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When I read the editorial in the December 1 issue of The Valley Reporter and the accompanying letter from the MINT restaurant owner, it got my blood boiling all over again after nearly six years.
Following our car accident in February 23, 2006, from which I miraculously barely survived and which kept me out of commission for over a year, and eventually contributed to my having to sell my house and move closer to my medical providers, our attorney filed a claim against my personal umbrella policy, which I had been carrying with Union Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Montpelier for many years, in spite of frequent premium increases.
Their adjuster and lawyer gave us the run-around during the mediation meeting that resulted from their unwillingness to honor our claim. After eight hours of mediation during which they barely wavered from their most ludicrous offer out of a $1 million policy, they gave us the choice of accepting their low-ball offer or sue them.
When I wrote Union Mutual's CEO to vent my disgust at the outcome, he simply replied that, as a mutual insurance company, he had to protect his shareholders. When I told him that I had been a shareholder for many years, he replied that, once I filed a claim, we entered into a confrontational relationship.
We had a similar experience with Allstate, the insurer of the woman who crashed into us. It took nearly two years for us to collect on her policy, which she carried with the minimum legal limit. I don't know who is in "Good Hands with Allstate"; we certainly were not with either Allstate or Union Mutual.
My sincere sympathy goes to Savitri. We simply can't win with these insurance companies. We have to wonder why we pay premiums for years, feeling that we are protected against calamities, only to find out that they will find some loophole to refuse to honor our legitimate claims. I hope that he will prevail in the end.
Henri de Marne
Former 40-year Valley resident, now living in Essex, VT