Insuring with Aviva – Were we robbed?

5 10 2009

I have had  a number of dealings with our insurer Aviva over the past few months. First of all our shower leaked and soaked our living room ceiling to the point that it bowed. One phone call to a UK based call centre and all was sorted out quickly and efficiently, new ceiling, new floor in the bathroom and a repainted living room, all professionally carried out by their agents, Home Serve.

A similar story could be told when we were broken into whilst away on holiday. Home Serve again being the agents carried out the replacement of the broken window and replacing of all the locks. Home Serve it seems are the heroes here as my dealings with Aviva themselves in respect of replacing the contents that were actually stolen have been far from satisfactory…… fact, dealing with the company that took over from Norwich Union has been more stressful than having to come back off holiday early to deal with the initial break in.

Having compiled a full list of things that were stolen this was posted to them on 3rd September, recorded delivery, first class. Now this is probably due to the postal strike but it took ages for the letter to be confirmed as delivered, in fact I posted a duplicate without the ‘recorded’ bit to see if that worked more effectively. It all seemed so easy, let them know what items were stolen, provide serial numbers etc and they would get them replaced…..not exactly difficult now is it?

We received a phone call from them on the 22nd September and the caller said that it was all in hand and a list was being forwarded to the people who replace the items, Ival, and we would receive a call from then within ’48 hours’ (an expression I would get very used to over the coming weeks). When that call never came I phoned the number I had been provided with only to be told that they had not received the list of items. I was on the phone straight away to Aviva themselves to find out what had happened……..this is where it starts getting repetitive i’m afraid.

According to the person on the end of the phone the list had been sent but apparently not received so there must be ‘technical problems’ (another term I would get used to) but, she would send the list again and I would receive a call within 48 hours. The time passed and no call was received so I called again to find out what was going on. Again I was told that there had been a ‘technical problem’ but I was assured that the list would be forwarded to Ival and I would get a call within, you guessed it, 48 hours.

This period of time passed again, and now getting a bit fed up with the total lack of communication I phoned again to see how the claim was progressing……..apparently a ‘technical problem’ had occurred and Ival had still not had the list. The lady was very apologetic and again I was assured that the list would be immediately sent and I would get a call……..within 48 hours!

Giving up on the usual route I decided to phone the Aviva head office in the UK and speak to the complaints department. Getting the number from ‘‘ I spoke with them and begged them not to transfer me to India but to answer my questions about how my claim was progressing…..all details taken I was told that someone would ring me back ………within 48 hours! To be fair, I was phoned back later the same day, from India, and the promise was made that the details had been sent to Ival and I should hear something………within 48 hours.

When I received no call I decided that I should fill in a form on the Aviva website to register a complaint about their inability to communicate effectively with their customers through their ‘foreign operation’

Today came, no reply to the complaint form and no phone call despite their assurances that I would be contacted. Not at all happy I phoned their call centre again determined to get this sorted once and for all, after all I had now been told four times that it would be and I was no further forward, nor was my claim. Speaking to India again wasn’t ideal as I was quickly losing patience with the stock answers, stock phone manner and rehearsed ‘banter’. Again I was told that a communication problem had occurred and that Ival still had not received my details……….what a complete joke!! After expressing my opinions in a fairly cut manner the chap on the other end of the phone was in no doubt as to the level of my frustration and ended up giving me the email address of Ival so I could sent the details myself, apparently they are unable to email things from India and their fax machines don’t work properly.

So, after filling out yet another complaint form on the Aviva website I emailed my claim details myself, we will see what happens next, though I doubt that this is the end of it. I’ll probably update this………..within 48 hours! but at the moment I am totally unimpressed with the shoddy service offered by such a large company with absolutely disastrous levels of communication offered to their customers who really should be treated so much better.




11 responses

5 10 2009
Tom Belte

This made me very angry when I read it. Best of luck Steve.

5 10 2009

It’s pretty poor isn’t it? I don’t know if it’s the same for ‘general insurance’ but life and pensions you HAVE TO get a complaint acknowledgement within 5 working days. You should surely be eligible for D&I (distress and inconvenience) compensation I’d have thought. Is there an Ombudsman for general insurance?? Failing that, how about saying you’re going to write to watchdog? That worked for me on a car insurance claim once.

5 10 2009

(Complaint acknowlegement within 5 days, and then up to 8 weeks to issue the final decision letter.)

5 10 2009
Steve Green

They probably get round that with an automated response along the lines of ‘We are sorry that this is an automated response but we’ll get back to you within 48 hours’ 😀

5 10 2009
Simon Butler

Yep, best of luck. I have to say my heart sinks when I ring up a call centre and an Indian voice answers. Hope you get this sorted ASAP.

5 10 2009

I can understand just how frustrating it is when you’re left with few options and no obvious way to move a claim forward. I had to claim for some camera equipment once and it was all handled very smoothly.

Not sure if you had dedicated photographic equipment cover, but it’s worth considering. Just ask at TP for the popular options and make sure you get opinions from people who have actually been through the claims process!

5 10 2009

Oh, poor Steve. This sort of incompetence wastes so much time and temper. I hope it gets sorted out soon. Contact your MP/local paper/trading standards and tell Aviva you’ve done it.

6 10 2009
Jason Dale

I’m so so sorry to hear about your trauma with AVIVA Steve. When they were Norwich union direct, I had similar issues however they were to do with an insurance cover note. The nice man in india could not comprehend the fact that I wanted to drive to Dudley motors, pick up my new car & drive home in it on a Saturday lunch time. “that is not possible sir, your insurance on your current car will expire at 23.59 hrs and the new insurance will start on the new car at 00.01. I explained that the garage was not open at midnight and getting a cover note for both vehicles was possible with every other UK insurer. It took me 8 phone calls 6 different operators before someone with half a brain in india could see the problem and issue me with a cover note. The irony being when it finally did arrive by recorded delivery it was 3 days too late and I had to delay picking my new car up by another week.

From that point I now refuse to buy new services off any company that operates call centres outside of the UK and is the main reason I am with direct line. It’s now the first question I ask them.

The only exception to that rule is my mobile operator three, whom I have been with for almost 6 years and have had no trouble at all.

6 10 2009
Guy Collier

Why doesn’t any of this surprise me Steve – they’re all as bad as each other (we had a shocking time with Halifax to get a wall repaired last year). I hope it works out ok.

6 10 2009
Steve Green

Thankis for everyones comments, much appreciated.

As an update I spoke today to the people who will be replacing all of the missing items. The nightmare now is trying to find receipts for stuff I bought two years ago……….oh joy!

23 01 2012
Paul Parvin

Dealing with Aviva is like a game of cops and robbers with out the cops, they take take and then use the law and the small print not to pay you out. Google my name or Aviva protester to read newspaper articles about my protest outside Aviva

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