The Elder Law Forum

The Elder Law Forum Wells-Fargo, AIG â�?�?Accidental Insuranceâ�? Abuse By Michael Myers USD School of Law A person who steals $15.90 from a bank commits a misdemeanor, punishable up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. On the other hand, when a bank steals $15.90 from a customer, it is allowed to keep the money, and when caught, contends it should be allowed to steal an additional $31.80. �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �?  That contradiction was brought to my attention by a senior legal helpline caller who noticed that her Wells Fargo monthly mortgage statement contained a $15.90 charge for â�?�?accident insurance.â�?�? â�?�?They are downright thieves!â�? said the caller, a 65-year-old retiree living on a â�?�?very tightâ�? fixed income. â�?�?I take notice when someone charges me for something I did not want and did not buy.â�? She had received a call on her landline from a person soliciting on behalf of AIG Insurance, Domestic Accidental and Health Division, pitching accidental insurance as a source of income for her mortgage monthly mortgage payments of $751, in the event she was disabled due to an â�?�?accident.â�?�? She is fully retired, living on Social Security and pension monies. An accident would not interrupt her cash flow. â�?�?To get rid of him I told him to send me the brochure and I would look at it,â�? she said. â�?�?I had no intention of buying the stuff and when the brochure arrived in the mail I threw it away. I naturally assumed I would have to sign something.â�? She spent the better part of a day being bounced from one 800-number to another between Wells Fargo and AIG, each person contending they lacked the authority to delete the billing; that they could treat her call as a cancellation, which meant she would have to make two additional payments.�? One Wells Fargo representative complimented her for spotting the charge, noting that customers are often unaware of such add-ons.�?  I informed the caller that last year attorneys general of New York, Illinois and Connecticut filed suits against insurance brokerage firm Acordia, Inc., and its parent company, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., on charges of steering customers to insurance companies that paid for the business with undisclosed kickbacks.�? According to the lawsuit, the practice of steering business represented a significant conflict of interest. It now appears that Wells Fargo has developed a relationship with AIG that fosters the type of senior abuse described by the caller. â�?�?Because of our 60-day cancellation policy, you owe us another $31.80,â�? she was told.�? �?  I will be contacting AIG and Wells Fargo on her behalf. (Pro bono legal information and advice is available through the USD Senior Legal Helpline, 1-800-747-1895; mmyers@usd.edu. Opinions solely those of the author and not the University of South Dakota).

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