THE most fabulous thing has happened and I feel like CELEBRATING!
Remember my blog post from the other day, Life Insurance Companies Suck? I wrote it because I was devastated when I found out I was denied life insurance based on, as they wrote in their report, "multiple criminal charges." I got their report in the mail last night and something in it intrigued me. "We've let your advisor know about our decision although we may not have shared all the reasons for it. To protect your privacy we're unable to share certain information."
I thought, what information? The agent already knew about the criminal charges – he phoned me and told me. What could be worse than that? Did they find out I have AIDS? What? What could be worse?
Curiosity got the better of me so I picked up the phone. The report said I should call my agent if I had questions but screw that. I wanted to speak to someone at the insurance company, preferably to the director of underwriting who had signed the report. Yes, I know his signature is just a stamp; that, in all likelihood he never even saw my application. I didn't care – his name was on the document so his butt was in the hot seat. I called the 1-800 number on the letter.
After a little bit of phone tag hell I got through to an extremely pleasant young woman whose name I forget so I'll call her Hope. She pulled up my records and reiterated what I already knew – I was denied coverage because of those "multiple criminal charges," nothing else.
I was going to thank her and hang up, but then I opened my mouth and started telling her the story I have told everyone over and over again. At first I spoke plainly because there is little emotion left in the retelling of such an old tale – but like the singer who has sung her hit song for the thousandth time and still has to dazzle her audience, I realized I needed to tell my story with the heart it deserves. I told Hope about my otherwise stellar, crime-free life, about doing volunteer work in the community, about covering the police beat for the local newspaper. I told her about my husband of 19 years cheating on me, and how it literally made me lose my mind. I told her about smacking him with the Dr. Seuss book and the police charging me with assault; then, as I begged and screamed for my husband to help me, one of the officers put his hand over my mouth to shut me up – so I bit his thumb. And there, in a heartbeat, were my multiple charges: assault and assault police.
Hope listened, not revealing much. When I was done talking she said, "I almost never do this but I'm going to transfer you to an underwriter. Can you hold?"
I was on hold at least 10 minutes. Finally a second female voice came on the phone. Let's call her Faith.
She said, "Calls are virtually never transferred to underwriters and I have to tell you, Hope was passionate as she described your situation."
Faith used the word "passionate." My heart leapt.
"I think I've got all the information I need but if you'd like to share anything else, I'd be happy to hear it."
So I told Faith the same story I had just told Hope, adding more details. As I spoke, the story got under my skin and I broke down at several points. I know Hope was in tears, too. I heard her sniffling over the telephone wire.
"I can't re-open your case," she said, "because only the original underwriter can do that. He's gone home for the day but I am going to take this to him first thing tomorrow morning. I can't promise anything, but I'm going to make sure he sees this."
I felt elated. I didn't care at this point if the insurance company changed its mind because SOMEONE HAD LISTENED. Someone CARED. I went to bed last night with a happy heart.
When my husband got home from work today, I was already here. We shared pleasantries and he said, "that was pretty good what the insurance agent had to say, eh?"
I looked at Dave like he had three heads.
"What do you mean?"
The agent had called him to say the insurance company had reversed its decision and was willing to sell me insurance. They had completely dropped all application references to my criminal past.
"WHAAAAAAAAAT??????????" I was gob-smacked, bowled over.
"Didn't he call you? He called me to ask for your phone number because he had misplaced it."
"NOOOOOOOOOOOO," I squealed. "He didn't!" But then again, maybe he did. I had stepped out of the office for a while in the afternoon to run some errands. And, truth be told, I didn't check my phone to see if anyone had called while I was gone.
When I finished screaming and jumping up and down and hugging Dave and generally acting like a lunatic, I asked if our agent was surprised. "Oh yeah," he said. "First of all, he couldn't believe the company changed its mind. But what he really couldn't believe is that you got transferred to an underwriter."
Seriously? It's that big a deal? Apparently it is. And apparently I owe Hope a great deal of thanks. She could have brushed me off. She could have said, "Well, them's the breaks, ma'am, sorry about your luck." But she didn't. She let her humanity and her common sense and her brilliant helpfulness take over and she did a wonderful thing.
Yes, she did the unthinkable – she transferred my call. But she did so much more. She made me feel like a real person again. A worthy person. Someone who is more than just a set of toothmarks in a Kevlar glove and the slapping sting of a children's book on a cheating husband's thighs.