Allstate won’t let this condo owner stay underwater

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.

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“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.

Andrew Der

Der is an environmental consultant and travel journalist specializing in water science, nature, eco-travel, and cultural destinations

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