Allstate won’t let this condo owner stay underwater

underwaterhouse
By | March 30th, 2016

Kathleen Pierz returned from a business trip to California to find her South Orange, NJ, condominium partially destroyed by a leaking pipe.

And she’d just changed insurance carriers to Allstate.

Like many of us of the consumer persuasion, Pierz had become numb to the norm of lackluster and troublesome customer service of the previous carrier. And making a pricey insurance claim without some hassle? Fuhgeddaboudit.

But she was in good hands. Allstate made Pierz whole in a big way. Everything with the claim process worked exactly the way it is supposed to work. Everything.

As a cliff dweller myself, condo insurance, or an “HO-6” policy, as it is known, is something the Good News Guy would never be without. And unlike a homeowner’s policy, an HO-6 can be less than clear on matters where the condo association’s responsibilities end and the owner’s begin. Allstate provides a clear guide regarding water leaks.

“My condo was flooded from a leaking pipe of the unit above damaging three units along with it,” explains Pierz. “But the process actually went smoothly and pleasantly despite the unhappy hardship of a collapsed ceiling in two rooms with water everywhere.”

“Every single interaction I had with Allstate was a textbook example of excellent customer service,” she says. “Calls were answered promptly, the claims agent jumped through hoops to accommodate me, and I received my check to cover everything In a matter of days.”

Wait — isn’t that their job and what she paid for? Should it really be considered good news when one is pleasantly surprised by things going right? Or is it rather a bittersweet testimony to our lower expectations of insurance carriers today?

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The Good News Guy previously wrestled with this exact debate regarding his own hotel experiences.

But if Pierz thinks this is good news, then I do too.

There are ways to be technically and procedurally correct — and there are ways to do it right. Allstate made her feel valued as a customer, and cared for at the time she needed it the most.

I’ll let the rest of Pierz’s experience speak for itself.

“They consistently told me how sorry they were this happened, and not to worry,” she says. “They were there to make it right. As simple as it sounds, that helped me feel a lot better. The claims adjuster made arrangements to accommodate my schedule and provided helpful advice about working with contractors.”

Allstate’s rapid response was the best part, but unfortunately not for her neighbors above and below.

Pierz already had her $14,000 claim settled, but they were still waiting for their claims adjusters to even come to their homes when Pierz already had her check. “One of them already told me he is now switching to Allstate,” she added.

Are you listening, insurance companies?

While such severe circumstances are unlikely to go perfectly in an imperfect world, how in the world did we get to the point where we are stunned when consumer service goes right?

The bigger lesson is that Allstate not only made Pierz whole but treated her with sympathy, like a real person rather than a policy number. Now that is how you build a loyal customer base.

Related story:   "What should I do now?"

“Despite months of getting everything back to normal, I am as grateful as I am impressed,” concluded Pierz. “Well done, Allstate.”

Her son elegantly and succinctly summed it up the best, though, “It sucked way less than it could have, Mom.”

Indeed.



  • pmcw

    Thank you for the “good news” story. It’s great to learn about businesses that do what they should, and apparently go out of their way to comfort and reassure their customers.

  • Jim

    And since she lives in the People’s Democratic Republic of New Jersey, Kim Jong Christie supreme leader, she will be unceremoniously dropped at renewal and have to find a new company thanks to terrible insurance laws.

  • Barthel

    We have had Allstate for our homeowners and vehicles for the past ten years. Two years ago I had a car accident that was my fault. I pulled out of a side street and did not see anyone coming. I was t-boned on the driver side. I was the only one injured. Allstate settled the claims promptly. I feared that we would be dropped or would have a rate increase. That never happened. The rate remained the same with some adjustment because we now had a new car, but we were not penalized because of the accident. We are very pleased with Allstate.

  • 42NYC

    last i checked Allstate isn’t a non-profit. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to drop unprofitable customers?

  • 42NYC

    Working in the insurance industry, i can respect people want to save money, especially on a product they think/hope they’ll never have to use.

    Of course, when a company offers cheaper rates, the savings has to come from somewhere. Either fewer adjusters available to help you, a more arduous claims process or monster rate increases if you have a claim.

    I’ve lost many a customer to a cheaper competitor, many have run back to me when they have a claim and months go by without any resolution.

  • vmacd

    I thought my insurance company was very understanding and accommodating too. Then this happened. One year a tree fell on our cable wire and bent a portion of the roof. They paid the claim <$2000. Two years later our hot water heater burst and flooded the basement. Again, they settled quickly for about $6000. Then 3 years later a $3,000 necklace was stolen. My policy covers jewelry only up to $1500. When I called, I was amazed at how quickly the claim was processed. They didn't even ask for a valuation of the necklace. I had a check for $1500 within a week. Then later that year they refused to renew my policy because I had 3 claims within a 5 year period. Now I have to pay more than $3000 extra a year for a different policy for at least 3 years. I even asked them to cancel the $1500 claim, but they said they couldn't. So their speedy resolution of a $1500 claim is now costing me $9000. Now I'm wary if my claims adjuster seems too understanding and eager to settle my claim.

  • DChamp56

    Gotta love these good news stories…! Keep up the good work Andrew!

  • llandyw

    Insurance companies I’ve dealt with in the past tend to give you one claim before sticking it to you. It’s like, “how dare you to have a second accident, even if it was someone elses fault.

  • judyserienagy

    Always a pleasure to read these good news stories, Andrew. What would we do without you?

  • Jim

    Any insurance company in NJ can drop anyone. The insurance regulations are so screwed up in this state that you could be a claim free customer, but if they feel that your demographic is more likely to be a loss this year they can drop you.

  • Jim

    But do you live in New Jersey?