So let's start with a couple of stories from my past life in handling claims. Some of the things you see when you are helping people get back to where they were prior to a loss is truly outstanding. I'll start with my property management days when I ran a team up in Chicago that handled any type of claim that was damage to a structure (IE house or detached garage) and personal property (said crap within those locations) I use personal property and crap as synonyms as what is a treasure to one individual is likely garbage to another and for the purpose of this story there is quite a bit of crap involved.
Before we go any farther let's put the entire insurance claim process in perspective for how people basically treat the insurance company through this youtube video (NSFW).
Let's meet our insured who we will name Mrs. Pain. Mrs. Pain was out of town one February when she got a call that she had a frozen pipe burst in her house. So while out of town Mrs. Pain decided to file a claim on her policy which came to my team. We promptly called her to schedule an appointment the same day to visit her and help her out on her loss. Since she was out of town she decided that she did not want to have anyone on her property to inspect or mitigate the damages. We even offered for us to meet her son onsite who lived a few miles away in order to make sure that we could save as much of her personal property as possible. Unfortunately this was not an option for her so we had to wait for her to get back in town a few days later.
My rep was booked for the day when she finally called in, but being that it was already a few days into the loss I decided as the manager to go out to assist with her claim. I coordinated with Mrs. Pain and got permission to bring a water mitigation vendor with me to the site to assess the damages. Additionally she agreed to allow a textile restoration vendor and personal property storage vendor to come as well to potentially start moving the claim forward. So far Mrs. Pain appeared to be a normal insured, except for the few day delay of mitigating her damages. So here I was driving to meet with her and help her get her claim started and hopefully start getting her back to a normal life.
I arrived around 2:00 and was awaiting the vendors to show up who were scheduled at 2:30. I always like to be a little earlier than the vendors so I can explain the process, what to expect, and to answer any reservations the person who has a large loss may have. I met Mrs. Pain who seemed like she was a nice person, albeit a little off, but nothing that I hadn't really dealt with before. However as I walked into the insured's house things changed just a little bit...
not the actual house, but a pretty good representation
At this point my initial thoughts ran along the lines of holy crap, shit, and dammit this is not going to go well. We've all seen probably five minutes of any hoarding show and we know that these people have a disease. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the amicable response I got from Mrs. Pain and her dealing with all the vendors. She chatted with them, decided that she wanted to use them even when I told her she could choose her own, and then even signed work authorizations. I thought to myself that this was the one off and that she would actually be ok to work with. I followed up a couple of days later with my rep assigned and we started to actually have people do work within the residence. This is where the wheels fall off the tracks quickly.
Some fun facts about Mrs. Pain and her claim:
- This was her mom's old house and filled with her mom's and her property
- In the bathroom our insured has a feral cat with feline leukemia, said cat is not potty trained, nor is it friendly
- Apparently during the storage of her crap, yes literally crap with no intrinsic value, we had hundreds of thousands of dollars of mystery jewelry stolen by the vendor. There are no receipts for these and the vendor took pictures of everything they took out of the house
- Said jewelry wasn't stored in a jewelry box, but rather in random things throughout the house
- The second floor water wasn't water, it was feral cat piss
- Paying $147,000 policy limit and 5% for debris disposal was not enough to resolve the pain and punishment we were inflicting on her trying to get the house back to livable conditions
- The items that were cleaned weren't apparently clean. They looked like they had gotten wet and this was unacceptable. (Apparently she washes things with air)
- Our insured decided that she didn't want her stuff back from the storage company, nor did she want to pay them
- The claim has gone on for four years and she still is trying to get money from the claims department even though we've paid out the maximum amounts
Examples of treasures that she couldn't live without
So I rant about this story because literally the worst people ever, despite the fact that we went over and above on this woman's claim. We were the big bad insurance company out to screw her. What's ironic is we did more on this claim than on any other person's claim to provide as seamless and easy experience that we possibly could. I hate this type of mentality as it's very woe is mentality that is prevalent in our society and really is the basis for a lot of our social ills. We've become better at whining that actually owning up to our actions and the entitlement we feel is something that is unbelievably deeply rooted into our societal fabric. Mrs. Pain highlighted many of the qualities that, unfortunately, have become the basis for our cultural thinking. I've paid you so I'm entitled to whatever I want.
In reality it doesn't work this way, you get what you earned or what you contractually signed up for. In this case this person got way more than a reasonable person would have expected for the claims process. Then she believed she was entitled to more because she was her and had been paying us to insurer her. What's even more fun was she had been a policyholder for six months. So in six months she ended up having a questionable frozen pipe (more of the story than is needed here) and paid less than $1000 to get $147,000 and she believed she was entitled to more.
Remember you earn your way through life, nothing is given to you nor does the world owe you anything. Similar to growing your wealth, you have to earn it.