I am new to the forum but not to UNLOCK. I have been aware of the great work they do since 2005 (whilst in prison). I have a conviction which will never become spent so have used the UNLOCK website to gain access to valuable information since my release in 2007, mainly around Consumer Insurance. I was sentenced in 1999 and spent 8 years behind a door, long enough to dwell on doing wrong and enough time to rehabilitate myself (in the eyes of the law and Society as a whole) I was sentenced for "Being Knowingly Concerned in the Importation of a Class A Drug", a crime which carries a significant sentence, consisting of 2 counts resulting in a combined sentence total of 24 years (although to run concurrent, resulting in a 16 years sentence).
OK, so the reason I have explained my conviction is for 2 reasons: firstly) to see if anyone reading this has ever heard of that charge and secondly) to demonstrate that by asking the first part of this question strengthens my case (and that is) this is not a well-known charge and most Insurance companies (or should say brokers) do not even know what it is. So when declaring my conviction, I have to go into a lot of detail for them to understand what the conviction is. If this is such an unknown conviction and as far as Insurance Brokers keep telling me, this conviction will have NO direct impact on my insurance, as it’s not for Fraud, Theft or any of the more dishonest convictions (not my words) which do have a significant impact on the cost of a policy.
So the reason why I have decided to post after such a long time of knowing who UNLOCK is and not actually posting before is because I am getting extremely tired of being lied to by Insurance companies and brokers and mostly because I am really disheartened with being discriminated against because of a crime committed more than 14 years ago, when I have served a sentenced which was imposed to rehabilitate me (which I believe I am, as I now have a full time job, own my own home and live a life as a law abiding citizen) and because although UNLOCK offer a great service, advising ex-prisoners and people with convictions, they are just one voice and I want to make an individual stand against discrimination towards people with Unspent Convictions.
I am taking a complaint to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Financial Ombudsman and also Parliament (if possible). I have read a number of documents, including one from the ABI (Association of British Insurers) that have left me feeling extremely perplexed because it seems certain guidelines are laid down but not adhered to by most Insurance Companies, when giving convicted people a fair shot at financial services.
My aim is to get as much support, advice and most of all experience from similar minded people using this website. So I would be very interested in hearing what experience you have had when trying to get insurance. I am going to outline my own experience below when getting quotes if you are running against similar situation, please do let me know and also let me know what you have done to combat your unfair treatment but also, if possible, let me know what I am missing or where I am going wrong.
I have been told from all Brokers, (Adrian Flux, SIS, Bewise to name a few) which I have used, that my particular conviction will hot have a direct impact on my insurance for the reasons outlined above, it is not seen as a conviction to drive up my risk. I have been told that my policy will not be inflated under the particular schemes they are using and my insurance should cost the same, as if I had no conviction to declare. However, this is not the case my policies are around 100% more than if I were not to have a conviction. To put this into some perspective, I was recently quoted through SIS, using AXA as the underwriter £691.72 (declaring my conviction) but only quoted direct from the AXA 371.98 (not declaring my conviction), this is 85% more than anyone else would expect to pay in the same situation as me but without a conviction. I was told by SIS that this only included a £25 administration fee and the scheme they were using offered by AXA was 0% loaded, meaning I should get the same as anyone else. When i explained to them how much more it was, they never had an answer and said it was outrageous. Last year, for the same circumstances my cheapest quote was £845. Over 200% what it would cost someone without a conviction. AXA, will not deal direct with people with Unspent Convictions but will underwrite insurance through Brokers (am i missing something here?).
So my questions are,
Although we are told by the guidelines from ABI, insurance companies must offer fair quotes, are we really being treated fairly?
Are these schemes, inflated schemes which we cannot do anything about and have to deal with the raw end of the stick for the rest of our lives?
Are there any Insurance companies who will offer a fair comparison if they see that your conviction is not high risk?
Do we have any voice; are there any governing bodies which we can take this to other than FCA or Financial Ombudsman?
As anyone, attempted to take their situation any further who can give me some support and guidance?
Thanks for your time in reading my long post.