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#310898 Dive/Photo equipment insurance revisited?

Posted by theoceanblue1 on 11 June 2012 - 03:51 PM in The Galley: General Chat

This really should be moved to the related thread in the General forum....http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=46469

I'd be happy to move it, but I can't. How do I get it moved?

Sorry if I posted in the incorrect place.

#310391 Dive/Photo equipment insurance revisited?

Posted by theoceanblue1 on 04 June 2012 - 04:49 PM in The Galley: General Chat

Received a long e-mail from Depp today. Yes they are in business. Said they sent a copy of the e-mail to Undercurrent so look for a more in-depth summation of what is going on.

DO NOT USE AWRY/DEPP to insure your camera. They are a complete and utter scam company. Use anyone else.

My experience with D.E.P.P., AWRY Inc and IPG Insurance has been nothing short of a disaster. The following email pretty much sums up what's been going on with it; it's an email exchange between me and Deane Lermitt, CEO of IPG Insurance (who claims that DEPPAWRY are only a customer and that she has nothing to do with them, but her sister works there):

P.S. You should note, that despite the date of February 9th in this email, my camera has still not been replaced, and here it is June. Do yourselves a huge favor, go elsewhere for your equipment insurance.


From: Michael <michael
Date: February 9, 2012 10:58:58 AM EST
To: Deane Lehrmitt <DWL@IPGInsurance.com>

That's not the issue here, which is why I would like to speak to you on the phone, but here I am and I have to spell this all out so you'll understand where I'm coming from (and it's not just me, apparently, as a quick search on the internet reveals).

I have put myself in your position. I fully understand that you need to determine what happened to this camera so you can make sure that the claim is settled properly. That's not at issue. What is at issue is how your company does business.

Now, do me the opposite favor, and put yourself in my position. Your organization, which is a customer service business, does not service customers in a way that would reflect the customer service nature of the business.

Here is how I see what happened and where you all dropped the ball (and not Canon, by any means):

1. I wrote several times in December and into January asking what the steps for starting the claim process was. I received no answer.
2. I called several times in December and into January and left messages. No one returned my calls, and in fact, no one has ever returned my calls for any messages I have left (the voicemail says you will return a call after you leave a message and it never happens).
3. When I finally did get an answer by email weeks later in January, after numerous emails and calls, the answer was "Send the camera to Canon." You indicated in a previous email that you don't understand why this might be a confusing instruction. I'm a person who has never filed a claim before. Canon is a large company with a million divisions. What I was trying to get across is that the instruction "Send it to Canon" is completely ambiguous. Who do I send it to at Canon? I asked that question in my return email to Dixie, but she never answered. It didn't even occur to me that I could send a waterlogged and completely dead camera to Canon for them to do anything with but throw in the garbage, let alone that they are part of the insurance claim process. In my mind, I send it to you, as your website states, "All damaged equipment must be sent to a DEPP authorized facility for verification of damage. Failure to abide by these guidelines may jeopardize the authorization of this claim." To me that means I send it to you and you have some repair facility that you send it to for evaluation. This process needs to be spelled out for people so they understand the who, what, where, when, how and why of the claim process. Responding "Send it to Canon" means nothing.
4. I finally figured out by going to the Canon website, making a phone call, speaking to several different people and spending an hour of time, that the only possibility was to send it to Canon's consumer products repair facility for evaluation. All of this happened without any word from you all that this was the correct process, and quite frankly it could have been the wrong thing to do and I would have no way of knowing because you don't answer emails or return calls.

I've put myself in your position, and I think you would agree from what I wrote at the beginning of this email that I understand your side of this. Now do the same for me. How do you feel when you call a company that you bought something from and no one is ever there to answer the phone? Would you like it? It seems to me as a customer facing business, you might actually not want to have a phone line that goes straight to voicemail every single time during business hours, am I right? You need to give your customers the opportunity to speak with you to clarify things. If you need to then confirm in writing by email thereafter, so be it. However, going to voicemail over and over again is not a good customer experience, wouldn't you agree? Would you also agree that not getting my phone calls ever returned or waiting weeks for a response by email is also not a good customer experience? Dixie rarely, if ever, answers her emails. If she does, it takes weeks. She didn't even answer you when you cc'd her on the emails that were to all three of us, and that was days ago. I'm assuming that you're related since you have the same last name. I would also assume that you speak on some regular basis since you're in the same company, am I correct? Why should any customer have to wait weeks for a response?

So, again, here it is the 9th hour. I sent my camera in to Canon, fortunately to the right place, despite no help and direction from you at all, and you didn't like the answer you got back from Canon. Fine, however Canon is not who dropped the ball, you are. Canon did what they did in the space of three days, including return shipping. You took the better part of two months. If I had sent my camera to Canon in December when I first started this process, if I'd had some direction and help from you from the outset, we could have gotten some clarification from Canon more than a month earlier as to why the same date was on the repair invoice twice, and we would be done by now. The likelihood is that it's some sort of clerical error that could be fixed. They're not manipulating the process for any reason. They made a mistake. They have no dog in this fight. Either someone pays them to make a repair or not; they don't care either way. The camera was shipped back to me with a modified repair invoice saying that the camera was not fixable, which I scanned and sent to Dixie, yet again with no response. I still haven't heard from her.

You're right, you and I are not qualified to determine whether or not it's fixable. However, have you ever dropped a piece of electronic equipment in the ocean? Which side of the handicap would you like to be on as far as whether or not that camera is ever going to turn on again? The camera is dead. It was submerged in sea water at 80 feet. It's never turning on again. I understand, what you need is official confirmation from someone qualified saying so, however, when it does come back as unfixable from Canon, it should be a surprise to no one, no matter what the date issue is. But fine, you need that clarified, call Canon and in five minutes, they'll say exactly what I told you: that they put an initial estimate on the repair when it arrived, which they qualified by saying that it is possible the price of repair would be different depending what they find when they do a full evaluation. They opened it, they saw it had been immersed in sea water and made the completely understandable determination that it was a complete loss and couldn't be repaired. They sent it back to me with an invoice stating that it was a compete loss. Again, soup to nuts, that transaction happened in three days.

The greater point here is this, I'm a customer, you're a customer service company, and your company has completely dropped the ball on customer service. We wouldn't even be having this discussion if someone at your company (which seems to be very small) had answered my emails or returned my phone calls in a timely fashion and with useful information.

Are you aware of what the word on the street is about your company? Here's just a little bit:


On Scubaboard there are tons of posts of the same ilk about you. You have a reputation for this, and if I were you, I'd take that pretty seriously. You have competition and they actually have a decent reputation. If you want to stay in business, you need to serve your customers. Why did it take you more than a year to ask me about my instructional gear? When I bought the policy back then, why did the fact that I had ten identical sets of gear not set off any alarm bells at that time? Don't you guys look and see what's being insured at the time it is insured? Now I've paid for a product that wasn't what I thought it was. How would you feel in that situation? I feel as if I threw money away, wouldn't you?

I'd like to sign off by saying that I appreciate that you respond to my emails, unlike anyone else in that company, but you're inches away from losing me as a customer. In my view you have to do whatever you need to do not to lose me, unless, of course, you don't care, which is entirely possible, given the level of customer service I've received to this point, including having to write ridiculously long emails illustrating how your company is failing me and apparently lots of others. If you're in an insurance business, a business that people use to get peace of mind about their very expensive equipment, it seems to me that you don't want to make people nervous or wonder if you're fly-by-night or going out of business by not returning phone calls or emails for weeks and weeks at a time, wouldn't you say? Emails about consolidation don't give comfort either, I should add.

Nothing that I'm asking for is unreasonable, given how lacking your service has been to this point. If you need me to send the camera in, you should have told me that days ago. You'd have it by now, but really all of this should have happened in December, and now I'm leaving in a week and a half and am having to lay out money for a new camera that I don't really have because you can't get it together. How do you think I'm feeling about D.E.P.P. at the moment? How would YOU feel under the same circumstances?

I'm asking that you do whatever is necessary to expedite this. I'm also suggesting that you take a long, hard look at the way your company does business and make some changes, because this is no way to run one and have any sort of success.

Please let me know how this is going to get resolved as soon as possible.

Thank you,


On Feb 9, 2012, at 7:06 AM, Deane Lehrmitt wrote:

Mr. Feld: I would like to speak with you, however I doubt it would resolve the matter. Further, whenever there is a claim situation that involves any form of dispute, I really prefer to have the communications in writing, via email. The spoken word is open to subjective interpretation, while the written word is more objective and factual based. Our claim handling is audited by the carrier, so documentation is the key to the process.

Please place yourself in our position. We can only make our determination based upon the documents and facts placed before us. We have two (2) documents from the same source that contradict one another. One (1) states that the manufacturer examined the camera and provides a definitive repair cost on which your claim was authorized. The second then says the item is now BER. By all rights, we should pay you for the estimated repair cost on which your claim was authorized and close this matter. However, in our attempt to do the "right thing", we will investigate this matter further and if a replacement is indeed required, we will fulfill that obligation.

I am very sorry to cause you any inconvenience, however in our attempt to do what is right for our customer, we must clarify the extent of the damage, given the contradictory determinations we received from Canon.

Sincerely: Deane Lehrmitt
-----Original Message-----
From: Michael
Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:32 PM
To: Deane Lehrmitt


There's a serious disconnect here. I would appreciate the opportunity to have five minutes of your time on the phone to discuss this with you so we can get this cleared up. Could you please send me the best number to reach at and a good time to call?



On Feb 8, 2012, at 8:05 PM, Deane Lehrmitt wrote:

Mr. Feld: Please see m responses below. They will be in BLUE, in UPPER CASE, in parentheses, beginning with (DWL:)

Sincerely: Deane Lehrmitt
-----Original Message-----
From: Michael
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 12:32 PM
To: Deane Lehrmitt
Cc: dixie@awryinc.com
Importance: High


The statements were not from the same day. They updated the same statement. (DWL: RESPECTFULLY, THEY ARE TWO [2] SEPARATE DOCUMENTS, EACH DATED THE SAME DAY.) They happened several days apart. The point here is that all of this can and should be resolved on your part with one five minute call to Canon. (DWL: YOU ARE CASTING YOUR FRUSTRATIONS AT US, WHEN IN FACT, THE CONFUSION, IF THERE IS ANY, IS THE RESULT OF CONFLICTING INFORMATION PROVIDED BY CANON. I HAVE ASKED OUR CARRIER IF WE SHOULD HAVE THE CAMERA SHIPPED TO US AND WE WOULD THEN HAVE IT INSPECTED BY AN INDEPENDENT REPAIR FACILITY. I AM AWAITING CONFIRMATION OF THIS POSSIBILITY). What happened was the camera arrived and was initially assessed without really being examined and was given a standard repair price. (DWL: IT STATES THAT CANON HAS INDEED EXAMINED THE CAMERA AND HAS PROVIDED A DOCUMENTED ESTIMATE OF REPAIR. EITHER THEY LOOKED AT THE CAMERA AND PROVIDED US WITH THE PROPER ESTIMATE, OR THEY DID NOT EXAMINE THE ITEM [AS THEY SAID THEY HAD], AND MERELY "GUESS-TIMATED" ITS STATE OF DAMAGE AND REPAIR COST. REGARDLESS, IT IS INCUMBENT UPON US TO CLARIFY THIS MATTER). It says clearly on the invoice that price for repair could change depending what they found when they opened it. As I said to whomever I wrote to weeks and weeks ago (I believe it was Dixie and Sandy and Info@AWRYInc and every email address I had), the camera was submerged in sea water. There is no way it was going to be fixable. (DWL: I UNDERSTAND YOUR SKEPTICISM, HOWEVER I DON'T THINK EITHER YOU, OR US, ARE QUALIFIED TO MAKE THAT DETERMINATION). I wrote this in December when I started this process, and wrote and called, and wrote and called some more without response. I wrote from the very beginning that I was traveling in February and would need to get this resolved and I received no answer. In fact, every single time I've written since, I have stressed the fact that I needed to get this resolved and the response has been not even sporadic but negligible, and at the very best lacking critical information and help that would have enabled me to start the process of getting the camera evaluated much earlier. After numerous emails asking what the process is, I got an answer saying "Send your camera to Canon". What does that mean exactly for someone like me who has never gone through the process before? (DWL: I AM NOT QUITE SURE WHAT YOU MEAN HERE. IT MEANS THAT YOU NEED TO SEND YOUR CAMERA TO THE MANUFACTURER FOR EVALUATION. OBVIOUSLY, THAT MANUFACTURER HAS PROVIDED CONFLICTING INFORMATION MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE TO ADJUDICATE THE CLAIM WITHOUT CLARIFYING THE EXTENT OF THE DAMAGE). I wrote back and asked what that meant and got no response. Does that mean I put the camera in a box and write "To Canon" on it and hand it to Fedex? I had no idea what I was supposed to do, asked several times and received no answer. In fact, I STILL have no answer to those emails. Finally, I had to figure it out for myself because no one helped me. Keep in mind (and I can produce the emails showing you when this whole process started) that this all began in December, two months ago, when again, at that time I made it painfully clear that I would be traveling and needed to get this resolved.

Now, it's the 9th hour, you guys have dropped the ball with me over and over again, and you're telling me that one five minute phone call to Canon that should have happened weeks ago is standing in the way of resolving this before I leave? Unfortunately, that's not acceptable. (DWL: ONCE AGAIN, YOU ARE CASTING YOUR FRUSTRATIONS AT US, WHEN IN FACT, IT IS CANON THAT HAS CAUSED THE DELAYS IN THIS PROCESS). I have paid my bills and fulfilled my obligations. (DWL: AS HAVE WE.) I have also paid insurance for equipment thinking I was insuring it for one thing, not even knowing that I wasn't covered. (DWL: BY YOUR OWN ADMISSION, YOU MADE COVERAGE ASSUMPTIONS. REGRETTABLY, THEY WERE INCORRECT. I WOULD SURMISE YOU DID NOT READ THE POLICY FORM. AS YOU STATE THAT YOU CAN DOCUMENT YOUR EMAIL TRAIL, I CAN LIKEWISE ATTEST TO THE FACT YOU NEVER ASKED FOR CLARIFICATION FROM ME OF ANY TERMS, CONDITIONS, LIMITATIONS, OR DEFINITIONS OF COVERAGE). It is now time for you all to meet your obligations and get this taken care of immediately. I will do whatever I can to help if necessary, but this is no longer on me. (DWL: YOU CONTINUE TO INTIMATE THE BURDEN HERE IS ON US, WHEN THIS ENTIRE MATTER IS THE RESULT OF THE CONFLICTING INFORMATION PROVIDED BY CANON. IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CLARIFY THE EXTENT OF DAMAGE AND THESE CONFLICTING REPORTS FROM CANON). You all need to take care of it, and right away, and I am trusting that you will do it. I run the largest scuba diving club in the country with more than 1,500 members, many of whom ask me who I insure my gear with. What should I tell them? (DWL: MR. FELD, I CANNOT TELL YOU WHAT TO SAY. HOWEVER YOU CAN ATTEST TO THE FACT THAT DEPP ADJUSTS CLAIMS BASED UPON DEFINITIVE FACTS, AND NOT BASED UPON CONJECTURE, ASSUMPTION, AND UNSUBSTANTIATED INFORMATION). That I use a company that never responds to my emails when I need them to? (DWL: PLEASE READ YOUR OWN EMAIL TRAIL TO ME BELOW, WHERE YOU REPEATEDLY THANKED ME FOR RESPONDING PROMPTLY TO YOU. I AM CONFUSED). One who is now telling me that despite proper due diligence on my part is going to let me go on a trip without my video camera because they dropped the ball? (DWL: AGAIN, WE DID NOT DROP THE BALL HERE, MR. FELD. IT WAS CANON THAT PROVIDED US THE CONFLICTING INFORMATION).

I will look forward to hearing that this has been taking care of today. If you need any more information from me, please let me know. The number to call and clarify what happened with my camera is right on that invoice and it can be taken care immediately. Please let me know that it has. (DWL: AS I STATED ABOVE, I SUSPECT WE WILL BE ASKING THAT YOU HAVE THE CAMERA SENT TO US FOR AN INDEPENDENT EVALUATION. I WILL ADVISE AS SOON AS THAT DETERMINATION IS MADE).

Thank you,


On Feb 7, 2012, at 9:09 AM, Deane Lehrmitt wrote:

Mr. Feld: Here is where we are. We have a definitive statement from Canon saying, "We have received your equipment for evaluation and repair. The estimate below is based upon our initial examination. We will begin the necessary repairs upon your approval and receipt of payment." The estimate was for $307.02. Your claim was authorized for that amount. Then you sent us another statement, dated that very same day saying that the camera was damaged beyond economical repair. The question we have is how could a qualified facility such as Canon state, definitively, that the camera could be repaired and supply a definitive repair quotation, and then, on the very same day, state the item was damaged beyond repair?

We are going to have to clarify this conflicting information before we can proceed with your claim. Regrettably, I doubt this matter will be clarified prior to your trip this Saturday. I am sorry for any delay, but we do need to get a complete understanding from Canon before we can proceed.

Sincerely: Deane Lehrmitt
-----Original Message-----
From: Michael
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2012 9:30 PM
To: Deane Lehrmitt
Cc: dixie@awryinc.com


Thanks for writing back so promptly. I completely understand how consolidation might create some delays. I have written to Dixie's address, and I will be more than happy to cc you on any correspondences going forward.

However, what I need to know right here, right now, is if you've received everything you need in order to process my claim. My understanding is you have, but please let me know if that's not the case. I also need to understand the timeline for processing the claim. I am leaving a week from Saturday and I need a camera in hand before that.

Please advise, and thanks.



On Feb 6, 2012, at 7:24 PM, Deane Lehrmitt wrote:

Mr. Feld: Thanks for your directions. We will take off (and confirm) the items you mentioned below.

Sorry you are having difficulties. We are consolidating our west coast office into our headquarters in KY, and no matter how well we try to move things along, some things fall through the cracks. For the future, please contact dixie@awryinc.com, and copy me at dwl@ipginsurance.com. We will take care of any issues you may have. I spoke to Dixie this evening. She acknowledged that she got your VM about 4:00 PM today. For best results, email us your comments/concerns/instructions, being certain to copy me, and we'll get you taken care of.

Thanks for your understanding and patience. Most of all, thanks for your business.


Deane Lehrmitt

PS: Dixie: We need to delete the items Mr. Feld mentions below. Be sure to confirm the items deleted with him. TX, D1

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Feld [mailto:michael]
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2012 9:49 AM
To: Deane Lehrmitt


I'll find out about covering my gear for students. For now let's take it off my policy, thanks. That would be the 10 regulators, octopuses, gauges and BCs all of the same kind. Everything else is my personal gear.

Also, can you please help me; I have been trying to contact the folks at AWRY for two weeks now. I leave messages on the voicemail and get no call back. I have emailed multiple times with no acknowledgement. My camera was flooded in early December; it's covered for flood, I sent it to the manufacturer for evaluation (Canon) who then sent it back as worthless. I provided proof of this (which I can send to you as well, if you'd like). I am leaving on a trip in less than two weeks that I need a camera for and I initiated this process in December right after it happened.

I have found that at every single turn lately (except for your explanations and prompt answers, which I greatly appreciate), the directions of what to do and responsiveness from AWRY have been close to zero. It seems I always have to write multiple emails and call multiple times before getting any answer at all, and often those answers are vague and unhelpful, and now I'm getting none at all. If you could please tell me what to do or who to speak to in order to expedite this, I would appreciate it. I understand that it might take a day to get back to me at times, but this is well beyond any reasonable amount of time and it's been the pattern. I can't keep leaving voicemails and writing emails, so if you would, I'd appreciate some guidance.

Thank you,


On Feb 6, 2012, at 5:53 AM, Deane Lehrmitt wrote:

Mr. Feld: The coverage would not apply to any of YOUR equipment while it is being used by a student. If any loss occurs while the equipment is in the care, custody or control of a student, the coverage would not apply. You asked about a theft from your gear closet at the pool, depending upon the circumstances of the loss, that would be covered under the policy.

Business inventory generally is covered under the property section of a businessowners policy. I am fairly certain you have general and professional liability insurance, and your business inventory could be added to that coverage and you may be eligible to get reduced pricing on both the property and liability coverages if you package both with the same carrier.

I am sorry you may have been misinformed about the extent of the DEPP coverage. Since its inception, DEPP has not been a market for dive equipment rented to, or used by, others. We appreciate your business, but, as you said, we do not want you to pay for coverage that may not apply to your loss exposure.

Hope this helps explain the situation.


Deane Lehrmitt
-----Original Message-----
From: Michael
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2012 5:11 PM
To: Deane Lehrmitt

I think I made it clear to whoever I spoke to last year about this that this was gear being used for instruction, so what you're telling me is, I paid for an entire year for gear that wasn't covered for what I need it covered for? What if the equipment was simply stolen out of my gear closet at the pool?

Please advise. If it's not going to cover me for anything, than there's no sense in paying for it and I'll have to get taken care of some other way.

Let me know and thanks,


On Feb 2, 2012, at 8:06 AM, Deane Lehrmitt wrote:

Mr. Feld: Thanks for your reply. The issue is that the program is not designed to cover loaned or rented equipment. For that matter, equipment owned by you and used by students is specifically excluded from coverage under the policy. I know your enrollment is up for renewal, and I wanted to give you the opportunity to consider this circumstance, as I do not want you to pay for items that will not be covered under the policy in most instances.

FYI, if a student damages your equipment while it is in their care, custody and/or control, they have some coverage for your equipment under Section II-LIABILITY of their homeowners or renters policy, with no deductible applicable.

Please l;et me know how you wish to proceed. Thank you.

Sincerely: Deane Lehrmitt
-----Original Message-----
From: Michael
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 3:28 PM
To: Deane Lehrmitt

Absolutely. I'm an instructor. I believe I told whoever I was corresponding with when I bought the insurance that I use them in the pool for students, so that's really the long and short of it.

Please let me know if you have more questions or if there are issues.



On Jan 25, 2012, at 9:13 AM, Deane Lehrmitt wrote:

Mr. Feld: My name is Deane Lehrmitt. I am the broker for the DEPP Program.
Upon reviewing your enrollment, I notice a number of regulators, BC's and
octopus' of the same make and model on your schedule. It is odd that a
single diver would have eleven (11) such items, plus additional such items
later on the schedule, for your personal use. Could you please explain how
these items are utilized? Are they loaned to, rented to, or used by other
divers? Are they part of a retail sales inventory? Please explain their
usage in detail. Thank you.


Deane W. Lehrmitt
President & CEO
Innovative Programs Group, Inc.