Many of you are familiar with the provisions of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) that lets you get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus each year. You should be aware, however, that the credit reporting agencies aren't the only ones keeping tabs on you. If you have property insurance, you're going to show up on something called a C.L.U.E. report.
C.L.U.E. stands for the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, a database of consumer claim information provided by insurers and maintained by ChoicePoint, a data aggregation firm. The database contains policy information (name, DOB, policy number), claim information (date of loss, type of loss, and amount paid, if any), and a description of the covered property. Thus a history of claims for your home and automobile is available on the data base.
Who can get to it?
Any insurer who is a contributing member to the database has access to the information. This means the company you are shopping to has access to your claims history with your existing carrier.
How long is the information kept?
The database contains up to 5 years of claims history.
What should I be doing as a consumer?
- Be honest: Don't be tempted to fudge a question about your past history on an application. In addition to being sleazy and fraudulent, you will most likely get caught and that could leave you without coverage if there is a legitimate claim in the future.
- Zip your lip: Are you calling your agent to see if it's worth your while to file a claim? Well, as far as the insurance company is concerned you just did. Whether you decide to pursue a claim or not, that contact is now part of your history and can find its way into the data base. Part of this is due to the fact that if an insurer knows of a loss, they must take certain actions within a specific timeframe. Just remember, the agent works for the insurer, not you.
- Know what's in your report: Like your credit report, you are entitled to a copy of your CLUE report annually. To get one, use the contact info below. If there's an error, ChoicePoint is obligated to work with you and the reporting insurer to resolve the issue. In addition, the consumer is allowed to add notations to their individual reports.
On the web: http://www.choicetrust.com/
By phone: 866.527.2600
ChoicePoint Consumer Disclosure
P.O. Box 10510
Atlanta, GA 30348-5108