Hello new friends, I used to be a lurker to a subreddit called JustNoMIL. They unfortunately seem to no longer allow JustNo’s in the wild stories. If you don’t know what that is, in a nut-shell it’s a subreddit about terrible in laws, many of them being narcissistic. A friend recommended I post here. Luckily, I do not have a terrible mother-in-law but I encountered one in the “wild” today. So, for a bit of backstory, I work for a large well-known insurance company doing initial loss reporting. What that means is I am the person you talk to while filing a claim on your own policy or if a claimant calls in stating our insured hit them. It is also important to know that since this is a big corporation we are constantly being graded/evaluated on “metrics”. The one you need to know about is call time. We are supposed to be able to finish talking to someone in 16 minutes to 18 ½ minutes.
It’s Sunday (also important later) and calls are fairly light on these days. However, I receive a call from this JNMIL. We are told to keep customer’s happy and “make a connection” so occasionally you have to take a hit to your time score when lonely old lady #437 calls and wants to chat.
So, I start the call, after getting the policy pulled up by asking what happened. Apparently, the story is they (her and her husband) were driving and all of the sudden the car in the opposite lane merged into them. They slam on breaks in an attempt to avoid the collision. In doing so the vehicle behind theme was unable to stop in time and rear-ended their car. According to her both vehicles fled the scene. They continued for 5 more miles and their vehicle suddenly slowed down dramatically. They stop, her husband opens the hood to see if he can figure out what’s wrong.
She stated that one of the connections to the battery must have been jostled off from the impact. I find this odd but stranger things have happened. She called emergency roadside service, they were unable to jump start the vehicle and it had to be towed to their residence. If you don’t know emergency roadside (at least at my company) will only tow you to the NEAREST possible repair shop. They had the vehicle towed to their residence so it is customer responsibility to pay for the mileage exceeding the closest repair facility. She had to pay $9 dollars and was APPALLED at this.
From here the story gets more dramatic. Apparently, before the tow arrived, she was standing in the middle of the road trying to flag down vehicles. Again, I get told about how horrible this is that no one would stop to check on a little old lady. Little old lady were her exact words. I find out later she is 60. Not exactly frail old grandma. My mother is an EMT in her 50s and my grandmother can run laps around me at nearly 80.
As protocol we ask if there were any injuries, where they are, what medical treatment was planned or performed, pretty standard stuff. Oh no, if the flagging down cars wasn’t enough, she proceeds to tell me there was a scratch (later changed to deep cut) on her left arm. I sympathize that she was hurt and let her know I would mark it so if it needed medical attention, we could possibly help with any medical costs associated with the accident.
NO! Not a soft no thank you but she screams NOOO into the phone. I was absolutely not to include the injury after she spent five minutes talking about it under any circumstances. She launches into a tirade about a previous accident she had. He suffered from a herniated disc in her neck. She knew exactly which vertebrae were affected.She would NEVER try to get more than she was owed. She could not believe anyone would EVER scam an insurance company. It was terrible you see, apparently, she got a medical bill of $250,000 plus. It caused all kind of problems including LACK OF INTAMACY. Why on Earth you would mention this very personal unrelated incident I do not know, but I am essentially trapped on the phone and she knows I am a captive audience. She then launched into telling me about her medical history. She had IBS, no colitis! This is ironic as I suffer from IBS myself, but got to listen to how horrible it was and how she was old and broken. She then states whatever insurance company she had at the time dropped her for her medical bill. Again, red flag, because if that was true it would cause a lot of ethical if not legal can of worms to be opened. She literally stated I can’t make a medical claim, if I do that again SIU will come investigate me. She would put in a medical claim if it got infected or if it caused a scar. She thinks it will cause an ugly scar.
So again, this is an odd claim. SIU would only ever be involved if there were a strong possibility of insurance fraud. Claiming a cut on her arm, if she had a cut on her arm would in no way cause SIU to be involved. At this point I am beginning to tune out with the sprinkles of mmhmms and noises of sympathy. She apologizes for being emotional. I think maybe, just maybe, she has realized she had kept me on the phone too long.
Nope, cue her telling me about how her sister was killed at 16 (she was 20) by a drunk driver. The 2 vehicles that supposedly left the scene MUST have been drinking. I awkwardly say something along the lines of “Oh that is awful, I am so sorry that happened.” What else do you say to that? I then got a graphic recounting of how her sister had went through the windshield, her head injuries, and death. Could I believe the coroner told her all that? It was traumatic for her to hear this and has had PTSD from it ever since. So why she felt the need to describe it to me in glorious gory detail is beyond me.
The crocodile tear sounds and long sighs begin to permeate the call. I try to bring it back on track. SHE HAD TO BURY HER FATHER. I have no idea what that is like. Why was the world so cruel to her?!?Meanwhile my step-brother died last year and I buried my father as his only living relative at 20. But I had no idea what that was like. She was sorry to be so blunt but that is how she processed and dealt with it, it all spilled out at once then she would push it away. My degree is B.S. Psychology. I let her know this and that the word she was looking for was compartmentalization. CBF
I bite my tongue, feign sympathy for her terrible plot in life and try to steer this conversation back to the information I needed. I kinda manage to get her back talking about things and hit the standard “Do you think you will need a rental vehicle?” YES! Her husband was starting a new job. I absolutely, positively, had to set up a rental TODAY. She had moved to Iowa (maybe Idaho?) recently and had no connections. She had moved here to be with, did you guess it, HER FAMILY. She moved to be central to all of them, but they were an hour a way and wouldn’t do something like drive an old lady around when she needed it. At this point it clicked this was a JustNoMIL, but there was nothing I could do about it but try and keep composure as a captive audience for her personal, tragic, life story.
I let her know we have an agreement with big rental company X. I let her know that they typically are not open on Sundays, but I would check. I even let her know I would check rental company Y to see if they had any branches open on Sunday. To do this we type in their zip code and look for locations within 5-15 miles of that place. I do this and let her know that none of the 10 rental places I could pull up were open on Sunday. She asked if I would expand the search and check. I oblige, nothing is open on Sunday within 25 miles. She has me continue to re-expand this search up to 75 miles. No one is open on Sunday. That’s impossible! Someone HAS to be open on Sunday.
She proceeds to tell me about how she went to the airport there and they absolutely were open on Sundays. I let her know that Rental Company X’s airport locations did not participate in our program so I could not send them an assignment. However, if she rented from that location, she could keep her receipts and submit them for reimbursement. If she truly needed a rental today this was the best course of action. Suddenly, she no longer needed a rental on Sunday.
Tomorrow was okay, but how would they get there with no vehicle and HER FAMILY being too busy with their lives to help a little old lady like her (she only 60). I inform her that they can often work out a pick-up or drop off in these situations. I also let her know Rental Company X opened at 7am so hopefully her husband could get a rental and still be in to work by 8 at his new job.
This seems to satisfy her. I give her the address and phone number of the closest location. She then goes “Well okay, but only if they have a car ready to pick them up at 7am on the dot.” I let her know I could not arrange that, but she was welcome to call at 7 when they opened. I could hear more intense CBF through the phone. “Well why can’t you!?” I inform her again that they are closed on Sunday so I couldn’t arrange this if I had wanted to. This answer was not good enough, couldn’t I just put it in the assignment that she needed to be picked up at 7am tomorrow. I stare at my screen, trying not to bang my head on the desk. How an employee would get the assignment at 7am when they come in at 7am and simultaneously be at their residence (15 miles away) in the same minute is beyond me.
Cue a very awkward minute long silence. I can feel the CBF on the other end. I stone-wall. Eventually she talks again. Her mood shifts rapidly back to sweet old lady. She wanted to thank me so much for being so understanding. She informs me she used to work at Competitor Insurance company as a claim adjuster. She literally stated “Oh yes I know they judge your performance based on metrics like length of call.” This is at the 54th minute of this call.
The bitch knew she was screwing me over with call time. She fucking knew, and did it anyway.