Trip Mate delays my reimbursement. Big surprise, right?

Beverly and Bob Sorrentino canceled their cruise long ago, but their insurance claim through Trip Mate is still “processing.” Can our advocates help the Sorrentinos get their reimbursement check?

Question

My husband and I paid for a West Indies ocean cruise on Viking. We also purchased a travel insurance policy through Trip Mate. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our cruise because of a surgery.

We completed and submitted the required documentation to request a Trip Mate reimbursement for our cruise fares. But it’s been over 60 days since we filed our claim, and we haven’t received our refund.

Trip Mate’s agents tell us only that our refund request is “being processed.” How long is it supposed to take Trip Mate to process our claim and issue our reimbursement? Can you help us speed things along? — Beverly Sorrentino, Reading, Mass.

Answer

I’m sorry you couldn’t take your cruise. And it’s too bad that Trip Mate is taking its time about issuing your reimbursement. You don’t need a refund delay on top of surgery and a canceled vacation.

You might have used the “View Claim Status” feature on Trip Mate’s website to check the status of your refund. But I don’t know if you would have learned anything new about your claim other than “it’s being processed.”

A pattern of Trip Mate reimbursement delays

Unfortunately, for insurance companies in general and Trip Mate in particular, slowness in processing claims is par for the course. Trip Mate lately has been delaying refunds for canceled cruises while telling policyholders that their claims are “in process.”

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Trip Mate’s website doesn’t guarantee that claims will be resolved within any range of time. But it promises that:

  • if there is any problem with your claim, we will call you personally to discuss our concerns;
  • we will always be respectful of your needs and concerns, and we will employ the highest ethical standards in the handling of your claim

Trip Mate is not living up to these promises by not issuing your refund or an explanation for the delay.

The wrong tone to take with an insurance company

Your husband sent the following message to Trip Mate:

I sent an email to your associate on Monday reminding him that a week had passed and still not had received the checks which were promised to be sent this week. It is now Friday; still no checks and no response from [your associate] which I consider rude and unprofessional. Are we getting them or not? Your company needs to do what you say you are going to do as promised.

While your husband’s impatience is understandable, the aggressive tone here wasn’t likely to speed up the Trip Mate reimbursement process. Accusations and demands don’t motivate companies to act with greater speed or concern for customers.

Getting your refund payment

After over four months of waiting for your Trip Mate reimbursement, you asked us for help. Our advocate, Dwayne Coward, advised you to write a polite, concise letter to the primary contact listed on our contacts page for Trip Mate. If the primary contact didn’t respond within a week, Dwayne suggested that you then write to the next highest-ranking person listed in the page.

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Above all, Dwayne advised that you observe the three P’s of consumer advocacy during this letter-writing process: patience, politeness and persistence.

This strategy worked. You have notified us that Trip Mate has issued your cruise reimbursement.

Have you ever written to an insurance company about the status of a delayed reimbursement?

Jennifer Finger

Jennifer is the founder of KeenReader, an Internet-based freelance editing operation, as well as a certified public accountant. She is a senior writer for Elliott.org. Read more of Jennifer's articles here.

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