Saturday, February 03, 2018

MORE TH>N Household Insurance - Fair Game or a Swindle?

Mrs maytrees and myself having owned in our Wimbledon home for 38 or so years took out a mortgage to buy the house at a time when the mortgage company was I recollect, able to insist  not only  that the house be insured for subsidence, fire, flooding etc but also that their designated insurance company be used for that purpose. 

We accepted that at the time and added contents and legal expenses insurance  for a reasonably small extra annual premium.

Subsequently the UK insurance was taken over or at least altered its name to MORE TH>N ("More Than").

 We  carried on paying annual premiums from all those years back and at some stage at the insurer's request started using direct debits. Indeed this arrangement continued until last month when we received the statement of the proposed insurance premium for 2018. This surprised me so I telephoned the company. Correspondence then followed on which see below:

Dear Sir or Madam

Upon receiving our annual renewal quotation from More Than Insurance  which is part of Royal Sun Alliance we were  at first, presently surprised to find that it had gone down from £1,432.71p pa to £565.20 pa.

Upon reflecting however I ... telephoned to query why the difference between the two figures as we have made no claims for years nor any changes.  Why was last years figure so large?

The gentleman I spoke with was quite frank - he did not know nor could he understand why there was that vast difference and promised to look into it and call me back although he said that that could take time. Meanwhile the insurance renewal at the new lower rate would go ahead. While  holding the line, I checked one or two of our old bank statements and found that we have been  substantially overcharged by MoreThan for some time.  In the more  recent years, the over charging, is as high as  4 figure annual  amounts, for your household insurance, representing thousands of pounds.   

Your representative  in answer to my specific question,  confirmed that you never charged long standing policy holders such as us, more than new policy - holders, unlike some companies.

After putting the phone down I secured a quote from Direct Line  for annual cover for £189.28p as follows:

Building cover £1m Contents cover £83,600  including laptops etc outside the home plus bicycle up to £500

Policy excess between  £250 (eg water escape) and £1000 (subsidence)

Includes accidental cover and damaged boiler and for another £26.88 legal advice and costs up to £100,000.

The Direct Line also offered a slightly pricier quote of £333.76 pa for eg unlimited buildings insurance above £1m with higher contents insurance and eg bicycles worth up to £1000 but still far far cheaper than what we have been paying More Than.

I also secured an online quote from your company which again was far cheaper than anything we have been paying you which at best is absurd and grossly wrong.

Your annual insurance renewal states specifically that:

"...We have gone to great lengths to ensure your cover offers you comprehensive protection and great value for money..."

This  wording which in the absence of an honest explanation from you now, would be quite false, was the same in your renewal letter to us dated 12th January 2017. The premium details  in the latter, also shockingly state that the premium is £1,838.39 but that you gave discounts of £405.71p. In common parlance, that too  appears to be an appalling swindle.

For years we have assumed that MoreThan was a trustworthy organisation so i do not use lightly phrases like "false wording" or  words like "swindle" in this email. 

Nonetheless going back   to as long ago as 2011 and checking the premiums from old bank accounts, I conclude  that you have   over charged us by thousands of pounds for our insurance. Earlier bank details may even reveal that this over charging has taken place for even longer- please verify from your own records.

I  have  also come across an article in the Guardian Newspaper relevant details of which state:

 "....Customers are told at renewal that they are, once again, enjoying a “competitive” deal with “great value” insurance. But when an insurer claims this while charging £700 for a policy that costs £150 somewhere else, it’s a lie. And under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, deliberate mis-selling like this is a criminal offence...."
As our complaints now appear far more serious than seemed initially to be the case when I telephoned your representative  I checked your published complaints procedure. That  states:
We aim to resolve your concerns informally, within three business days. Where we have been able to, we will send you a letter confirming this. We’ll also explain how you may be able to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service if you subsequently decide that you're unhappy with the outcome.

Therefore in addition to my telephone conversation with your representative, which I was pleased to learn was recorded by you, we are now using your published complaints procedure  as this gives a 3 day resolution period.
Please respond to these complaints without delay.

Your faithfully

Then on 23rd January 2018 I received a telephone call from MoreThan on which my letter to the company typed immediately afterwards reads:

Dear Sir
MoreThan Insurance Policy Number ... – Complaint
Enclosed is a copy of the email complaint of the insured dated 19th January 2018, which despite the MoreThan promise generally to answer within 3 days has not so far been answered or even acknowledged.
Your representative who I telephoned on the 19th January telephoned me back today to say that the £565.20p renewal quote was a mistake and  that your company’s previous years’ four figure quotes, were correct.
This I told him is absurd as even your own company quotes substantially lower figures to me online for the same property. He could not explain further but, having previously emphasised that your company unlike others does not charge new customers less than existing customers, made plain to me that MoreThan’s insistence that the 4 figure sums we have been paying for insurance, are correct is with respect fraudulent.
My own tests of your company and others for the same or better insurance quotes on line show that the true cost should be about £200 or £300 pa. In essence therefore unless you can show me good reason to the contrary I complain of huge over charging and fraud.
Please let me have your full reply within 3 days and if you continue to claim that the £1,500 or so we have been paying annually for years for our domestic insurance is correct please confirm – we will then take the matter to the insurance ombudsman.

Yours faithfully

The next development was a letter from MoreThan  saying that they would review the matter and respond by the 15th February 2018.

I await the next word from MoreThan but have lost trust in that company so telephoned them and noted as follows:

I telephoned MoreThan and cancelled the policy and DD wef 14/02/2018 speaking with a Mr lee Mason at 14:58 – he was sympathetic to the background but could say nothing more.

Insurance was then taken out with Direct Line on  rather better terms  for the same property for an annual premium of  £325 ie  over £1000 lower than  the purportedly correct annual premium of MoreThan.

Something most odd  is going on which I trust will be explained very soon by MoreThan. 

If MoreThan is correct and I am mistaken, details and an apology will be posted on this blog but will they apologise and repay over-paid premiums, if  I am, right? 

We wait and see.


  1. I await an update to this tale with interest!

  2. TX RachRunner - no response yet though they have a few more days. I will post an update then.

    I see you are a marathon runner; fantastic to finish (London Marathon) though my PB was still over 4hrs.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. MoreThan's letter of 23rd January stated that they were allowed 8 weeks to handle a complaint "which means that we have until 15 February to provide you with a final response to our concerns."
    In fact the 8 weeks in question expires on the 15th March but no apology for its error or explanation if indeed there is no error has (yet) been provided by the company.

  5. MoreThan deny acting wrongfully so the matter is this week, being referred to the Financial Ombudsman for determination.

  6. Financial Ombudsman reports that the issue is still be being investigated carefully but that they will be in touch again asap.

  7. Still waiting RachRunner; though the Financial Ombudsman has promised a response by Christmas.


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