New Co-operators Claims Guarantee provides consumers with clarity on insurance coverage

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GUELPH, ON, June 16, 2006 – To address the uncertainty many Canadians feel about reporting claims to their insurance company, The Co-operators has launched an innovative Claims Guarantee.

“Some people hesitate before making an insurance claim or even asking questions about their coverage. They’re not sure what to expect during the claims process or whether it will impact their rates,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “Our Claims Guarantee removes that element of fear and clearly lays out our promise. At the end of the day, insurance shouldn’t have to be a riddle.”

The Claims Guarantee covers property and casualty insurance products for both individual and group clients. It is designed to enhance client service and reduce uncertainty by clearly laying out the company’s commitments up-front. For example, clients have access to a claims counselling service that will answer their questions and help them decide whether or not to make a claim in a given situation. If there are no injuries or convictions involved and the client chooses to pay the claim, the incident will not result in a premium increase — guaranteed.

“We’ve all heard stories of people who are afraid to even call their insurance company about a potential claim because they’re afraid their rates will go up,” added Bardswick. “At The Co-operators, our clients can contact us for claims counselling at any time without worrying about negative implications.”

The service was valuable to Mike Hallett of Guelph, Ontario, after a pipe burst in the wall of his newly finished basement. He took quick action to contain the damage and figured he could do the work himself for roughly $1,000. Hallett was not sure whether he should make an insurance claim and risk losing his claims-free discount. “We got advice from The Co-operators that included a quick estimate to repair the damage — professional drying equipment; installing, sanding and repainting new drywall; new underpad for the carpet, etc. There were some elements we hadn’t considered — including the time it would take to do it ourselves and the guarantee on the work. We also had clear information on the impact to our property rate so we were able to make an informed decision. The advice itself was a really valuable service,” said Hallett.

The Co-operators strives to resolve all claims fairly and to their clients’ satisfaction. However, in the event of a dispute, a Service Review Panel, consisting of Co-operators clients who volunteer their time to help resolve client concerns, can re-examine the case and present its ruling. The decision of the Service Review Panel is binding on The Co-operators but not on the client. The Panel has been in place for over 15 years; The Co-operators is the only insurer in Canada to provide such an option for its clients.

“Insurance should bring you peace of mind, the knowledge that when the unexpected happens, your insurer is there help you through it,” said Bardswick. “Our Claims Guarantee is designed to heighten that sense of reassurance.”

The Claims Guarantee promises quality products and services from vendors recommended to make repairs. While clients always have the final say in which service provider repairs or replaces their damaged or stolen property, The Co-operators will guarantee all work done through its network of preferred vendors.

It also outlines the “accident forgiveness” feature that insulates clients with this coverage from rate increases — even in the case of an at-fault accident. The Co-operators was one of the pioneers of this coverage, which has since been imitated by many companies under different names.

About The Co-operators:

Based in Guelph, Ontario, Co-operators General Insurance Company is the leading Canadian-owned multi-product insurance company. The company is part of The Co-operators, a national group of companies owned by 33 Canadian co-operatives and like-minded organizations, that offers insurance as well as investment products and property development. http://cooperators.ca/ .