Consumer reviews and reports on scam companies, bad products and services
Tom Steidinger
Tom Steidinger, Executive Vice President AXIS Reinsurance Company Insurance company takes customer's premium money but uses deception to avoid paying
11th of Jul, 2011 by User715681
During the 1990's my husband purchased earthquake insurance and I didn't become aware of what this insurance covered...until now. On March 21, 2011, there was seismic activity to a large enough magnitude for my in-ground spa to be damaged. Pipes broke to the upper-leveled jets when the spa raised 2 inches from the jolt and continued to raise for another 6 inches as the water leaked from the broken jet pipes. After contacting my independent insurance agent who sold me the AXIS Reinsurance Earthquake policy, I discovered the spa was covered by the insurance. I thought, as a 65-year old women who is single and just recently got unemployed, I am thankful I can get help in fixing the spa. My optimism came too soon. The AXIS insurance representative came to my home and informed me that he couldn't make an adjustment until his geologist came to look at the site. I told him my age, status of employment, and my health concern. I told him how I have a low tolerance for mosquito bites due to my bad allergies which can place me in the hospital and that I have a 2009 doctors note to support my statement. I was concerned of the remaining green water in the spa that was growing swimming little creatures. The AXIS rep said, don't worry about the mosquitoes, it has been cool. Note: the next few days came a heat wave of 90 degree weather. I also asked if I had to get my own geologist, he said, "only if you have $5,000." This was just the beginning of a forming bad relationship with an insurance company that I thought I could trust. The insurance agent used all of his 40-day limited time response and at the 40-day mark sent a letter extending his response saying he needed more time for his investigation. However, going by the date on their geologist report, the insurance agent had their geologist report in-house for 20 days prior to the suspense of 40 days. When they provided their geologist report and their denial letter to the claim, the report had contradictory statements than what their geologist said to me during his visit to my home and blatant misstatements such as where the water level was remaining in the spa and trying to blame the rain that happened 3 months before the earthquake. Not surprising, the report doesn't add there were drains in the concrete all around the spa and home, I do not live in a flooding area and I am not required to get flood insurance, and the spa survived El Nino without any incident. Also, their report reflects the incomplete research; no earth sample was talking in regards to soil expansion. So, as it became painfully clear, I had to use what little savings I have left to get my own geologist report. After spending $2,000 for a California experienced geologist, the geologist came to my home, looked at the colored pictures of the spa taken when the insurance agent visited my home, and took a 3 foot deep earth sample and sent it to the lab for analysis regarding the soil analysis. There was no question in this geologist's mind that after reviewing the scene and receiving the lab's report, that the earthquake jolt on March 21, 2011, caused the spa damage. Yet, after sending all the paperwork to the Executive Vice President, Mr. Tom Steidinger, AXIS Reinsurance Company, which consisted of my geologist report, the seismic activity reports and call ins from other residents in my area on March 21, formal letters showing the unnecessary delays by their agent, contacts I made with the Environmental Protection Agency in trying to deal with the mosquitoes, colored pictures of my spa with green water, and a copy of my insurance policy, Mr. Steidinger did nothing. I know he got all of these documents...I have the signed postal receipts. As directed by the policy, I contacted the California Dept. of Insurance and filed a claim. The CA received all the same documents that Mr. Steidinger received. After reviewing all of the documents and receiving the insurance confirmation of denying the claim, all the authority that the CA had was to file my complaint against AXIS Reinsurance in their files and await more complaints before going to the state authorities. There is no authority for unethical or fraudulent activity across state lines and the policy that the insurance company wrote doesn't allow for any other relief besides CA. That means, the insured is on their own in getting a resolution with the giant insurance company. Financially, this is how it works out. The insurance cost is $6,000 from the 90's to date, the earthquake spa damage is estimated at $24,000, the insured's geologist report was $2,000.00, and about $300 for administrative costs (copying, faxing, postal mail, etc.). An elderly person can not afford this treatment of unethical behavior and processes and potential fraudulent activity. With the grace of God, I will find an ethical lawyer who will take my case on a contingency basis...and there is always hope that Mr. Steidinger will do the right thing. Blessings to those who can help the elderly.

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