. I suppose it would be nice at this point to say that our breakup was more my fault than yours. Except that wouldn't be true. 

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