The Cooperators are not cooperative.

I’m pretty cranky about my home insurance provider, The Cooperators Insurance.  I’ve been through 14 months of trying to straighten out a simple error (not mine, theirs) and it’s only going to end if our relationship ends.

Here’s the short strokes:  In August of 2009, I bought out my ex-boyfriend of our formerly jointly owned home. There were lawyers, lots of money, banks, etc.  Among the things that I did was call the insurance provider on the home, advise them of the change in title, and advise them that the bills would continue to come, but to me only, not to both of us.  I was sent a copy of an internal memo from my insurance agent advising his colleagues to remove the other guy from my file. In addition, my lawyer (not the cheapest date in town) sent a letter to the Cooperators Insurance advising them of this, with all the legal-beagle language you could want. I paid for that letter. I was given every assurance that everything was done.

My ex-boyfriend, obviously, moved elsewhere.  I moved nowhere, nor did I change my phone number.

In the last 14 months, I have received forwarded statements from my ex-boyfriend that The Cooperators Insurance sent to the two apartments he’s resided in over the last 14 months. In addition, I get emails from him that advise me that The Cooperators have left a voice mail on HIS answering machine letting me know my renewal date was coming up.  What? Why call a number I never gave to them?  Why send my mail to an address I never resided at? Oh, and trust me, I don’t like to get emails or forwarded mail from this guy. Our relationship is over. Done.

Over the last 14 months, I’ve called the Cooperators repeatedly. They tell me there is no “note in my file” from a lawyer, nor is there a “note in my file” from their colleague. In addition, they advise me of the steps I could take to change my address.  ARRRRGGGHHH, I never changed, nor do I wish to change my address – it’s The Cooperators who continues to change my address while I stay firmly planted in one spot.

In addition, in one exchange of emails The Cooperators asked me to verify my ex-boyfriends coordinates.  What? Are you kidding me? How would you like me verifying coordinates for somebody I’m not associated with?  What an unbeleivable breech of privacy.

By October 21, I got to the end of my rope with these guys. I assembled a FAX, with all these details, and attached the internal memo copy (since they apparently didn’t have it) and a copy of my lawyer’s letter (ditto on the not having it), as well as the exchange of emails when one of their agents asks me to confirm information for somebody I’m not associated with. Yesterday, since I heard nothing from them, I had to call them again. Apparently issuing a formal complaint isn’t a big issue for The Cooperators. It just sits on a desk somewhere until somebody calls. Apparently that’s what happened to that internal memo and lawyer’s note too. Two and a half weeks is ample time for a formal, serious complaint to mill about in an office with nobody reading it at The Cooperators. Imagine what would happen if you had an actual claim?  Frightening.

Since I left a voice mail yesterday, my agent actually called me back.  He’s empathatic, says “that’s awful” and “oh, I’m so sorry” and all that nice stuff. I then ask for a reimbursement of my payment of $500 some dollars for this last period, and they can continue to insure my home. In other words, I’m asking for $500 for the umpteen phone calls, emails, faxes and failed requests that I’ve made over the last 14 months, and for them to acknowledge that they’re in deep security doo doo, as far as my personal details are concerned. They send my mail and call another number with my home insurance information.

When I ask a second time for compensation, I get “oh, our system won’t allow us to do that. Trust me, the number of years I’ve worked here and that’s not going to be approved.”  Wow, so you have had this situation happen before and you’ve made this request? I ask for a higher level manager to call. I’m given the name and number of the District Manager. I did call and left a voice mail.  Funny, she hasn’t called back yet. Her voice mail said she’d be in the office in the afternoon. Crickets from The Cooperators. Again, apparently not serious enough to warrant their attention.  Although the agent called back and confirmed a “no go” on the request for compensation – apparently he got to speak to the District Manager. I wasn’t provided with the same courtesy.

I’m not done with these guys yet. They promote their values as “Champions of prosperity and peace of mind“.  Sorry, didn’t get any of that. Nor am I seeing the transparency they’re boasting about on their website so I can write to the head of their cooperative Board of Directors. They may care about some people’s well being, perhaps the shareholders. They’re not caring about mine.

I’m on the hunt for new home insurance.  I’ve been assured that my personal information is correct by the agent I spoke with. Sorry, heard that one about a half dozen times before. You’ll pardon me if I believe that when I see it.

Meanwhile, in the afternoon, I get a call from another Cooperators agent. “Is this Tracy?” she asks. I confirm she has the right person. “I’m unable to fax your insurance request to Volkswagen Canada”.  I tell her I have no idea why she’s calling and I have no business with Volkswagen Canada. She said “didn’t we speak this morning about Volkswagen Canada?”

“No, no we did not. I don’t own a Volkswagen, nor am I pondering owning one”  Sigh.  Whoever called The Cooperators today with a request for car insurance is in for a surprise eventually. They can’t fax your request. They’ll have no idea who you are, but when you call back to check in on the status, maybe they’ll figure it out in less than 14 months. They still can’t keep my information straight after a period of hours.

Can you tell I’m ticked?  What would you do?


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Momofthree on November 9, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Wow that would be very frustrating! I could feel myself getting worked up and all I did was read about it! I deal with a State Farm agent in Barrie and have always had great, prompt service – even had them go out of their way after hours for me. I can tell you that if I had received the type of service you are describing I would definately be leaving them. Customer service is obviously not that important to them.


  2. wow, what shenanigans! I, too, was frustrated just reading your story. I couldn’t imagine trying to deal witht hat hassle. I wish you the best of luck when you go elsewhere (I wouldn’t have waited this long).


  3. Yeah, I don’t think I would have lasted as long as you have my dear. I have NO loyalty whatsoever when it comes to insurance, car or home. Drop ’em like a hot potato!


  4. Wow, lovely service, all organized and cordial (dripping sarcasm). Sheesh! Are you dropping them like a hot potato after you’re done chewing them out? I sure would! Our insurance is through Bel Air Direct. We’ve had good service over the years, though we’ve never made a house claim. We have made a few minor car claims though and had no problems.


  5. Posted by Ann on November 9, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    If your renewal is coming up I’d shop my insurance now. Ask your friends who they deal with, try to find someone who deals with a broker who they’ve known and had a good relationship for a few years. When you call them, tell them so and so referred you. You’ll probably get a little better service, as no one wants to disappoint a favourite client who referred them. The advantage of dealing with a broker is that they have quite a few markets to pick from. Dealing with what the industry calls a “direct writer” (Co-op, All State, State Farm) means that there’s really no choice. If you get a good quote with a broker, you can get your coverage in place for the renewal date and when your Co-op policy arrives you can return it for cancellation with no financial penalty. Dollars to dough-nuts, the Co-op still has your ex listed on the policy.


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