Insurance company cancels woman's policy over Facebook dog picture

By Ben Hooper  |  Feb. 14, 2017 at 4:29 PM
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Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A North Carolina woman said her insurance company canceled her policy after workers looked at her Facebook and misidentified the breed of her dog.

Melina Efthimiadis said she and her husband decided to add personal umbrella liability insurance to their Nationwide homeowner's policy, and the process required them to list the breeds of their three dogs.

Efthimiadis said she listed a Shih Tzu/ Yorkie mix, a hound and a hound/lab mix on the application and then waited for Nationwide to approve the policy.

She said she was shocked when Nationwide told her the policy was being canceled.

"We were being canceled because we had an ineligible dog breed that we failed to disclose," Efthimiadis told WTVD-TV.

"They sent us the pictures that they had taken off of my Facebook page of my dog Zeus who is a lab/hound mix. In the picture, the dogs are running through the snow with their blankets on it just didn't seem that threatening to me," she said.

She said Nationwide incorrectly identified Zeus as a rottwieler mix, a breed the company considers to be potentially dangerous.

Efthimiadis contacted Nationwide to tell them they had made a mistake.

"They said that I would have to have a letter written by my veterinarian," she said.

She said the letter was easy to obtain -- Efthimiadis is a practicing veterinarian.

"Really, this is not something that can be proven just by looking at pictures," she said.

Nationwide apologized for the mistake, saying proper procedures were not followed.

"Nationwide's policy is to contact the member and agent to gather more information if there is uncertainty about a dog breed selection on an insurance application. Unfortunately, that policy was not followed in this instance. We have taken steps to rectify the situation to ensure a better experience for future Nationwide applicants," a representative said.

Efthimiadis said Nationwide rescinded the cancellation, but she decided to cancel the policy and go with a different company -- one that doesn't discriminate based on dog breeds.

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