Rocky View County couple slapped with massive bill over postal code change
A simple postal code change was supposed to be a positive thing for Jim and Dianne Novak but instead, the couple has been battling their insurance company — SGI Canada — over a premium charge on their bill.
Jim says after notifying their insurance broker of the change, they received a bill in the mail for $625.
“I explained to her that we’re not paying the extra premium just for a change of address,
he said. "We didn’t move.”
The Novaks have been in the same house for 30 years, using the same PO Box.
As part of the civic addressing program, Canada Post changed the Novak’s PO Box number to a physical address.
The company says the program has been implemented in many rural regions across the country to improve the delivery system and help 911 responders locate emergencies.
The Novaks were happy to see the switch.
“We were kind of excited because a lot of companies won’t deliver mail or parcels to a PO Box but they will to a street type of address,” said Jim.
But then the couple found themselves dealing with the unexpected expense. Dianne says their broker told them it’s because of their new address and postal code, despite not physically moving.
“We are lumped in with the City of Chestermere,” said Dianne.
“Now we are all lumped into a broad area that insurance companies will use to pull their statistics from to generate their premiums.”
The Novaks say their insurance broker told them their premium would be waived for this year but they’ll be expected to pay the higher fee moving forward.
After CTV News reached out to SGI Canada, a representative said they are working on the issue and admitted the extra charge should not have happened, saying, “If there were no changes to the underlying risk then an increase of this magnitude is not typical.”
In an email, the company said the first three digits of the Novak’s postal code is used in other, already existing postal codes and their system didn’t automatically flag it as a newly created postal code, which defaulted to a high rate.
Furthermore, the company said, “Our process is to implement a temporary fix to adjust the postal code back to the original one, so the customer will not have to pay a higher rate.”
Jim says they haven’t personally heard from the company yet about the fix but they are happy to hear something is being done.
"SGI has been really good with us overall over the years," he said
"Just this surprise bill is not sitting very well."
SGI Canada says it is working to identify other customers who may be impacted by a change to their postal codes.