Forced to Pay for Insurance I Didn’t Want

PHOTO: Increases in homeowners insurance premiums vary by state, so it pays to be judicious when filing a claim.

Dear ABC News Fixer: I had homeowners insurance for my co-op through Hanover Insurance Group. Subsequently, I had my agent cancel it and I got Geico instead. I signed some cancellation papers and received a confirmation.

A month or so later, I received a letter from Adirondack Insurance Exchange indicating that I was a new policy holder. I never signed up for Adirondack. I called them to cancel and was told to call my agent. I did, but I never received a call back. I began to ignore the letters I received, since why should I pay for a service that I never initiated?

Then, in May, I received a notice of cancellation from Adirondack because I had not paid for the policy. That was fine -- until I received a $380 bill and a notice that "failure to pay … may result in collection action." I paid out of fear of ruining my credit. Now I'm out of $380 and have nowhere else to turn. Can you please help?

- Sarah Elliott, New York City

Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

Dear Sarah: We were going to scold you for ignoring this weird bill and hoping it would go away – until we thought of all those fake billing schemes in which the bad guys try to make a person believe he owes money that he doesn’t. So we sympathize.

Plus, the ABC News Fixer loves a mystery.

First, we contacted Tower Group Companies (which, we determined, runs the Adirondack Insurance Exchange) and explained the whole thing and sent them copies of your Hanover cancellation and your Geico enrollment. They promised to look into it.

As it turns out, Tower Group recently purchased some of Hanover’s insurance business and your policy was scheduled to move from Hanover to Adirondack. But Tower says it never got word that you were canceling your Hanover coverage. This resulted in your old Hanover policy starting anew with Adirondack, at the same time you had just signed up with Geico.

Adirondack Assistant VP Brian Connors said he doesn’t want to you to have to pay twice for insurance. He promised to refund your $380, and you got the check last week.

- The ABC News Fixer

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