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"Being Thankful - But to Who?"
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"This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, and ask where the good way is, and walk in it. You will find rest for your soul."
Jeremiah 6:16 NIV

Can You Believe It?

By Jerry Stewart

Someone once said that truth is stranger than fiction and I guess that must be true in business too. Listen to this story. I still can't believe it.

A few weeks ago a lady client came into my office and in the course of reviewing her tax files she told me that she was confused and angry because her auto insurance had been dramatically increased. Now, before I tell you why, let me tell you something about this woman. She has a stellar work and community record. She's been with the same employer over twenty years. Her driving record is almost perfect with no tickets or accidents for well over ten years. She makes good income, has no debt beyond her home and her car, and she has excellent credit.

Sounds like the perfect customer for any situation, right? Well, her insurance company evidently doesn't think so because she told me that her car insurance rates were increased because, get this, she has too many credit cards. Now, I didn't say too many credit card balances, just the physical cards.

Now, I must admit, at first I doubted her story. It just didn't make sense. So I asked her to fax me a copy of her increase letter and, sure enough, here's what it says, "primary reason for increased rates - unfavorable number of bank or national revolving open accounts." Not with any balance, just open cards. And this made her car insurance go up. That is just wrong.

Well, I couldn't let this go, so I contacted an agent client of mine who writes insurance for this same company and he confirmed the story. Now, here's where the story gets even more bizarre. It seems that before rates are given out for car insurance today, a point system is used to grade the person seeking the insurance. This grade is made up partly of your driving record, what kind of car you drive, all the regular car stuff. But this test goes much further to look at your credit record, who you owe, how much you owe, and, you got it, even how many credit cards you possess.

Now, when I asked the logical question, "just how many credit cards is too many," the insurance company could not give me a solid answer. I don't know about you, but to me, this whole grading system and how it effects your car insurance rates just sounds like another convenient way to raise our rates for no good reason.

And just what can we do about it? Shop around, complain, and look for a reputable company that doesn't use this unfair tactic to raise our insurance rates for no good reason. But the sad truth is most of us won't do anything. We're just too tired of all the fights.

But, one thing you can know. I will continue to fight for all of us and do my best to keep aware of all the business truths that truly are stranger than fiction. That's all for now. Until next time, don't forget...IT'S YOUR MONEY.