Dear insurance company,
Thank you for taking the time out of your profit-making to send me the very considerate quality service survey as a follow-up to my recent claim. Is replying with a personal response rather than rating your performance on a scale, with 1 being “strongly disagree” and 10 being “strongly agree,” the least I can do? 10!
I have to admit that I’ve been critical of insurance companies in the past. I’ve bandied about words like “piracy,” “gouge,” “scam,” “infuriating jockey squeezers,” but really that’s just because I don’t fully understand how insurance works. Nor do I fully comprehend the vaguely unsettling way that insurance has become something you’re required to have – not “should have” but absolutely must have, by law in some cases. You know what, though? That’s just a superb business model. If I could make it the law that everyone must purchase my delightful collection of columns, You’re Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, available at better parts of my basement for only $15.99, I’d be all over that.
When you come right down to it, I have nothing against insurance companies. In fact, my insurers have been quite helpful over the years. They’ve even sometimes rewarded me for not making any claims, which is kind of like when your big brother gives you five bucks to stop bothering him (only to discover later that he stole that five dollars from your room).
There is one aspect of insurance, though, that makes me crazy: the deductible. Let me see if I understand it correctly. I pay you, say, $1000 in insurance premiums over a period of time. I pay it because – well, I kind of have to, but also because I want the peace of mind knowing that if something should ever happen to, say, my credenza, I will be able to replace or repair it. Alas, tragedy does befall my credenza. Coincidentally, the cost of repairing the credenza is $1000. You pay my claim. “Except,” you say, “we’re going to keep $500, just because we can.”
I know, I know; there are things I don’t fully understand, like “small claims” and “moral hazards” (which, coincidentally, were nicknames an old girlfriend and I had for each other, but that’s not really the point).
So let’s just agree to disagree even though I’m right and get back to your customer service survey. First of all, I’m flattered that my opinion is essential in improving your service and that you would like to know whether it’s highly unlikely (1) or very likely (10) that I would recommend you to a friend or acquaintance. (The chances of me bringing up insurance companies in conversation? 3. The chances of me actually having a friend or acquaintance? 1.)
Secondly, I’d like to point out that this is the fourth survey I’ve been asked to fill out in a short period of time. There were two from my Internet provider following services rendered, the first by email (deleted), the second by automated phone call, because they know how much better I communicate with machines than friends and acquaintances. The third came at 7 in the morning following delivery of an appliance, again an auto-call wondering how satisfied we were. Top marks in this case, except for calling us at 7 in the morning.
And now I have your insurance survey, the only one sent via mail, which is just so quaint and old-fashioned I almost expected it to be in triplicate separated by sheets of carbon paper.
But since you’ve gone to all this trouble to prepare, mail, receive, compile and ignore customer opinion, I thought I’d offer you at least one suggestion: instead of wasting money on customer surveys, how about you just reduce my gawdam deductible?