What has happened to the efficient service we used to get from insurance companies?

Given what should be a short, simple phone call entails "we may record your call (I do not bother whether they do or not); press.........sometimes a number which takes you on to another such exercise..........sometimes letters of the alphabet; that results eventually in "all our staff are engaged - your call is important to us, please hold on.

If one does as requested, it may be anything from five to 20 minutes before a live voice is heard and I am paying the telephone company unnecessary money.

Letters - even faxes - needing a response, are often a week or more before receiving attention. In a file now before me, a prominent insurer was written to in October 2003 and despite letters, faxes and telephone calls at frequent intervals, we cannot get a necessary response, which concerns the cover the insurer is giving.

But, be a day late in account settlement and it almost becomes a criminal offence.

All the major insurers love an accountant at the head and little thought is given to underwriting concerns, it seems. No wonder they are succumbing to takeover by foreign companies. It could never have happened 20 years ago.

Name and address withheld

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