When Frauds Collide

, , , | Working | March 31, 2018

When I was 22, I was working for a prominent theater company in Philadelphia as a shop apprentice, building sets. As an apprentice, I was paid very little money, so I lived with my parents, about 45 minutes away. Because of the commute, I had to leave my parent’s house before 7:00 am to avoid city rush hour traffic. I also had to work really long hours, which meant that I frequently got home around 2:00 am.

One night, while driving home after a 17-hour day, I hit a deer. Being young, inexperienced, and without collision insurance, I thought nothing of it since I collided with a deer. A week later, my dad told me that I should contact my insurance carrier, a large, well-known national chain, to see if deer weren’t actually covered under “comprehensive.”  (They are.)

An agent came out to the house to assess the damage, and I asked if I could file a claim in spite of a week passing. The agent assured me that I could. However, the report he filed said that “no deer matter” had been found on my car, but they did find a scrape of paint on the underside of my front bumper. The company then decided that I was trying to defraud them of the $400 cost of repairs.

Over the next year, I had to provide character assessments, a police record of the deer removal, statements of my hours at work, and various depositions, all to support my claim that I hit a deer and was not committing insurance fraud. Meanwhile, the company kept sending me vicious letters, threatening me with significant fines in the hundred thousands, jail time, or both.

The last thing was a formal “hearing” in the city to determine, once and for all, if I was committing fraud. My dad was incensed and insisted on going with me. Once there, I repeated my story about hitting a deer. They asked about the paint, to which I replied that I didn’t know, and that I had probably bumped a parking block. I was then asked where I worked. When I told them, “Downtown Philadelphia,” the response was, “Oh. Okay. We see this kind of thing all the time.”

My charge of fraud was dismissed, and the insurance paid me my $400. I was so angry that I was even suspected of fraud. Were I to actually try it, it would have been for way more than $400.

They Need To Adjust Their Adjusters

, , , | Working | March 5, 2018

(We’ve recently had the worst hailstorm in years in our area, with pieces of hail golf-ball-sized and bigger. Because our house doesn’t have a garage, all three of our vehicles — two personal and my husband’s work car — look like someone took a hammer to them. I call the next business day to file a claim with our insurance agency, and a couple days later I get this call from the local adjuster.)

Me: “Hello?”

Adjuster: *in an overly cheery voice* “Hi, is this [My Name]? This is [Adjuster] from [Insurance Company] calling about your vehicle damage claim.”

Me: “Yes, thank you for calling me back.”

Adjuster: “Sure! We’d love to get you in to our drive-through estimate center, so let’s get you on the schedule.”

Me: “Uh, well, doesn’t it say on the claim that all three of our cars were damaged?”

Adjuster: “Yes! Okay, let’s get you scheduled.”

Me: “It will be difficult to bring all three cars in at once without help, since there are two of us. We might be able to get a friend to help on Saturday.”

Adjuster: “Oh, we only do damage estimates on weekdays from eight am to five pm!”

Me: “Right… Well, my husband is off on Fridays, but I only get a half-hour lunch break and wouldn’t have time to drive in from my office and back for the estimate. Also, we’d still need to get a friend to drive the third car if you insist on seeing all three of them at once.”

Adjuster: “Yes, we’d like to see them all at the same appointment. The drive-through claim center is really the fastest way to get an estimate.”

Me: “Understood. However, there’s still the problem of three cars and only one person who is for sure available to drive. Don’t you have a field agent who can come to our house?”

Adjuster: “Yes… We can send a field agent. But the drive-through center is much faster!”

Me: “Yeah… We’d still need the field agent. On a Friday, so my husband can be here.”

Adjuster: “It will take longer!”

Me: “That’s fine. Please assign us to a field agent.”

Adjuster: *pauses* “All right! I’ve put you on the list for a field agent to call you. It may take a couple of days; the drive-through center is really much faster.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Adjuster: *STILL cheery* “I guess now you can forget this conversation even happened!” *click*

Me: “No… I don’t think I can.”

Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 10

, , , , , , | Working | January 29, 2018

(A colleague buys a new car, notifies his insurance company, and asks for a cover letter ASAP. Time goes by, no cover letter, so he phones them.)

Representative: “So sorry, sir. We’ll send it out straight away.”

(As you can probably guess, no letter. This happens three more times. On the fourth call, the representative decides to try a new approach.)

Representative: “I’m sorry, sir. The letter was about to be sent, but we had a computer error.”

Colleague: “What sort of error?”

Representative: “Well, sir, it’s very technical. I doubt you’d understand.”

Colleague: “Can you see my details on your screen?”

Representative: “Yes, sir.”

Colleague: “Does it say my employer?”

Representative: “Yes, sir. IBM UK, Ltd.”

Colleague: “Does it give my job title?”

Representative: “Yes, sir. Uh… senior systems programmer.”

Colleague: “So, tell me about this computer error.”

Representative: “Sir, being completely frank now, we screwed up. I’ll make sure it goes out today.”

(Two days later, he finally got the insurance cover note.)

Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 9
Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 8
Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 7

Time To Prescribe Some Common Sense

, , , , | Healthy | January 26, 2018

(I have been put on a prescription by my doctor. As I am not particularly fond of the modern designer drug industry, my prescription is something that has been on the market for over 50 years. As such, it is very cheap. After I have been using it for four or five months, my insurance company calls me.)

Me: “Hello?”

Agent: “Hello, this is [Agent] from [Insurance Company] calling. Is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes. What can I do for you?”

Agent: “I would like to tell you about our fantastic prescription drug plan! You can get regular shipments of your medications every three months, which will save you money. Here’s how it works…” *drones on whilst I try to interrupt*

Me: “Ma’am?”

Agent: *continues script*

Me: “Ma’am?”

Agent: *continues script*

Me: “Ma’am?”

Agent: “Yes?”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m on exactly one prescription, which costs exactly one dollar and seventy-six cents per month, including tax. Nobody else in the house has any other prescriptions.”

Agent: “Oh.”

Me: “I doubt you can save me any money on of that one.”

Agent: *laughing* “You’re right; we probably can’t. Thank you for your patience!”

Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 9

, , , , , | Working | January 9, 2018

(My husband is rear-ended by a young man who isn’t paying attention. No one is hurt but there is some damage to the new truck my husband drives, around $9,000. I start calling the very well-known national car insurance company of the person who hit us. They tell us they will get right on it. A week goes by and I hear nothing so I call them. I am told they are working on it but haven’t talked to their client that hit us, and they need to in order to get the claim going. Another week goes by and nothing. I call back and am told once again they can’t get a hold of their client. The police report actually has the man’s insurance agent on it. I call and they can’t believe that our damages haven’t been taken care of, but they can’t get a hold of the person who hit us. We go through this game for a full month. At this point I lose my temper and have quite an attitude; honestly, I am a bit rude. I call the customer service line. I get a very nice and understanding customer service representative who repeats the same thing to me.)

Me: “Okay, first, is this being recorded?”

Agent: “Ummm, yes.”

Me: “Good. I want to make sure. Now, first, I want to thank you for being so friendly and professional. I want to make sure you and your company know that I have not been mistreated in any way, and I apologize to you because I know you just work there. Now, I have had it. Your company does not need to talk to your client. You have a copy of the police report. He rear-ended us. The policy was in effect, according to your own records at the time of the accident. Period. I feel I have been more than fair in my treatment of you. You have had ample opportunity to take care of this. So, today is Friday. You have until Monday at 4:45 pm to make arrangements to repair our truck. Do not bother calling at 4:46, because at that time I will be calling an attorney. One of those on TV. I don’t have the money for an attorney, but I bet they can get that, too. Also, my husband is having some back pain, so I think we will also be seeing a doctor. Do I make myself clear? By 4:45 on Monday. Not a minute later.”

(At that point I demanded a supervisor, and after telling him that I appreciated the professionalism and friendliness of the representatives, I repeated the whole thing I said earlier and hung up. Three hours later, a rental car company called me saying they had my rental car ready. I asked, “What car?” They told me the insurance company had set it up for us to drive while the truck was being repaired. Amazing how quickly they got everything done.)

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