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Tower was founded in 1990 in New York and expanded to offer their personal lines policies in Massachusetts and New Jersey. Through acquisitions over the years, they expanded to cover California and a few additional states.
The Group writes commercial insurance as well and was ranked as the 15th largest Worker’s Compensation provider in California in 2014.
In the past few years, Tower has encountered serious financial problems leading to the sale of the renewal rights to their personal lines insurance to National General, and of their commercial renewal rights to AmTrust Financial. The deal also included a merger with Bermuda-based reinsurer ACP Re Ltd. These deals placed Tower’s companies back on a solid financial standing.
Tower writes auto and home insurance for individuals, as well as a wide range of commercial products for select businesses. Policies are sold through independent agents in their service areas.
Tower offers basic personal insurance and a much longer list of options for businesses. In general, information about the products is very limited, with little detail in terms of coverage, discounts, or any other policy information.
According to the website, car insurance is available for drivers of varying levels of experience, as well as with different driving records. This seems to indicate that they may accept non-standard drivers up to a certain level.
Policies offer all of the basics as well as additional options, such as:
- Roadside assistance
- Gap coverage
- Original Equipment Manufacturer replacement parts
- Travel expenses coverage
- Accidental airbag deployment coverage
The website does not offer a list of discounts but states that they are available.
Tower writes home insurance coverage for a variety of different home types. This includes standard single-family detached homes, condos, and multi-family residences.
Coverage includes replacement cost for the structures as well as personal property, liability, and additional coverage. Each coverage is tailored to the specific type of dwelling.
Tower also offers renter’s insurance to cover personal property and liability without the structure coverage.
Tower provides a bundled package policy that combines auto and home tougher on one bill.
The Custom Pac policy includes single single-limit coverage for property and structures and higher limits for high-value items on the home insurance side. The auto coverage adds all of the available options listed above as part of the package deal.
Tower also offers umbrella insurance for extra liability.
Tower offers a full range of commercial insurance products for small to medium sized businesses. Coverage varies by state.
- Commercial Package Policies – these include property and liability in one for retail and similar businesses
- Business Owners Policies – similar in terms of coverage, but tailored to different business classes
- Landlord Package Policies
- Worker’s Compensation
- General Liability
- Commercial Auto
- Commercial Umbrella
Tower does not offer the option of online quoting and only provides coverage through agents. This makes it difficult to obtain quick quote comparisons.
Tower’s recent financial troubles and position as a regional, agent-driven company make them unlikely to be competitive in terms of pricing. This is particularly likely when compared to major direct-buy insurance companies like GEICO.
The Custom Pac combination policy likely offers the best possibility of a good rate.
Tower accepts claims reports either through agents or directly by phone: (888) 856-5522 or fax: (888) 291-6262. Worker’s Compensation claims are reported through different means, but the website doesn’t indicate what that is.
There is very little information regarding how claims are processed. It is likely that they follow a standard procedure; an adjuster is assigned and then investigates the claim. Once coverage is confirmed and the investigation complete, the claim is paid out in accordance with the policy terms.
Policyholders can follow up on claims via a different phone number, directly with the adjuster or through a claims follow-up line. Agents can also assist with claims.
Tower Insurance Group has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has a total of 30 complaints in the past three years. Only seven of those complaints were in the past year. Tower is not a big company, therefore we would not expect to see a large number of complaints, and this number is on the low side even for a smaller, regional insurer.
There are not a large number of reviews on the Internet. The few that are available are mixed, with some positive, as well as some complaints about slow customer service and poor claims handling. There are several complaints regarding the handling of worker’s compensation claims as well as auto claims.
Most of the financial difficulties Tower has undergone are not well-known to the average policyholder, but the downgrades in recent years for financial stability is likely to have created some questions. The merger that was completed last year should help Tower regain any confidence they lost as a result of that, but as other companies take over renewal rights we may see a difference in how the company is viewed, both from a financial standpoint and in terms of customer service.
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Tower is a regional insurer with a recent history of major financial distress. Although they appear to have been bailed out through mergers, they remain uncertain in terms of stability. They do not offer much in the way of unique products, with the exception of the possibly interesting home and auto package, a product whose value is difficult to determine due to lack of information and quotes. Most people in search of home and auto are likely to find better rates and more comprehensive service elsewhere.
Tower may be worth investigating for businesses, particularly since the recent mergers have given the company an even stronger position in the California Worker’s Compensation market. Overall, however, it is difficult to recommend Tower to the general consumer.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.