Thursday, November 29, 2012

Homeowner Alert - Water Line Insurance

Complaints Registered For Technology Insurance Co. And HomeServe USA

LABELLE, FL. -- Homeowners around Florida and many other states are receiving personalized letters saying "Response Requested with: 30 Days" and "Status: Pending" from HomeServe USA Repair Management Corp. selling "Water Service Line Coverage."

Better Business Bureaus have received  many complaints about the companies involved while the BBB has issued warnings about the operation of the company and it's principals.

The solicitation letter says they "have found your exterior water line is not covered with" coverage from the company and warns that if a buried underground water lines fails, the owner will be responsible for the cost of repair, explaining the repair could cost thousands of dollars.

"To protect the buried water line" they say to complete and return the enclosed form within 30 days to get $7,000 coverage at $4.99 monthly.

Homeserve USA is a representative of Technology Insurance Company, which in turn is a part of AmTrust Financial.

AmTrust has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Ohio as a result of consumer complaints about their products and service.

HomeServe USA has received 256 complaints according to the Better Business Bureau in Connecticut over the last three years. Complaints logged included 100 about advertising and sales issues, 34 billing and collection issues, 13 about guarantee issues, and 99 complaints about the product or service.

The BBB said they have received complaints "from consumers across the country, concerning this business's direct mail solicitations, specifically that the solicitations' layout may cause consumers to perceive the letters as coming from the consumers' utility companies and not an independent business selling home warranty or insurance coverage" and "also received customer complaints concerning coverage issues, specifically that when a problem occurred, it was not covered by the policy."

In 2012 the State of Kentucky entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with HomeServe after allegations of mailing false, misleading or deceptive representations to 230,000 Kentucky consumers and paid to the state costs of investigations and attorney fees.

The company also entered into similar agreements with the State of Ohio and Georgia.

In Massachusetts a settlement was signed after allegations that HomeServe designed and mailed solicitations and renewal notices to 946,000 National Grid customers, a company they acquired, where customers were given the impression the notices were bills from the utility itself, rather than solicitations for optional repair service contracts.

The settlement also contained allegations that the solicitations gave false impressions about repair costs, as well as whether the repairs are the responsibility of the utility company, the homeowner or the homeowner's insurance company.

Homeserve was assessed $125,000 and agreed to pay $10,000 to cover costs of the Massachusetts investigation.

The sales letter says recipients can call 1-855-456-3137 for questions or to be removed from their mailing list.

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