Tower Group Insurance Review
Tower Group is an insurance company offering limited personal and commercial insurance policies, all through a list of subsidiaries across the nation. Recent mergers have given the company a renewed position of financial strength.
Tower was founded in 1990 in New York. and expanded to offer their personal lines policies in Massachusetts and New Jersey. Through acquisitions over the years they expanded to cover California, and a few additional states.
The Group writes commercial insurance as well, and was ranked as the 15th largest Worker’s Compensation provider in California in 2014.
In the past few years, Tower has encountered serious financial problems leading to the sale of the renewal rights to their personal lines insurance to National General. and of their commercial renewal rights to AmTrust Financial. The deal also included a merger with Bermuda-based reinsurer ACP Re Ltd. These deals placed Tower’s companies back on a solid financial standing.
Tower writes auto and home insurance for individuals, as well as a wide range of commercial products for select businesses. Policies are sold through independent agents in their service areas.
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Tower offers basic personal insurance and a much longer list of options for businesses. In general, information about the products is very limited, with little detail in terms of coverage, discounts, or any other policy information.
According to the website, car insurance is available for drivers of varying levels of experience, as well as with different driving records. This seems to indicate that they may accept non-standard drivers up to a certain level.
Policies offer all of the basics as well as additional options, such as:
The website offers no list of discounts, but states that they are available.
Tower writes home insurance coverage for a variety of different home types. This includes standard single-family detached homes, condos, and multi-family residences.
Coverage includes replacement cost for the structures as well as personal property. liability, and additional coverage. Each coverage is tailored to the specific type of dwelling.
Tower also offers renter’s insurance to cover personal property and liability without the structure coverage.
Tower provides a bundled package policy that combines auto and home tougher on one bill.
The Custom Pac policy includes single single-limit coverage for property and structures and higher limits for high value items on the home insurance side. The auto coverage adds all of the available options listed above as part of the package deal.
Tower also offers umbrella insurance for extra liability.
Tower offers a full range of commercial insurance products for small to medium sized businesses. Coverage varies by state.
- Commercial Package Policies – these include property and liability in one for retail and similar businesses
- Business Owners Policies – similar in terms of coverage, but tailored to different business classes
- Landlord Package Policies
- Worker’s Compensation
- General Liability
- Commercial Auto
- Commercial Umbrella
Tower doesn’t have any option for online quoting, and only provides coverage through agents. This makes it difficult to obtain quick quote comparisons.
Tower’s recent financial troubles and position as a regional, agent-driven company make them unlikely to be competitive in terms of pricing. This is particularly likely when compared to major direct-buy insurance companies like GEICO .
The Custom Pac combination policy likely offers the best possibility of a good rate.
Tower accepts claims reports either through agents or directly by phone: (888) 856-5522 or fax: (888) 291-6262. Worker’s Compensation claims are reported through different means, but the website doesn’t indicate what that is.
There is very little information regarding how claims are processed. It is likely that they follow a standard procedure; an adjuster is assigned and then investigates the claim. Once coverage is confirmed and the investigation complete, the claim is paid out in accordance with the policy terms.
Policyholders can follow up on claims via a different phone number, directly with the adjuster or through a claims follow-up line. Agents can also assist with claims.
Consumer Research and Complaints
Tower Insurance Group has an A+ rating with the BBB, and has a total of 30 complaints in the past three years. Only seven of those complaints were in the past year. Tower isn’t a big company, so we wouldn’t expect to see a large number of complaints, and this number is on the low side even for a smaller, regional insurer.
There are not a large number of reviews on the Internet. The few that are available are mixed, with some positive, as well as some complaints about slow customer service and poor claims handling. There are several complaints regarding the handling of worker’s compensation claims as well as auto claims.
Most of the financial difficulties Tower has undergone aren’t well known to the average policyholder, but the downgrades in recent years for financial stability is likely to have created some questions. The merger that was completed last year should help Tower regain any confidence they lost as a result of that, but as other companies take over renewal rights we may see a difference in how the company is viewed, both from a financial standpoint and in terms of customer service.
Tower is a regional insurer with a recent history of major financial distress. Although they appear to have been bailed out through mergers, they remain uncertain in terms of stability. They don’t offer much in the way of unique products, with the exception of the possibly interesting home and auto package, a product whose value is difficult to determine due to lack of information and quotes. Most people in search of home and auto are likely to find better rates and more comprehensive service elsewhere.
Tower may be worth investigating for businesses, particularly since the recent mergers have given the company an even stronger position in the California Worker’s Compensation market. Overall, however, it is difficult to recommend Tower to the general consumer.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.
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About Eric Stauffer
I am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.
This company does not like to
payout claims they try to find any to avoid payment. The worst experience i ever had with insurance company, in the process of contacting a lawyer ,6 months and cant get a claim yet they gladly collect for new policy. The worst experience ever so stressful
When we first bought our home, we had the insurance being paid as part of our mortgage that came out automatically. Being in the military, we ended up having to move rather quickly and were lucky enough to have close friends become out tenants. Like several houses in the neighborhood, our house ended having a foundation leak. Being first time home owners, I called the claims department and was told they would have to investigate because we no longer occupied the house. I explained to them I didn’t know I was supposed to tell them we moved. I take responsibility for that. They told me to move on with the fixing process and they will get back to me. It was like pulling teeth trying to get a hold of them, numerous e-mails and messages were left for weeks. In the end they paid none of it. I couldn’t understand since it was an honest mistake on my part, BUT this was a structural issue with the home and would have happened in a matter of time. We were with Tower for 5 years. What made me the maddest was the knew they would deny the claim, it should have told me from the start before I hired only the best qualified people to work on it. I cancelled with them, Februaury 21, 2015. I was waiting for the refund check to be sent to me so I can put it back in escrow. It was taking a very long time, I called about it several times. Guess where they sent the check- the old house, the very reason why the denied the claim- are you kidding me. They had no problem sending the denial of coverage to our new house. They said they reissued a check again on March 19, I finally got it, with the post dated mark of March 25 (not the 19 like they said). My tenant (friend) never got the “first check they said they sent” I find them dishonest with HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE. The whole process was mentally painful to go through. CHOOSE SOMEONE ELSE. (During this, the company’s name has changed)
I have home & auto insurance through Tower (though not for long). My daughters 2003 GMC Envoy had an under dash fire that rendered the truck useless. The adjuster who came to view the vehicle told me that it was a mechanical problem and not covered.
Now my daughter has no vehicle, a loan for the truck that she is still paying on.
Problem # 2 occurred with my house insurance. For a whole year my mortgage company was sending the insurance payment to my old insurer. Tower never tried to contact me or the broker saying they weren’t getting paid! I finally got an notice from them saying your insurance will go away if you don’t pay the entire amount at once!
And their customer service is the absolute worst!
As a contractor working in the disaster repair arena for over 31 years, I have worked with most insurance carriers that provide policies in Northern California. Without a doubt, Tower Select is one of the most reasonable insurance carriers on the market today. Their claims representatives are friendly and knowledgeable, as well as extremely fair in their claims settlement practices. In an environment where many carriers are looking for ways to deny or under-pay claims, Tower Select is truly a breath of fresh air.
Flinda Fine says
I had minimal damage to our roof connected to the Sandy Hurricane that lessened by the time it reached MA.
The local insurance co. was fine but Tower Group are the ones who evaluated the situation. I didn’t mind communicating via emails. The lady who came to evaluate the damgage was abrupt with me & seemed irritated that I asked her anything. She told me she would get back to me in 2 weeks which she didn’t. I had to get other people to finally get some action after several weeks. Then she got the deductible wrong. What was worse was that I only received $1400 yet my home insurance increased over $325 for the next year & it covered less liability to the tune of about $30K less. I have questioned their rate hikes before without any claim at the same time home values have decreased. When I made the claim they valued the house a lot lower than when it was time to renew the local company said they would value it more. This sounds like a profitable game for them.
In all honesty I think consumers need to be more involved & start talking to other companies when such things happen. I have gotten a much better rate with GEICO but will speak to someone about our car insurance rising from one minor fender bender. The helpful GEICO home insurance guy kept repeating that G could do better if I found that TG tried to lower their rates. So folks play the game & save. It’s worth the phone call.
Kimberly Vaughn says
I had a claim through tower group in Nov 2012, as my car was hit and totalled while it was parked by someone insured though them. I had spend $1700 in repairs just 4 days before it was totaled, and the first thing the adjuster told me is that they didn’t go by the Kelly blue book value. So they PRE-APPROVED my rental car which I only kept for 4 days and drove 19 miles. Hertz also told me it was PRE-APPROVED. 6 weeks later I finally get my check for my car. I have been getting bills from Hertz for 6 months so I called Tower and was assured the bill would be paid. Now Hertz collections dept is harassing me by phone, and I called tower group yesterday and today and they still have not returned my call. I explained in both messages that I need PROOF that they paid the bill with Hertz. This really stinks especially since I could have kept the rental car for the whole 6 weeks until I received my insurance check, but I was being NICE and returned it within 4 days.
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