Karl Deeter: Insurance firms hit bum note with unfair refusal to cover transport for musicians
Sometimes I despair when I hear people talking about high premiums on car insurance. Because it's mandatory and you have to have it, the younger people usually have it worst and this is damaging to their ability to earn an income and save.
When you get to your mid-40s you expect this to be behind you, particularly if you have the maximum no-claims bonus, very low penalty points and were never refused or had issues in the past.
However, last week I learned that when it comes to juicing customers, insurance companies have a tactic that is even more depressing than high costs. That's where they simply won't offer you any cover at all because of what you do for a living.
I tend to catch the train to work and cycle, I also have a life outside of 9-to-5 where I do other jobs.
I play music, work as a journalist (hence this column) and I also teach, along with some sports coaching. For this reason, I have a commercial vehicle which is used for these trades.
This year, when answering the usual questions I get asked when trying to renew I mentioned I was playing music as well - and was suddenly told that I couldn't be offered cover.
And that was from the company I was already with!
They said I should try insuremyvan.ie so I called them and now my nickname is dontinsuremyvan.ie because they also refused to even quote for the cover.
Not only that, the adviser said that I'd be better off going to an insurance company directly.
For a person working in a brokerage to say such a thing is like a knife in the eye to me.
Apart from a lack of the pro-business approach I'd expect from a broker, the whole idea of an intermediary is always that they don't advise against independent advice and encourage the broker channel because it is one of the things that stops insurance companies from overcharging - that's why we exist.
It upset me so much I wrote to insuremyvan.ie to let them know. At time of writing I haven't heard back, but should they want to find out more I'm happy to say that "I too record calls".
From there I called chill.ie and lo and behold, they wouldn't quote either. I tried several others to no avail.
This is a nation that prides itself on culture and our musical heritage is central to it - the harp is our emblem. Just don't try to be a harp player, or any musician for that matter, that has to travel anywhere to ply your trade.
When it comes to treating customers unfairly insurers are as bad today as ever.
@karldeeter is the compliance manager at mortgagebrokers.ie
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