This post is an update that we received from Suzie Jone who maintains her view that

One Call canceled her car insurance because she is Deaf

despite being a driver of 30 years experience without any accidents.

Suzie is now in direct contact with their Marketing Department to resolve the issue.

One Call responded back to Suzie via the blog post to write (13 July 2011):

“One Call Insurance has been operating since 1995 and we have never refused cover to anyone because of a disability or to anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing.

While we are familiar with and welcome customers who use the Text Relay service, in our 16 years of business we have never been approached with the request for a text breakdown service. From your enquiry, this is something that we are now looking into.

The initial quote details confirmed that the named driver on the policy was not in employment due to disability therefore we could not place cover until the full details were verified. Due to this we do not accept your claims that cover was refused because you are deaf.

The recorded delivery letter dated 7th July 2011 was requesting more information for the named driver and asking for you to contact us immediately to arrange cover.”

Suzie maintains her request for a SMS number for breakdown cover (offered free as part of the package) is the real reason and the letter dated 7th July she read as informing her that the policy was cancelled.

The DVLA do not need to be told that you are Deaf as part of license conditions however car insurance companies request this information as a ‘medical condition’. Many Deaf people describe themselves as a linguistic minority. For them being Deaf is not a medical condition.

Far from being ‘unemployed due to disability’ as they state in their reply above, Suzie runs Suzie Jones Consultancy –  specialising in Disability and Deaf Awareness training and had advised them she was self employed.

Suzie has copied us into her correspondance with One Call Insurance via email and has told them:

Please can you, either: find me insurance where there is access to breakdown via sms (The AA and RAC and Green flag do it) for a price I was quoted on the website, that I paid for in full and access to communicate via email (it will also help you gain deaf customers) or refund my money in full directly to my bank account.

Unless Suzie receives a refund (6 days after it ‘was cancelled’) she cannot renew it which is due to run out on 17th July).

She ends by saying:

If you would like us to help you in auditing your procedures and train your staff in deaf awareness to ensure this doesn’t happen again, I am sure we would be more than happy to work with you to sort it.

We hope they do take up her offer…

At the heart of it all is a simple request for breakdown cover that offers an SMS number for a Deaf customer to make direct contact

The TextRelay service enables connects people using a textphone with people using a telephone or another textphone. It lets deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired people stay in touch with friends and family, and call businesses over the telephone.

It will only work using a landline connection to a textphone and electricity point. Hardly possible to cart it around in a car. Isn’t that what mobiles with text, email and web access were invented for?

For anyone familiar with automated call centres they are a nightmare to contact and know what option (number) to press. You have no time to inform the operator which option to press and can result in lost and therefore repeated calls to get through to the right section. It also does not guarantee that the company will accept the call (especially in dealing with confidential information such as banks, Inland Revenue etc).