Joseph and Carol Calamoneri have been married for 49 years.
As part of their decades of planning together, they purchased a $25,000 life insurance policy on Carol’s life in 1989.
The couple, both 71, moved several times over the years, and each time, they informed the insurer of the move. The insurer simply changed their address for future billing purposes.
But their last move caused a problem.
The couple was renting in Princeton in 2014 while a new home was being built in Skillman.
“I paid the bill in May of 2014 and notified the company of our new address beginning in 2015,” Joseph Calamoneri said.
At that time, he said, the company that had the policy, Conseco of Carmel, Indiana, began to outsource their processing to a company called AllianceOne.*
In June 2015, Calamoneri realized the couple hadn’t received the new annual bill to their new address, so he called the company, he said.
“I was told I had not responded to their mailings to my rental property,” he said. “I found that hard to believe.”
He said he was told he needed to apply for reinstatement for the policy, which was considered lapsed for non-payment.
The company would mail the paperwork, Calamoneri said.
“I was told to fax it in and I could send in an estimated payment to AllianceOne in Nashville, Tenn.,” Calamoneri said. “I spoke with a lady named Tonnica. I sent a check for $250 to the AllianceOne address and noted the Conseco policy number in the comment section of the check.”
It was mailed to the couple’s former address in Princeton, but it was forwarded by the post office to their new home.
As instructed, Calamoneri said, he faxed the reinstatement paperwork on June 29. Then on July 16, he mailed the check, and it was cashed on July 20, records show.
Hearing nothing further, the couple figured all was well.
They were wrong.
This year on March 31, Calamoneri called the company because again they didn’t receive the bills for 2016.
“I spoke with Amy and she could not find the policy number but was going to refer this to ‘research,'” he said. “I called on April 4 and spoke with Joclyn. She found the policy and was going to refer this to ‘research.'”
The next several months were nothing but a runaround, according to Calamoneri.
We’d say it’s an awful customer service experience when you have to talk to 11 reps, but you still can’t get a problem solved — even when you have written evidence to support your case.
THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE
On May 27, Calamoneri spoke to Joel in Texas, who sent him to DeSharla, he said. She found the payment.
He called again on June 13 and spoke to Joyce in Nashville, who said she would activate the account and send it to “research,” Calamoneri said.
He called again on June 20, when Danielle said the policy was in “research.”
On July 5, Calamoneri spoke to Emmett, who reported the check had not been applied to the policy, Calamoneri said.
“He also told me the current cost of insurance should be $341.88 for this year,” Calamoneri said. “I offered to send in $360 towards my account.”
Emmett promised to bring the account to a “Lead CSR,” or corporate social responsibility officer, and Emmett would call back, Calamoneri said he was told.
By the end of the day, no one had called, so Calamoneri did, this time speaking to Kini, who said someone would call him back.
But again, no calls back.
So on July 7, Calamoneri called, this time speaking to Riley in Texas, who transferred him Joyce in Nashville.
She said she was sending it all to Conseco, Calamoneri said.
On July 11, Joyce called to say Conseco was asking him again to file for reinstatement.
Calamoneri thought this made no sense because he already did that paperwork, so called again and spoke to Michelle in Dallas.
“She found all of the notes in my file and forwarded my request to speak with Joyce,” he said. “Joyce emailed her that she would get back to me in 20 minutes. That did not happen.”
So he called back at the end of the day and spoke to Stacy in Nashville, who said she would forward the case to a “Senior CSR.”
He was then connected to Kim, he said.
“We reviewed the entire history of the past two years. She wondered why I sent the check to Nashville,” Calamoneri said. “I told her I did what was requested. She informed me they did not work for AllianceOne and they were all contract workers.”
Again, Calamoneri was told to file for reinstatement, he said.
“I’d had it and I refused,” he said, noting he threatened to go to state authorities and Bamboozled.
Kim asked, he said, how Calamoneri got all the names of the people from the company. He reminded her that company reps all answered the phone with their names. He simply took notes. The call ended.
Then Joyce called again on July 13, Calamoneri said, asking what he planned to do. He said he repeated what he told Kim, and Joyce said the company was going to return his $250.
That’s when he reached out to Bamboozled.
REINSTATEMENT AT LAST
We reviewed Calamoneri’s timeline of events, the reinstatement application, other paperwork from the policy and a copy of the cancelled check.
Then we reached out to Conseco.
It said we’d need to speak to AllianceOne.
We sent several email messages and left several voice mails, and no one responded.
But Calamoneri did get a call from Nashville.
“Randy Greenwood is going through the files and will reinstate the coverage,” Calamoneri said. “They will absorb the cost difference from 2015-16 and tell us in writing what we will owe and when. You apparently did the job.”
We were glad to hear it, and we reached out to AllianceOne again to give it an opportunity to comment on the case.
No one responded.
Carol Calamoneri said she’s tired of seeing people of her generation be disregarded or pushed aside.
“We are sorry for the people our age that don’t feel they have a voice and have been ‘Bamboozled’ by not speaking up or fighting back,” she said. “For some people of middle class, this insurance policy that they paid their whole lifetime into could be their only insurance and it would be lost.”
We’re always glad to help.
*This story originally said the AllianceOne hired by the insurance company was a debt collector. The debt collection company of that name is not the AllianceOne working with the insurance company. We have been unable to determine which company of that name is working with the insurance company.
Have you been Bamboozled? Reach Karin Price Mueller atBamboozled@NJAdvanceMedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @KPMueller. FindBamboozled on Facebook. Mueller is also the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Stay informed and sign up for NJMoneyHelp.com’s weekly e-newsletter.