Monday, January 4, 2010
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
This post is a bit off the topic of antitrust and competition policy and more in the vein of consumer protection. My parents, senior citizens, made the mistake of buying travel insurance. I have told them in the past that travel insurance is not worth the money because the llikelihood that they will need it is small, the cost is very high, and travel insurance companies do everything possible to make successfully collecting on such a policy highly unlikely. Did my parents listen to me? Like many other consumers, no. They bought travel insurance through a link on Delta.com (they were coming to visit us) with Access America. My father unfortunately needed open heart surgery (he is fine now) and they needed to cancel the trip to see us. Access America decided that because he had what they called a "pre-existing condition", they denied him compensation. The "pre-existing condition" language is quite vague and one might imagine that nearly all situations might fall into their definition of pre-existing conditions. Customer service was spotty at best and they were somewhat nasty to my parents on the phone.
At some level, Access America must realize that lots of bad publicity will hurt their business (and potentially Delta's as well by this bad association).
The lesson to be learned by my parents is not to buy travel insurance from Access America and to listen to their son sometimes about how travel insurance is a waste of money.