"Experience the difference." So says the slogan across the top of the NRMA Insurance website.
Well, this week we've discovered that plenty of NRMA policyholders have experienced the difference - and it hasn't been pleasant.
These are people whose home insurance premiums have been jacked up thousands of dollars.
When customers queried the hikes (surely, no insurance company would be so stupid as to raise their premiums 800 per cent?), they were essentially told "yes, that's correct", along with some corporate spiel about how their homes were at risk from stormwater damage.
Or, as the Mercury found yesterday, NRMA Insurance has taken the arrogant approach and ignored some questions altogether. We emailed the company a series of questions, only to get a less than satisfactory result.
It could not even tell us how widespread these huge rises were, claiming, "We are unable to provide a list of areas impacted as each customer's premium is calculated on an individual basis."
Really? We'd have thought that if these new rates are based on hydrologists' reports, those reports would clearly define areas at such risk.
What we found totally unacceptable was NRMA Insurance's refusal to answer two crucial questions:
- Isn't the company worried it is going to lose hundreds of customers?
- What about claims by some residents that NRMA Insurance is trying this as a way of recouping money lost in other areas?
That first question is important because, as we can see in today's story, a number of former NRMA policyholders have jumped ship.
Some have been customers for at least a decade. And that second question echoes the concerns we've heard from some policyholders.
To them, this move by NRMA Insurance smacks of a heavy-handed "cash grab", an effort to find a lot of money quickly to prop up another part of the business.
Whatever the case, NRMA Insurance apparently feels that if it just ignores these pesky questions, the whole issue will simply go away. Well, we reckon the only thing going to go away are NRMA's customers - in droves.