Car insurance firm won't cover journalists

A car insurance company refused to issue a quote to a reporter working on Trinity Mirror‘s Liverpool Echo and Daily Post titles claiming that it could no longer cover drivers who were employed as journalists.

eCar insurance, part of Southern Rock Insurance Company, told William Leece that a change in its ‘underwriting criteria’meant it was on longer able to offer cover to journalists.

Already holding an insurance policy with eCar for his Seat Alhambra – and with its sister company eBike for his BMW motorbike – Leece told Press Gazette that when checking sample quotes online with eCar for a new car the process was halted when he was told that “journalist” was not an accepted occupation.

After emailing eCar about the matter Leece received a reply from the company’s helpdesk telling him that ‘due to a change in our underwriting criteria we no longer insure drivers with the occupation journalist”.

The insurer told Leece that it would continue to honour his existing policy until its renewal date but that if he wished to change vehicles ‘you would need to cancel the policy, and obtain a new policy with another insurer”.

Leece told Press Gazette it had been five or six years since he last claimed on his insurance and that he has incurred just a solitary speeding fine five years ago.

He said: ‘At least I am still insured, but it will inevitably cause me some inconvenience when it comes to renewal time later this year.

‘Is this the thin end of the wedge, I wonder, with other insurance companies prepared to ditch journalists’ business?

‘At the very least it seems to be a PR disaster in the making: I have in the past worked with eBike as a sponsor of the Thundersprint bike meeting in Northwich, and it seems odd that they are keen to secure the publicity that ensues while at the same time turning away my money.”

Chris Gillighan, head of underwriting at Southern Rock, told Press Gazette that the company would honour current policies to renewal but reserved the right not to offer insurance to certain professions after that.

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers told Press Gazette said: ‘It’s the first I have heard of it. It’s usually a commercially made decision not to be in a certain market.”

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