Tag Archives: auto insurance


I hate starting posts like this, but it really was many years ago. My father was a big name in a small community, but was controversial and still is, years following his tenure and even in his semi-retirement (he likes to keep busy).

The town next door was reveling in its first and still only traffic light. It had one insurance broker, with an assistant.

Always short on cash, I was a new analyst for the Speaker of the Assembly, filling in on insurance because the real analyst was on maternity leave. Pre-internet, pre bill-pay I was concerned to get my car insurance payment in on the first, the due date so sent it by certified mail three days in advance, return receipt.

My agent indeed received the payment on the 1st of the month, waited until the 2nd to go to the only bank in this little town, and told his secretary (they were not called Admins back then) to cancel my policy. On the 3rd I received confirmation of my payment on the 1st from both the bank and postal service and a letter stating that my policy had been cancelled (after they took the funds).

I tried to call my agent and his secretary kept saying he was out. Was he at the bank, the diner or the school or the bar or only hotel. There were only a half dozen buildings on the main street. Where could he have been all day? And why wouldn’t he talk to me.

Knowing enough insurance law in a few weeks to know that even if the customer messes up a payment (I had proof I did not do so) there is a 15 day grace period. I told that to his secretary. He finally called me back and said I was late and there is no grace period in state law.

That evening my roommate and I attended an insurance function. Of course, who was there but the new Insurance Commissioner, a former lobbyist we knew from work and other events. He asked why I was so down. I told him I no longer had insurance on my ancient VW and told him the story.

He told me to call his secretary first thing in the morning with my agent’s phone number and asked if he could take care of this issue himself because it would remind him of the old days and be “SO MUCH FUN!!!!!” I messengered over copies of relevant documents.

He called and asked why the agent cancelled my policy. I swear the agent soiled his trousers in this tiny town where he was a big Muskie about to be swallowed by a whale. Of course, sir, her policy is in force and we did receive her payment on time. Why would you think we would ever cancel her policy? Fun, yeah.

Lesson learned. I kept him on until deciding my family would get multiple auto, homeowners insurance et al elsewhere and I kept mine wherever I lived until there were Internet and bill pay options from our bank. We’ve had the same auto insurance for nearly 20 years now and just change cars and prices. They treat us professionally and still, I (I pay the bills) pay them on time every month. It’s always nice to have a whale in one’s pocket. Message here is don’t mess with Dee. Cheers! Dee



Merriam-Webster’s site says it quite clearly for children:

Main Entry: eq·ui·ty
Pronunciation: primarystressek-wschwat-emacron
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
1 : fairness or justice in dealings between persons
2 : a system of law that is a more flexible addition to ordinary common and statute law and is designed to protect rights and achieve just settlements in cases where ordinary legal settlements may be too strict
3 : the value of an owner’s interest in a property in excess of claims against it (as the amount of a mortgage)

* * *

It appears that as our insurer of two cars, a renters insurance policy we are not required to have and a million dollar umbrella insurance policy chose to not wait an hour. Instead they sent out an immediate cancellation notice by email then a pink letter I picked up in today’s mail.

Am I livid? Yes, I’ve talked to several people and sent a letter to the head of the Gecko Network.

We’ve been good customers for 14 years and have four accounts. All they can say is that these letters are sent by the system and they can’t do anything about their issuance.

When called, a representative said that after 14 years paying into the Gecko Network we don’t have “equity” in it so get notices on the first of every month if our online check has not been processed.

What is “equity” when it comes to an insurance company? I’d like to know. If we don’t have “equity” after 14 years, what might that elusive pink or punk elephant be?

Our state does not give one day’s grace period for lateness on an auto insurance policy, something I’m trying to remedy because it turns out our state senator has to run for office in a few weeks and I’m a new swing state voter.

Thirty years ago I had a check cashed at my local (back home) auto insurance agent’s office. It was due on the first but was a day late due to the mail service. Remember, this is 30 years ago.

They cashed the check that was due for the coming month and cancelled my policy the same day. I called and called and called. I was working for the Speaker of the NYS Assembly at the time, on Insurance. My agent would not answer a call and his assistant would not even answer the phone.

New York State has a 15 day grace period for auto insurance. I went to a reception that night for the insurance industry and ran into a former lobbyist who became Insurance Commissioner under the Governor.

The Commissioner asked what was up and I told him what happened to me. He asked if he could take care of it personally if I sent him the paperwork by interoffice mail. The next morning my agent called (he probably had an accident in his pants) and said my policy was reinstated with a decrease in premiums.

Would I have liked to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. Well, insurance is regulated state by state because that’s the way the insurance industry wants it to be (unlike banking, but no-one regulates the banks, they only take bailouts).

I’m pioneering a five business day grace period for auto insurance policy holders because no-one can depend on computers, or the US mail. The State of Wisconsin has no grace period at all and told me they could do nothing for me with GEICO.

I’m looking into other companies but haven’t had a good hit yet. GEICO has been good to us for 14 years, we’ve had two minor claims in 14 years, under $5K total and two windshield nicks. I’d hate to leave them but will if a better deal comes along.

In the meantime, I’m going to pressure the state legislature to enact a grace period so these companies don’t send out pink envelopes to long-standing, premium-paying clients who always pay on time for over a decade, just because some dang computer says so.

Are you with me? Dee