Insurance Fraud Knows No Gender

, , , , , , | Legal | February 13, 2020

(I work in an insurance call center. As a call taker, the first thing I need to do is verify the caller is either the owner or authorized person on the policy. Whilst we do get people attempting to access information fraudulently, most of the time it’s simply an individual who can’t be bothered trying to explain to their elderly, hard-of-hearing relative or non-English-speaking relative that they need to be authorized to speak to us. We cannot outright accuse someone of acting fraudulently, especially if they correctly answer the security questions. It’s frustrating for us, so I developed a way of checking that never fails to result in them hanging up.)

Caller: *clearly very male voice, not elderly* “Yes, my name is [Female Name], [account number], [birth date that would make this person much older than they sound].”

Me: “Thank you for calling, Mrs. [Female Name]. How can I help today?”

(I note that there are no authorized persons on the policy)

Caller: “I need to change my address.”

Me: “I can certainly take care of that for you, Mrs. [Female Name]. While I am making that change for you, may I double-check that I have the correct date of birth for you?”

Caller: “Um… yes… it’s…” *pause, a rustle of paper* “[Birth date].”

Me: “Great, thank you. May I also ask a personal question?”

Caller: *tone slightly uncomfortable* “Yeah, what is it?”

Me: “Do you identify as male, female, or other, Mrs. [Female Name]? We’re able to update that for you with no paperwork. We like to ensure we are using your preferred pronouns.”

Caller: “…” *click* 

(Never failed.)

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Power Of Attorney Pales Compared To The Power Of Listening

, , , | Working | January 27, 2020

(My dad has recently suffered a head injury; I have been granted power of attorney until he recovers. As he is now unable to drive, I have decided to cancel his car insurance. I call up to see what the process is for confirming my ability to manage his policy.)

Insurance Agent #1: “Hello, this is [Insurance Agent #1]. Could I please take your policy number?”

Me: Hi. I’m calling with regards to my dad. He’s just had an–”

Insurance Agent #1: We are unable to discuss someone else’s policy with you, unless you have been previously approved.”

Me: “Yes. I understand–”

Insurance Agent #1: “Are you approved?”

Me: “No, but–”

Insurance Agent #1: “Then we cannot discuss your father’s policy with you.”

Me: “If I could please explain–”

Insurance Agent #1: “We cannot discuss someone else’s policy with you.”

Me: “Please, I’m just needing–”

Insurance Agent #1: “We cannot discuss someone else’s policy with you.”

Me: “Could I speak to someone else, please?”

Insurance Agent #1: ‘We cannot–”

Me: “I would like to speak to someone else.”

Insurance Agent #1: “Please hold.”

(I’m put on hold for about five minutes.)

Insurance Agent #2:  “Hello. You’re speaking to [Insurance Agent #2]. How can I assist you today?”

(I explain the issue and she is silent throughout with the exception of the occasional, “Ah,” and, “I see.”)

Insurance Agent #2: “I’m afraid I haven’t dealt with this before. I’ll just quickly put you on hold.” *assuming she fails to put me on hold and doesn’t realise* “She wants to know about power of attorney, you oaf!”

(Realising she’s talking to the previous agent, I burst out laughing. She panicked and profusely apologised. I told her it was fine and that it had brightened my mood. She put me on hold again — this time for real — and came back with everything I needed a couple of minutes later.)

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They Need Brain Drops

, , , , | Healthy | January 26, 2020

(I work in a pharmacy. The national Finnish health insurance covers certain medicines — insulin, medicine for glaucoma, etc. — almost 100%; you only pay 4,50 euros for three months’ use. But there is a price range the insurance covers and if there are less expensive generic alternatives, the insurance covers only the cheapest for 4,50€. You can still have the more expensive brand, but you have to pay the price difference yourself. Some medicines don’t have generic alternatives for years, but when they eventually come available, this is often the discussion:)

Me: “This eyedrop used to be 4,50€ but now there’s another brand that is 19€ cheaper so the health insurance covers only the cheaper one for that price. If you don’t want to change brands, you have to pay 4,50€ plus 19€; that is 23,50€.”

Patient: “Okay, I don’t want to change brands; I want to talk with my doctor first. I’ll take the original.”

Me: “Yes, that’s fine. You can have either one, but for the original, you now have to pay 23,50€.”

Patient: “Yes, but I don’t want another brand. I’ll just take the original today and talk with my doctor about the generic alternative. I’ve always used [Brand]. I’ll take that one.”

Me: “All right. I understand the situation. There used to be only [Brand] but last month [Cheaper Brand] became available and they set their price much lower. That is why the health insurance doesn’t cover the original [Brand] anymore, even though it used to cost only 4,50€. But you can still always choose the original one if you want. It’s just a bit more expensive now.” *enters the original brand on the computer and sends the customer to pay*

(An hour goes by and the telephone rings:)

Patient: “Yeah, I was there earlier and bought my glaucoma drops. They should be 4,50€ but it says on the receipt that I paid 23,50€ ! Why was it so much?”

Me: “…” *loses a little bit more faith in humanity every time*

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Get Some Insurance Against Insurance Fraud

, , , | Working | January 23, 2020

(A couple of years ago, I moved to the UK from another country. At that point, I thought I had cancelled all my running costs, but about six months ago I learned that I still had insurance running. Mea culpa; emails went back and forth, and I cancelled it. Or so I thought. This month I see money being taken from my bank account by a different insurance provider I’ve never had dealings with, so I call.)

Agent: “[Insurance Provider], how can I help you today?”

Me: “I am being billed for insurance, but I don’t think I ever contracted with you. Could you look into that?”

(Basic details and security checks are exchanged.)

Agent: “Ah, yes, we bought out your account from [Old Provider] a couple of months ago.”

Me: “I cancelled that. What are you billing me for?”

Agent: “From what I can see, that particular service package was split in two in the takeover, as we treat them as separate services.”

Me: “How was I supposed to know this?”

Agent: “You could have checked your online account page.”

Me: “The account page with a company I didn’t know I was insured with and which, by the way, requires an [Old Home Country] postcode to even get in?”

Agent: “It is your responsibility to do that, yes.”

Me: “Is it even legal for you to insure me across borders like that?”

Agent: “Many people have insurance for places they don’t live.”

Me: “As of my cancellation, do you have any other address on file for me than my current one?”

Agent: “No.” *pause* “I have cancelled your insurance; is there anything else today?”

Me: “Can you refund the last six months when I was clearly illegally insured?”

Agent: “No. Have a nice day.” *click*

(It was about £40 total so I felt it not worth making a fuss, but some people are just blinded by their own procedures.)

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Their Inventory System Is Crap  

, , , , , | Working | January 22, 2020

(We have to evacuate our summer cabin because of a forest fire. When we return, we find that the cabin is fine, but the disused outhouse has burned to cinders. When the insurance adjuster comes to evaluate the damage for our claim, I have to explain to him what happened.)

Me: “The fire burned our jakes! It’s a total loss, I’m afraid.”

Insurance Guy: “What’s a jakes?”

Me: “Our outhouse. Just don’t ask me to inventory the contents.”

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