A Hurricane Of Ignorance

, , , , , | Working | September 25, 2017

(I am calling my insurance company to report damage from Hurricane Harvey. I live just outside of Rockport, the town where the eye went in.)

Agent: “I understand you are reporting damage from a wind event?”

Me: “I guess you could call it a ‘wind event,’ sure.”

Agent: “Do you know the date of the wind event?”

Me: “Friday night. August 25th.”

Agent: “And do you know what time the damage occurred?”

Me: “All I know is it was Friday night and into Saturday morning.”

Agent: “It would be helpful if you could narrow it down a bit more.”

Me: “You could probably call the Weather Channel and ask what time Harvey made landfall. It was right about then, you know, since the damage was caused by the hurricane.”

Provide Assurance Before Insurance

, , , , , | Working | September 22, 2017

It was near month end when a lot of car insurances were coming due. Near closing time, a young man came in with that tell-tale look of desperation and panic that just told us something was up.

He came to the counter and I was to serve him. He blurted out, “My insurance is due tonight, and I don’t have the right paperwork, and I don’t get paid until tomorrow, and I think I may owe money for some fines, and I don’t know what to do!!”

I calmly took his papers, looked at them and then to him, and said “Okay, first thing we do is PANIC!” I took a beat, held eye contact, then said, “Okay, good. Nailed it. Now we just need to figure out how to make this work for you.”

I don’t think he exhaled the whole time.

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 63

, | Melbourne, VIC, Australia | Right | July 13, 2017

Me: “Okay, so I just need to play you a short recording of our ‘duty of disclosure’ statement to make sure you agree to our terms and conditions, and then we can finalise your policy.”

Customer: “I agree.”

Me: “Sir, I have to play the recording for you first.”


This Whole Thing Is A WRITE OFF

, , , | Right | June 28, 2017

(I work for a health insurance company. We pay our our maximum amount on all emergency room visits no matter where services are done or contracting status of provider.)

Customer: “So I feel like there should be a WRITE OFF done by somebody to WRITE OFF some of these charges.”

Me: “I understand a large bill from a hospital can be a burden, which is why we paid your ER claim as much as we would possibly pay any claim, at the highest level — our in network pay bracket.”

Customer: “Who does the WRITE OFF then? I was told there could be a WRITE OFF.”

Me: “Contracts with doctors can result in them accepting our paid amount and writing off the rest. Your visit was to a non-contracted provider, so they aren’t beholden to any agreement on how much they can charge you.”

Customer: “So they would do the WRITE OFF, then?”

Me: “Have you spoken to them about negotiating a plan to pay your bill yet?”

Customer: “Yes, and they told me to call you and say WRITE OFF a lot and ask if you could pay them in a lower bracket than you did because it could mean they get more money towards the bill.”

Me: *after a silent “wow”* “That’s simply bad advice. There isn’t a world in which paying them less would result in them getting more money. Those two things are the opposite of each other.”

Customer: “Oh. Why would they make me do this, waste my time and make me seem like a fool?”

Me: “You’re not a fool. You’re looking for a way to reduce a very large and unexpected expense. I’m sorry the hospital that is billing you deflected your concerns by giving you an untenable solution. You can report unprofessional conduct by our contracted providers, should you ever encounter a problem with them.”

Customer: “Did you say something about them getting more money?”

Me: *after a moment of stunned silence* “You could get back to the person in that hospital who advised you of these options and request they send us a letter officially asking to be paid at a lower bracket. They are even able to agree to a WRITE-OFF in the same letter. The format for this charitable concern is on our website.”

Customer: “They wouldn’t do that, would they?”

Me: “It was their idea, wasn’t it?”

Customer: “Yes, it was, but I don’t think that’s what they meant.”

Me: “What did they mean?”

Customer: “I called you to find out!”

Stuck In The Middle (Name) With You

, , , , | Right | June 28, 2017

(I work in an insurance sales office. I occasionally have to field calls from people who are irritated by getting solicitation letters from us. Generally these are letters that have been sent out by the corporate office, but have the local agent’s name as the sender. There’s not a lot I can do but apologize and try to elicit the name and address so I can put them on our internal “do not mail” list. Sometimes they don’t want to give me that information and if that’s the case, there’s really nothing I can do for them.)

Caller: “I received a letter from you addressed to [Full Name With Middle Name #1], but my name is [Full Name With Middle Name #2].”

(The first and last names are identical.)

Me: “Okay, what kind of letter is it?”

Caller: “It’s a letter. But my name is [Full Name With Middle Name #2]. It is not [Full Name With Middle Name #1]. My father’s name is [Full Name With Middle Name #1].”

(I try mightily to discover if it is a solicitation letter, or if this caller is an actual customer of Insurance Company so I can figure out what to do with him.)

Caller: “I have an insurance policy with [Insurance Company]. My name is [Full Name With Middle Name #2].”

(I can’t find him in our database anywhere so I try the tack that I can take him off the mailing list if he will give me his address. He finally does, insisting all the while that he is Full Name With Middle Name #2. His father’s name is Full Name With Middle Name #1 but he lives in California. I offer again to take his address off the mailing list. He finally gives me the address.)

Caller: “The letter came to my address. It says ‘20% off.’”

(Ah, it is a solicitation letter!)

Caller: “But my name is [Full Name With Middle Name #2].”

Me: “I understand that. I expect some database somewhere has some wrong information in it.”

(We cycle through this part a couple more times.)

Me: “Would you like a quote for insurance?”

Caller: “I already have insurance with you.”

Me: *he doesn’t, but who cares?* “In that case, what is it you want me to do?”

Caller: “My name is [Full Name With Middle Name #2]. The letter came to my address but it says [Full Name With Middle Name #1].”

Me: *getting beyond tired of going around this circle* “I get that. Was there something you were hoping to accomplish with this phone call?”

Caller: “My name is [Full Name With Middle Name #2]. I got this letter at my address but it says [Full Name With Middle Name #1].”

Me: “I understand. Since it is not for you, I suggest that you throw it away.”

Caller: “But my name is [Full Name With Middle Name #2].”

Me: “Yes. You should throw the letter away because it is not for you.”

Caller: *very reluctantly* “I guess I will throw it away.”

Me: “Yes, you do that.”

Caller: *still reluctant* “I will throw it away.”

Me: “Yes, throw it away. Goodbye.” *hangs up*

(My boss overheard my side of this conversation and told me I was “too nice.” And he let me ignore the phone when the guy called again a few minutes later. Thank goodness he didn’t leave a message so I didn’t have to return the call!)

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