Volume of Calls Caused Problems

We are writing in response to a "Letter to the Editor" from Ray Boston, published in the April 26 Los Angeles Times, Valley Business section, concerning his dissatisfaction with telephone service at 20th Century Insurance.

We appreciate Mr. Boston's comments and apologize for his inconvenience. We certainly agree that the level of phone service at 20th Century following the Northridge Earthquake was, at times, below our standards.

In addition to the regular volume of automobile and homeowner claims, we received 40,000 earthquake-related claims in the first few weeks following the earthquake. (By comparison, total homeowner claims of all kinds in 1993 totaled only 28,000). Handling this tremendous volume of incoming calls was complicated by the fact that our headquarters building and several area field offices were damaged by the earthquake. Although our activities have returned to normal, the total number of calls received by our company continues at a greatly increased pace.

Over the last two months, we have dedicated all of our resources to taking care of these claims. Because of these efforts, about three-quarters of the 40,000 earthquake-related claims reported have been concluded.

We know it has been a very difficult and trying time for everyone affected. We have 2,500 employees working hard and smart to get these earthquake issues resolved and conduct business at proper service levels.

RICK DINON

Senior Vice President, 20th Century Insurance Co.

Woodland Hills

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