I work in an office servicing insurance clients. I’m actually the agency manager, but I sometimes take over phone calls for less experienced phone staff if they are having difficulties.
Yesterday, we had a lady call in looking to get new copies of her contract and policy certificate mailed to her as she had misplaced hers. She gave her name and date of birth, as she did not have her policy number.
Our phone rep tried to look her up and did not find anything, but she was adamant that she was calling the right place and had a policy with us. I was currently in this phone rep’s office on another matter when the call came in, so I took over the phone call and kept her on speaker as a bit of training for my coworker to learn how to problem solve these situations, as they happen all the time.
I asked the client to verify that her policy would be under the name she gave me and not a maiden name, for example. She said definitely not. This is my name since birth and it would definitely not be under any other name. I tried searching again, and could still find nothing. I then asked her for her address, and began chatting with her a little bit about how nice the weather has been lately etc., while I tried to find her in our system.
While I was doing that, my co-worker had the bright idea to use our search parameters to search for just her first name, and then search by date of birth from there. This, of course, brought up hundreds of policies with her common first name, but lo and behold, it also brought up a match to the date of birth under a different last name, but matching address. (I normally go this route as a last resort, because it’s a lot of data to comb through, but my coworker did the leg work while I was chatting with the client.)
Let’s say the name in our database was Elizabeth Smith. I said Elizabeth, could your policy be under the last name of Smith? There was a long pause on the phone, and she said, “Now why in the world would I have used that name on my policy?” Then she yelled to somebody in the background, “Hey, when did we get married?”
Turns out she had used her married last name on her policy. We had a good laugh, and she brought her husband into the conversation in the background. He acted all put out because it never once occurred to her that she did, in fact, have a new last name…for the past FIFTEEN years (how long they had been married). She had taken the policy out about 5 years ago.
She turned out to be a nice older lady, but I just couldn’t believe that she was so adamant in the beginning of the call that she had no other name, and there is no way her policy could be under any other name. I guess that’s my bad for not asking the right question: “Could this policy be under your married name, not your maiden name?” We earned our Sherlock Holmes badges today!