Halifax hiked my home insurance by 29%, so could it tell me why? SIMON LAMBERT on trying to pin down his loyalty penalty
At the start of the year, I was sent a renewal letter by my home contents insurer Halifax and the price looked suspiciously higher than I remembered paying last year.
I was being asked for £263, whereas last year’s identical policy had cost £204.
A quick calculation revealed that Halifax was hiking my annual premium by a spicy 29 per cent. The letter, of course, provided no details as to why.
‘No matter,’ I thought. ‘I’ll call up and get to the bottom of this, see if I can convince them to take some money off.’
At which point the fun began.
Halifax hiked Simon Lambert’s contents insurance by 29% at renewal time, but an attempt to find out why didn’t deliver much of an answer
The charming woman I spoke to in Halifax’s renewal team very much wanted to help me, but there was one small problem: she wasn’t able to provide any details on why the premium had risen by almost a third.
Struggling to believe this, I suggested that there must be some reason Halifax’s renewals team could provide me with.
She tried to come up with an answer, went off to speak to her manager, and came back having hit a brick wall.
Apparently, the renewals team are not blessed with the ability to explain why you are being asked for an extra £59.
Do our banks, insurers, energy firms and broadband providers take the loyalty penalty seriously?
You’d think they would, what with it being the subject of a Competitions and Markets Authority investigation after a Citizens Advice super complaint, but after my endeavour to get an answer here I’m not so sure.
Asking if Halifax was aware of the concept of the loyalty penalty and the watchdog’s investigation made no difference. The computer said ‘no’.
By this point, I was determined to get some form of answer.
Even if it was just a mealy-mouthed excuse for hiking prices – I wanted Halifax to at least try to pin it on something.
My helpful lady said that I could speak to her manager, although her manager wouldn’t be able to tell me anything different. The only way I could try to get an answer would be to make an official complaint.
Even if it was just a mealy-mouthed excuse for hiking prices – I wanted Halifax to at least try to pin it on something
So, I did.
And guess what?
A couple of weeks later I got a call from Halifax’s complaints team. My complaint had been investigated and they had an answer for me: ‘The way premiums are calculated is confidential to Halifax.’
Yes, after investigating my complaint about being stung by a loyalty penalty and having my premium hiked 29 per cent, that is the answer Halifax came up with.
It could assure me that my premium had been calculated correctly, but Halifax couldn’t tell me why the policy had risen in price 22 times faster than CPI inflation.
Helpfully, it did have some details to hand that could confirm that two years earlier the same policy cost me £147, allowing me to work out that since 2018 it had gone up 79 per cent.
Halifax could also confirm that although it would like to give me a loyalty discount, unfortunately I was not eligible for one. The reason for this? Well, it turned out that was a secret too.
Halifax’s only snippets of wisdom were that ‘we do urge you to shop around’ and ‘we do realise that sometimes being a loyal customer doesn’t pay off’.
There you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth. And on that note, I’m not really sure there’s any more I need to say.