Intact Insurance Not So Intact
Just because a company has a complaint handling process, it doesn’t mean it should do its darnedest to have customers use it.

Having insurance on your car is required by law. The benefit of having insurance is that should an unexpected event happen, it can help offset costs. While it is a mandatory cost of vehicle ownership, there must be a realized value for consumers that extends beyond a monetary transaction when assistance is needed. That value can come in many forms, including empathy, direction, support, communication, transparency, timeliness, integrity, and so on. Intact insurance demonstrated very few, if any of those values in a case that started on October 29th, 2022, and reached conclusion on January 17th, 2023. This Intact Insurance experience showed it is far from intact.


The Accident

On October 29th Joseph was helping his dad bring a second vehicle to the mechanic for repair. He watched his dad make a left turn into the mechanic’s parking lot. A moment later, he made the same turn, but would never fully complete the forward progression into the lot. An oncoming car, making an aggressive late lane change would crash the corner of his driver-side bumper into Joseph’s passenger side, pushing the vehicle sideways and bringing traffic to a standstill as both vehicles were immobilized in the accident.


Car sideswiping another car


No One Would Have Imagined

After the flurry of tow trucks swooned in, neck twisters slowed down traffic, the police took statements, and calls were made to insurance companies, no one would have imagined that Joseph’s car would sit at a body repair shop untouched for the next three weeks. No one would have imagined that Belairdirect Insurance, who is a subsidiary of Intact Insurance would mishandle opening a claim on the day of the accident. No one also would have imagined that the initial adjustor would disappear after nearly four weeks of customer evasiveness and lack of transparency on the claim’s progress or car’s whereabouts. It would be unfathomable to think that the next contact would be from a second adjuster leaving an at-fault loss voice mail, then become unavailable. A return call to him yielded a voice mail greeting message,


“Hi, this is Harold, sorry I am unable to answer your call at the moment. I am in the office from 8:30 to 4:30. I’ll be unavailable to answer any calls from 8:30 to 9:30. I take lunch from 12:30 to 1:30. I’ll be unavailable from 2:30 to 4:30. So, please leave your name, number, claim number, and detailed message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible, thank you.” 


 Harold’s “soon as possible”, really meant, never.


No one would have imagined that the claim would need to be escalated to 3 additional managers, after more than two dozen voice and e-mail were sent, and a dozen more phone calls to the Belairdirect general assistance line were made over the course of 3 months.


In fact, it might be hard for anyone to believe that without those escalations that Intact Insurance didn’t want to refund the 11 months and 29 days remaining on a policy for a car that hadn’t been on the road since the 1st day of the policy because of the accident.


It might even be hard to understand why Intact insurance would process a policy a few days before the accident where two of the three vehicles had accident forgiveness, but the one in the accident didn’t.


All those things seem, well, unimaginable. All of them, however, are indeed, fact.


The Stuff In Between

While all these delays in communication, failures in transparency, and mishandled timelines ensued, the stuff in between caused a family tremendous amount of stress that Intact Insurance didn’t have the capacity or maturity to know and understand. The stuff in between included things like trying to understand FDR (Fault Determination Rules), providing evidence to support their case, waiting for evidence from the other party that would never come, or even not knowing week to week what the next step was to help resolve the finances or vehicle availability.


The stuff in between also included an arrogant Intact Insurance on-line “help” resource through twitter that proved to be more obstinate, staunch, and outdated by today’s standards for quality customer experience. In fact, they dismissed some and even blocked others.


The stuff in between is what should bring the customer and the service provider together, not drive them further apart. Belaidirect is the company that advertises, “we’re committed to providing you with exceptional service and we value your feedback. If you’re not satisfied with the service you received, our complaint handling protocol will ensure that your concerns are handled fairly and efficiently.” Just because a company has a complaint handling process, it doesn’t mean it should do its darnedest to have customers use it.

How Did This All End?

The good news is that it did come to conclusion, eventually, finally after almost 3 months.


Joseph’s case was thrown out in court as the prosecutor didn’t have any evidence to proceed with a case. The reporting policeman didn’t show up. The other party in the accident, who had a dashcam, didn’t submit any evidence.


After being escalated to a special department for claims, the car was deemed a loss and through some negotiating and providing recent repair receipts, Joseph recouped almost fair market value for the car. The first adjustor was never heard from again. Harold, the second adjustor, might still be living up to his very specific voice mail schedule.


Intact Insurance was unable to look past FDR 12.5, citing a left-hand turn had been initiated by Joseph and there is nothing in the insurance fault determination rules that exonerates the person making a left-hand turn. It doesn’t matter in the insurance world if the other party was speeding, made a careless lane change, or if there is even some evidence to suggest they may have intentionally caused the accident.


After 4 layers of escalations, Intact Insurance refunded the policy on the car they disposed without notice. Through one of those escalations, Intact Insurance also agreed the car should have had accident forgiveness based on the policy history and that they failed to validate on renewal, although they maintain they’re not obligated to ask if you want the extra coverage. It’s hard to find a company who doesn’t ask customers if they’d like to buy more than what they have, so that last bit is still hard to buy. Get it? Hard to buy!


Failed Customer Value

It's also hard to find value in this customer experience. In fact, Intact insurance was anything but intact when it came to empathy, direction, support, communication, transparency, timeliness, or integrity. Aside from perhaps the last one or two escalation managers, this case demonstrates poor value for a positive customer experience.


This is an opinion article by Guido Piraino of  The Monthly Social Podcast. It may also be heard on The Path Radio Mix Online. You can read other opinion articles on the blog page.


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