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Insurance firm offers fine-print payout

The St. Pete company's secret contest was solved almost instantly by a sharp-eyed teacher.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. March 22, 2019
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Squaremouth, a St. Petersburg company that helps consumers compare and choose travel insurance policies, came up with a novel way to encourage customers to read their policy documentation.

It's the firm’s Pays to Read program, launched Feb. 11. Pays to Read promised to award $10,000 to the first person who could prove he or she had read their insurance policy from beginning to end. Squaremouth also pledged to donate $10,000 to Reading Is Fundamental, a children’s literacy charity.

Yet the company, with $13.7 million in 2018 revenue and some 35 employees, didn’t tell any of its customers about the contest. Instead, it hid the announcement in the fine print of a policy issued by Tin Leg, one of Squaremouth’s in-house travel insurance brands. In a press release, the company says it expected the contest to last up to 12 months — because few, if any, people read legalese-laden insurance policy documents from cover to cover.

At least that's what Squaremouth thought. 

Turns out, much to the company's surprise, a winner came forward in less than a day: Donelan Andrews, a teacher from Georgia, read her entire policy and informed the company about her discovery.

“When we first spoke with Andrews, her dedication to reading and teaching stood out immediately,” Squaremouth CEO Chris Harvey states in the release. “Her enthusiasm inspired us to make additional donations.”

In addition to awarding $10,000 to Andrews and $10,000 to RIF, Squaremouth gave an additional $5,000 to both the schools where she teaches in Georgia.

“Teaching students to read their contracts has always been close to my heart because of my consumer economics background,” Andrews states in the release. “I always read every contract I sign. It really paid off for me this time!”

Andrews plans to use the $10,000 to pay for a trip to Scotland for her and her husband, the release states.


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