I’m a claims rep for a large insurance company. This means that most of my days involves being yelled at for things outside my control, and being lied to on a daily basis. On this particular warm summer day, I was subject to an angry rant over $49.21.
This gentleman, and I use the term loosely, was the claimant, meaning we did not insure him but he was in a collision with someone we did insure. Our company is obscenely nice to insureds. We’ll let them get away with almost anything. But claimants… let’s just say we get to be frank with them. Our insured was very much at fault and we had offered to repair his vehicle. There wasn’t much damage to his vehicle, but Mr. Claimant treated it as though our insured had run over his infant. This minor auto accident was nothing less than an affront to him.
Now, one thing I’d learned as a seasoned claims rep is that saying anything on the phone was like not saying anything at all, because our calls are not recorded. I developed the habit of sending an email after every single conversation so no one could change what I’d said, and also so some of my slower insureds wouldn’t call me back and as me the exact same question again.
Back to Mr. Claimant. I warned him on day one that we do not cover rental insurance, and immediately after, sent him an email warning him of the same. The rental insurance was redundant and unnecessary; he carried collision coverage on his own policy. I’m sure it will come as a great shock to you that Claimant bought the very insurance I told him not to, and then expected me to pay for it.
Clmt: Your rental company charged me! What are they? Stupid?
As you will see, this was a bit of an ironic comment. The rental company bills the insurance company directly. If a claimant follows the rules, they shouldn’t be charged anything.
Me: I see the rental company billed us for your three days of rental. What did they charge you for?
Clmt: This accident wasn’t my fault. You don’t understand! I shouldn’t be paying for anything!
Me: That is correct, provided you followed the rules we discussed. Did you return the rental car with damages?
Clmt: HOW DARE YOU-
Me: Then you must have purchased the rental insurance.
Clmt: So reimburse me!
Me: Sir, you were advised in our conversation on x date at x time that I could not cover that for you, and then I emailed you on x date at x time to remind you of that fact. I’m sorry, as I stated then, I am unable to cover any rental insurance and cannot reimburse you.
Clmt: But your insured did this! Why do I have to pay?
Me: You bought something I explicitly warned you not to buy. Twice.
Clmt: How was I supposed to know? We never discussed it!
Me: Allow me to read the email I sent you on x date at x time sir. “The rental company will offer you additional insurance, sometimes called a damage waiver, for a daily rate. This is not something Insurance Company can cover, as it is redundant. You are already protected by your collision coverage in the rental vehicle.”
Clmt: I can read! Why are you so condescending?
Me: So you were informed then.
Clmt: I DON’T HAVE TIME TO READ EMAILS!
Me: I’m sorry, sir. I am unable to reimburse me.
There were a few brief moments of silence while the hamster in his brain huffed and puffed on his wheel.
Clmt: I’m going to sue you.
Me: Alright. Here is my fax number for your attorney’s letter of representation.
I had to put him on mute for a few seconds while I laughed. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.
Me: And just what are your damages?
Clmt: The $49.21 you owe me! My lawyer will get it back!
Me: Okay sir. Let’s say for a moment you find a lawyer who will represent you for less than $50 – you won’t by the way. Those don’t exist. You would have to pay your lawyer from your $49.21.
Clmt: No! You’ll be paying him.
Me: Secondly, due to the amount of money involved, this would be a case in small claims court, where a lawyer cannot represent you. And you’ll have to pay to file a suit. Do you know how much the court filing fees are in our county?
Clmt: You’ll be paying for those!
Me: Yeah, I’ll have to pass. Sir, they’re $435. That means in order to get your $49.21 back, you would have to pay nearly ten times that and then explain to a judge that you bought something I told you not to buy, twice, and now expect me to pay for it. I’ll be sending you a declination letter for your damages now.
Claimant then proceeded to yell at me in Korean for another thirty minutes. I had him on mute while I planned my vacation. Ten months, only ten months away! To this day, I have not heard from his lawyer.