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I was cheated by my insurance provider. I fought back and won.

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I am posting this because several people have asked me to make this public.

First, I would like to say that I am not a lawyer, nor do I hold a law degree. I do, however, hold several degrees in international relations and have studied international legal documents, treaties, and municipal legislature in at least four different languages. This is a precursor to a story about insurance in America and how I was taken advantage of by my provider and the methods used to fight back and win.

During March of 2019, I was at fault and dented the fender of a 98 Honda Prelude with my 2015 Nissan Altima. Figuring my insurance would go up after the 6-month policy lapsed, I received a notice of my new monthly rate in June. What was alarming was not so much the fact that the rate would increase, but how much it did. After doing some calculations, I learned that my provider had risen my premium 114%. A driver of 12 years with no claims to my name, and this being the first one, I was floored.

Like most Americans who work all day and try to keep their head above water, I started to pay the premium. Within two months, I contacted my provider and asked what I could do to mitigate some of my premium, to which I was told there is no alternative versus doing another defensive driver course, which would only deduct about $100 off the price of the yearly premium, but a cost of about $35 to even partake in the course. I continued to pay the premium till it was to renew in January.

In January, I was surprised to discover that my provider decided to keep the policy price the same with the exact coverage. This time, I was livid. With that one accident still being my only one, I contacted them and asked to reconsider this, to which I was told, ‘unfortunately, that is all we can do.’ In December of 2019, I decided to act. With a hookah to my side and a pot of decaf coffee, I began researching Georgian legislature regarding insurance. I discovered Georgia Code 2010 Title 33 and began reading every chapter. After nearly 4 hours and funneling through nearly 1,000 pages, I developed a grasp on Georgia law and discovered the pertinent sections that would make my case clear that I was being cheated. I stumbled upon O.C.G.A.

Section 33-9-4 which states the following: ‘Rates shall not be excessive or inadequate, as defined in this Code section, nor shall they be unfairly discriminatory.’ Though this jargon appears to be objective but reads subjectively, I had to add more value to my claim. I gathered the potential pay-out of my claim, calculating the full Kelly Blue Book of the car I hit, circa $2K in great condition (which is was not) and my car which cost $1400 to repair with a $1K deductible. I then calculated all my premiums paid and determined that the return that my provider garnered from me averaged 392% for five years, after all bills were paid from the accident. This data gathering spanned over five years. After obtaining this information, I crafted a succinct story with the returns my provider earned, documented and cited the rate percentage increase, and notated the section of the law that I believed was in violation and submitted all documentation to the Insurance Commissioner of Georgia. The following day, I received a notification that someone had picked-up my case the following day.

Within two weeks, I received an email from my insurance provider about a ‘policy update,’ noticed that my premium had dropped nearly $45 a month, savings of $540 a year. Nearly a month and a half have passed since my complaint was filed and I have yet to receive any information from the insurance commissioner nor my insurance provider as to the change or my complaint.

To make a long story short, do not be taken advantage of. Do your due diligence, research, and, when in doubt, seek advice.

Michael Mariner

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