CHICAGO (CBS) — Complaint after complaint; several online reviews allege an Illinois company is routinely denying insurance claims. Experts tell CBS 2 the reason being given is nonsense.
Morning Insider Lauren Victory takes you inside a suburban man’s fight to get his car fixed.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Showers By Daybreak
Tom Noonan isn’t sure what sound is worse: the scraping of his battered Buick on the ground, or the silence on his claim to fix it.
“You gotta keep calling them, and calling them, and calling them. They don’t answer,” said Noonan of the insurance company he’s fighting.
His problems began at a Tinley Park intersection back in February. Police arrested a man for driving without a license, who – minutes before – cut a left too closely.
“Just went right in front of me and I smacked him right there,” said Noonan pointing to a diagram of the accident.
He told CBS 2 he had the right of way.
“I hit him on the passenger side rear,” Noonan said.
Thankfully, no one was hurt. The cars were the real casualties.
“Bumper. Gotta get the grill [fixed],” said Noonan, explaining necessary repairs which he estimates will cost about $3000. “I think this is the big empty space where the light goes.”
The other driver’s insurance provider, American Freedom Insurance Company, denied Noonan’s claim. A recent letter from the company read “our insured has failed to provide the company with a written statement of facts.”
“They can’t get a hold of him, so I’m on my own. I’ll have to sue the guy that hit me,” Noonan said.READ MORE: Oak Lawn Woman Got Locked Out Of Her Facebook Business Account, And Even Facebook Can't Be Sure If The Email To Blame Was A Scam
CBS 2 shared Noonan’s situation with Bob Hunter, the former Insurance Commissioner for the state of Texas.
“The excuse that they’re giving for not paying promptly is inappropriate,” said Hunter, who now works as the Director of Insurance for the Consumer Federation of America. “They should be able to contact their own client. If they can’t, then that’s their problem, not the person who is waiting to be paid.”
Multiple Better Business Bureau reviews of American Freedom Insurance detail the same problem.
Dan H writes in one review: “denied my claim because their insured would not answer the phone.”
Data from Illinois’s Department of Insurance (IDOI) shows American Freedom Insurance Company has nine times the amount of complaints of a typical business its size.
It’s a history that doesn’t surprise Noonan. He’s been waiting on repairs for almost three months.
CBS 2 gave American Freedom Insurance days to review Noonan’s claim and to respond to this story.
Cris, from American Freedom Insurance marketing, finally wrote back to us saying the company feels its denial was appropriate “based on a breach of policy provisions.” We asked, but Cris did not clarify who breached what policy.
CBS 2 asked IDOI what a consumer should do if the person liable for damaging a vehicle is a policy holder with a company that is refusing to cover costs. An IDOI spokesperson said, if a policyholder’s vehicle is damaged in a collision, and they are unable to get reimbursement/repairs from another driver’s insurance company, they can file a claim under their own policy if they have collision coverage. If the policyholder does not have collision coverage, then they may seek recovery by filing suit against the other driver.
Noonan did not have collision coverage on his Buick.MORE NEWS: They Had A Tough Year Of E-Learning, But Southland College Prep Seniors Have Now Racked Up More Than $50 Million In Combined Merit Scholarships
Consumers can also file a complaint with the IDOI.