by Anura Guruge
MMG Insurance homepage. Click image to access.
In business 118 years — and MMG stood for MAINE Mutual Group, and they are indeed located in Maine. On the history page of their Website (above) under “About Us”.
It is so uplifting, reassuring and pleasant to come across an insurance company that, from the minute you make a claim, is nothing but 100% responsive, cordial, helpful and PROMPT. WOW.
I have only been with MMG since last September, but I plan to be with them for a long time to come (breaking my habit of shopping for the best rates every year, if not two). That is a given. As some of you know by now I tend to be very loyal to companies that treat me even halfway decent. And MMG has treated us right royally of late. Thank you. Bravo and kudos.
As I have mentioned in passing in a couple of my posts we had a mishap on our April vacation trip to Yosemite. On the last night, a few hours ahead of our early-morning flight, our rental car, a AWD Nissan Pathfinder from Budget, got broken into at “Fisherman’s Wharf” — right opposite the Sheraton. They broke both passenger side windows and grabbed three backpacks — those belonging to Deanna, Devanee and Teischan. But they left a whole bunch of stuff behind like all of our other luggage. Deanna and the kids were devastated. This was something new. Not something we think about in New Hampshire. Teischan lost nearly all her electronics and Devanee a zoom lens to her Canon T3i. Teischan and Deanna both lost their glasses and Devanee a gift card and a small amount of money. But it could have been much worse. They never touched my bag that had my pad and all the travel documents.
Teischan (10), within minutes, still sobbing asked me “is our house going to be OK?” That confused me. We were in San Francisco and our house was 3,300 miles East. Took me a minute or so to work out WHAT she was thinking. She had an APP on her stolen pad that allowed her to access our security cameras. It was not password protected. She was worried that they would start accessing the cameras! She is 10. Anyway I assured them that everything that could be replaced with money would be replaced. Teischan lost some birthday presents she had received a month earlier. Those could not be replaced. Neither some of the mementos she had picked up — including her 4th grade National Park Pass.
I didn’t even think about insurance. Never occurred to me that my homeowners policy covered stuff stolen from a rental car. I had assumed that the broken windows would be covered by my Citi AAdvantage card (that I had used for the rental) — since rental car insurance was one of their many claims. I WAS WRONG ON THAT.
We got home Saturday and by Monday afternoon I had ordered — from Amazon, of course — nearly 90% of the stolen items. The prescription glasses would require a trip to Walmart. It was AFTER I had ordered all this that it occurred to me that I should put a call through to my local insurance agent (not MMG, but an independent agency). 36 hours later I got a call. They said that they THOUGHT that I would be covered. They filed a claim, on my behalf, and said I would hear from an MMG Claims Adjuster.
And I sure did. Wow. It was magical. So helpful from the start. No messing around. No evasion. No prevaricating. Told me the list of documents she needed — and they all made sense. I could even e-mail them to her. It took me some time to complete the claim. We didn’t make it to Walmart for nearly 10 days to order the glasses, the opticians having been closed the first time we visited on a Sunday. Deanna and the kids kept on discovering small things that were in the backpacks. I had to amend the SF police report to include the latest items. Finally two weeks after I first spoke with the MMG claims adjuster I sent her the final batch of paperwork and said “that is it”. I am done. Within a week I had a check. I was amazed. It was for a goodly amount too. I never added up the amount of everything we lost and I claimed. But the check seemed very fair. I was happy. I made the decision then that I liked MMG and was sticking with them.
[P.S., Found a few more things I had not claimed. Teischan had lost a $13 library book from school. The librarian told Teischan that she did NOT have to replace it given the circumstances. But I insisted and replaced it. I changed the password on the security camera DVR as soon as we got home. Teischan also wanted all her passwords changed. The thought of a stranger accessing her stuff really spooked her. I did some checking via Google Play Store on the Android pad and with Chrome. As far as I could tell Teischan’s pad was never used after it was stolen! Maybe they reinstall the software right away. This was not a random breakin. This was organized crime. I have since discovered that there is an ongoing epidemic of car breakins in SF.]
On May 14 just as I was wrapping up with MMG I got a bill from Budget for $403 for the two broken windows. My credit card, the Citi AAdvantage, was going to be charged that within the week. I immediately called up Citi AAdvantage. They transferred me to a claims department. They asked me to e-mail them a bunch of documents. I did. They confirmed receipt of those and then asked for a copy of the original Budget rental agreement. I didn’t have that. Requested a copy, electronically, from Budget. Got that the next day and submitted that via e-mail (again). Got a confirmation that they received that too. A week later with the $403 now on my credit card I called the claims department to ask how my claim was going. They said it would take 14 business days. I waited. I called. They said it was still being processed. I waited another week. Called. Nothing. Then I called again on June 14. They said that they had sent me a letter requesting further documents. I never got a letter. It transpired that it was NEVER sent. The Citi claim was being handled by ‘Virginia Surety’ — a company that seems to have difficulty understanding what dealing in good faith is all about. That is why I reported Citi AAdvantage to the ‘Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’ (CFPB) yesterday.
While my phone calls with Virginia Surety was going on last week, somebody told me I should try my car insurance policy. Never thought of that. Assumed that my credit card, as promised, would take care of it. But I called my local agency. Yet again they said they will file a claim with MMG. Last Friday I got a call from a different MMG adjustor. She already had a bunch of documents forwarded to her by my agency. She just needed the credit card statement showing the $403 charge. I e-mailed that to her. That was Friday. On Wednesday I had a check for the whole $403! That is brilliant. I am so happy. This is great. This what insurance is meant to be.
Nothing but good words. Such a stark contrast with Citi and Virginia Surety. I, being who I am, kind of feel bad! As far as I am concerned Citi should have paid for this. Never mind. I will sort out Citi in my own way.
For now REJOICE that there still are companies like MMG.
++++ Search on ‘credit cards’ for many other related posts from past years >>>>
by Anura Guruge