My adds were always in column alphabetical listing (C), which I was usually close to the top and supplemented my add with bold and or larger 1HS to 2HS ads to be noticed. HIBU's sales team made recommendations to a competing advertiser to jump the listing (a/k/a "heading jumping") by suggesting that he advertise his (M) listed company by (using an unlicensed name) starting with (A).
When I contacted HIBU to advise them that not only was the advertiser violating serious insurance laws & regulations by using an unapproved and unregistered name with the NYS-DOS Division of Corporations and more seriously the NYS-DFS, Department of Financial Services Banking & Insurance divisions, but that it also violated HUBU's published "Code of Ethics" by NOT treating its advertisers fairly and equally.
HIBU's Code of Ethics QUOTE:" You need to apply our advertising rules equally and fairly to all advertisers. Do not unlawfully discriminate between individual advertisers or single out advertisers from any specific group for special treatment. Safeguard our customers’ advertising information. You should not discuss details of customers’ proposed or actual advertising with any other customer. Documents created as part of your interaction with customers will be respectful
and a true record of your communication with them." END QUOTE.
You can find this info under their code of ethics at:
In my case according the advertiser who jumped the heading for most of the county (I did not advertise in community) books I was in, he advised me in a recorded statement that the HIBU sales rep encouraged him to jump the heading and then advised him how to jump the heading to get in front of his competition.
In my experience, when you receive from a fire or water damaged claimant and you show up immediately with evidence of your solid reputation and claims experience, your chances of retaining the client is in the high 90 percentile, which first call first visit usually gets the job.
What my competitor didn't know until very recently is that the advice that he followed was a serious violation of NYS insurance law, which is punishable to this day. After several years of complaining to HIBU and refusing to pay for my adds the "Heading Jumper" finally returned to advertising with HIBU using his legal name in the (M) in-column position. If he wanted to pursue a (A) listing all my competitor had to do was follow NYS laws by first obtain written approval from the NYS-DFS to use the name, then register the name with the NYS-DOS and finally, provide the registration to the NYS-DFS, however, for some reason he never did so, maybe for fear of opening a can of worms.
Although HIBU was aware of the unlawful activity for years they kept me at bay with promises to contact my the Jumpers sales person in order to resolve the issue, however, each month or so a new publication in a different county was printed with the illegal name appearing in the (A) section of the in-column adds.
As an insurance adjuster representing policyholders, reporting this individual to the NYS Department of Financial Services could cause him penalties from $500.00 - $2,500.00 per book, per add possibly exposing him to a further investigation reviling many more web adds with his unregistered name. NYS-DFS disciplinary publications show that many adjusters and brokers and even insurance companies have been heavily fined and or had their licences to operate in NYS suspended and or revoked for using un-approved names.
As a sole owner operator I would surely be black balled by the members of the two major insurance associations for filing a formal complaint against my competition, which would no doubt cause retaliation in this male dominated (97%) industry of "PUBLIC ADJUSTING. It just wouldn't be worth the trouble. FYI, there are many female adjusters representing insurance carriers, however, very few representing policyholders.
For those that don't know, the NYS-DFS will not open a anonymous CSB filing unless they have a verifiable complainant (name and contact information) and the object was not to hurt my competitor, rather to hold the advertiser responsible to control its sales persons as I was paying them to follow their own rules and published ethical standards.
HIBU should have acted ethically by quietly approaching their advertiser as I requested, however, requests to HIBU's executive offices of illegal and unethical activity fell on deaf ears possibly because my competitor had a much larger annual billing than I as he also advertised in many community books.
As a result of HIBU's inaction I refused to pay their billing and in 2013 HIBU commence suite for 12K which I am defending with counsel and counter claims. My documentation is voluminous and I hope a jury will vindicate me so that I can publish the case on line for others to see.
So Much For HIBU's Code of Ethic's, which by the way is littered with warnings (to their employees, vendors and other parties of interest) not to engage in favoritism, non disclosure of client info, bribery, verbal & physical abuse, discrimination, unethical behavior, false or malicious allegations, matters concerning alcohol and other substances, harassment and intimidation, and the list goes on.
What kind of show do these people at HUBI run if their main focus of their "Code" is not to be a bad person. Their "Code" is a must read for all. Maybe my industry is not as as rough as I thought compared to the advertising industry.
CASE INFO: NYS Nassau Supreme Index No.: 01309-13. Initially filed in Nassau Supreme Court and now being transferred to Nassau County Court because of its small size and handled by 2 large law firms, one in Nassau NY for their breach action and the other in Washington, DC for my counter claims . I have several defenses including but not limited to serious contractual discrepancies. If there are any others advertisers who had similar issues please contact me at email@example.com. (NOT GMAIL) Thanks to all, Josephine.
Reason of review: HIBU - Dishonest Acts & Practices.
Monetary Loss: $9999.
Preferred solution: 1. Stipulate to discontinue collection action. 2. Pay my attorney defense fees..