Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life insurance companies suck


I lost custody of my kids, I can't travel outside of Canada and now I find out I can't get life insurance. How many ways do I have to pay for smacking my ex with a Dr. Seuss book and biting a cop's thumb?

The insurance guy called me at work yesterday morning to say I was declined. Not that I was surprised. They had approved my husband a couple of months ago and had been taking his money (actually twice the money they were entitled to – a so-called mistake) out of his bank account for a while. The agent said he was still waiting to hear how my application fared. See, I knew they wouldn't sell me life insurance but I figured it would be because I have Crohn's disease. He said no, it wasn't the Crohn's – although, had they approved my application, I would have been paying premium rates.

"What then?" I asked. "My weight?"

He hemmed and hawed, trying to find a way to say even though I lost 50 pounds I was still too fat for his liking. "But no," he said, "you were declined outright because of your criminal record."

Seven years ago my husband of 19 years cheated on me. We had a huge fight. I swatted him with a children's book then called the cops to have him removed from the house. He told the cops I hit him and I was charged with assault. I freaked out. One of the cops held his hand over my mouth to shut me up and I bit his thumb.

That's what happened. One night that changed my life forever. It's the basis of the novel I'm writing, a lesson to women everywhere on what not to do when your marriage falls apart. Some day I might even finish it.

Something else that's not finished is the way I continue to pay for that night. Just as I manage to put it behind me something new happens. Yesterday was hard. Not only was the insurance guy telling me I was fat, he was also calling me a criminal. All I could hear were the negative voices in my head screaming, "YOU'RE A FAT, UGLY CROOK, A WASTE OF SKIN AND DON'T YOU EVER FORGET IT." I tried not to cry at work but I failed miserably. It was all I could do to stay at my desk – every fibre of my being wanted to flee, wanted to go home and dive under the bedcovers and cry away the afternoon.

You know what? I didn't even want the stupid insurance. The agent had talked my husband into it. He said it would save us money because we have separate life insurance policies on our house and our car, as well as Dave's own life insurance. He tried to sell us on one comprehensive policy on everything. I was doubtful (I don't trust these guys as far as I can throw them), but I was willing to go along with it, for Dave's sake.

So first the agent came to our house. Spent two hours sitting at our kitchen table, asking us a zillion personal questions about our health and our finances, getting us to fill out forms and drinking our coffee.

Then a nurse came on a Sunday afternoon. She asked more health questions. She weighed us. She took our blood. Made us pee in a cup.

A while later a some other woman phoned us. Spent a half an hour with each of us, asking us the most personal questions you could ever imagine. One of the questions she asked was, "Do you have a criminal record?" When I answered yes, she wanted all the details. The charges, the sentence, the dates – everything but my side of the story. She didn't want to hear how a marriage break-up can destroy your sanity; no, it was just the facts, ma'am. I was shocked. Couldn't see why on earth she wanted to know, or why it mattered. Does it mean that I am more likely to go into a rampage and shoot up a children's library? Or that I'm gonna get shot by cops the next time I have a hunger for thumb?

I told the agent that I was humiliated by the entire process. He said, "That's standard procedure across the industry." Like that makes it OK to dig into a person's life, to poke and prod at the things that hurt someone the most. If my worst enemy was to decide to hurt me, he would call me fat and then bring up my criminal record – and then he would pronounce me not good enough.

That's the thing that hurts the most. Not being good enough.

Well, fuck you life insurance company. Fuck YOU. I am good enough. I'm better than you'll ever be and I am THROUGH with this bullshit of people telling me I'm not good enough. Take your life insurance policy and stick it up your ass.

57 comments:

  1. Cathy, sorry that night continues to haunt you. Still don't understand why it would affect life insurance though. You're right - to heck with them!

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    1. And I'm sorry for swearing. I always feel bad swearing in front of you. I know.. crazy, eh?

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  2. That is making me so angry I can hear my brain turning read.

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    1. It makes me angry, too. Honestly, I am not one to dwell in the past. People who know me are actually surprised how I can put what happened behind me. But still, every time the wound gets opened, it makes me furious, too.

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  3. I am so sorry. The guys always turn it around and try to make the woman look 'combative' or psycho it seems. A Dr. Seuss book, though? You don't need life insurance, you will live a long and happy life, write a great best selling novel about your experience, and it will be made into an award winning motion picture. Your children will have an award winning novelist as a mother and you will be able to send them to the best universities there are. Then you can sit and drink your coffee and smile while those insurance company workers eek out their lives dissecting other people lives.

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    1. Hell YES. That is exactly my evil plan, Soggy!!!! I love your comment... LOVE.

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  4. Disgusting! Plainly disgusting! I really think you should send this to the big wigs of that company and then threaten discrimination. Seems to work for everyone else in the country! Honestly Cathy! Your a great person and it's awful you're being treated this way! You've changed your life around from being soo unhappy and I guess you'd hit rock bottom to being soo happy and you live a life that is amazing! Plus you've forgiven your rotten cheatting husband, who drove you over the edge! Your a way better person than I am, cuz it still pisses me off! I hope you soon get your novel done because I soooooo want to read it! Hurry the heck up would you! And I agree. Life insurance company! Go feck yourselves!

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    1. Everyone, this is my sister. She's a peach, ain't she??? I love having someone like her in my corner.

      Liz, your comment brought me to tears today, but in a good way. You're right, my life IS amazing now and I know it would never be like this if I hadn't had so many problems first. And YES, I am writing... encouragement like this has spurred me onward.

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  5. Oh Cath- I am feeling like I want to smack that insurance agent with a Dr. Seuss book,hard.

    I don't think there is anyone in this world, who doesn't want to take back a momentary lapse in judgment, and get a "do over". I know I have more than one, that's for sure!!

    And I love your "evil plan". I have one of my own brewing over here. Hehehe.

    Chin up. You know I have my own issues with health, and as far as I'm concerned, all insurance agents can just go suck it!!

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    1. "Go suck it!" Finer words have never been spoken!!!! Hope to hear that evil plan some day.. *cueing evil laugh*

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  6. Just terrible! Can you also shove Daves insurance plan up the same hole?

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    1. hahahahahaha - well, LindaM, I do think that hole is big enough for a whole BUNCH of insurance plans!!!!! ;)

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  7. Seems to me like you've paid and paid and paid through the nose for one error in judgement. Folks have been working that one little mistake for all it's worth. In the meantime you have been growing and getting stronger and forging a new and beautiful life for yourself. They are the losers Cathy...you have moved ahead and they haven't. Keep on keeping on with grace and dignity.

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    1. I will Delores. Big hugs to you.. and thanks!!!!

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  8. Aw Cathy, I'm so sorry you went thru all that. Life insurance is such a joke anyway. My ex and I had it for years and every time you enter a new age bracket the premium went up substantially. When we split up last year I canceled the policies. Although I find out that he's very sick and probably won't live the year. Gee, I really coulda used that money...lol (sorry for the inappropriate joke but I couldn't resist).

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    1. Hey, NO joke is inappropriate at my house!!! We've decided Dave WON'T be cancelling his policy because if something happens, I'LL GET ALL THE INSURANCE COMPANY'S MONEY!!!!! Muahahahahaha!!!! Imagine that! The fat criminal getting rich!!!! heheh

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  9. Have you thought of applying for a pardon? I threw a book at my spouse and was arrested and they sealed my record after a year. But my finger prints are still on file. I was told it might be a issue with customs or it might not be. 50/50 chance. I really think it is unfair that you are still paying for this and how the laws are very much misused on some people.

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    1. I have, Kristy. In fact today I printed out the novelette that is the forms. Holy crap there's a lot involved! And the price now is $631 to file those forms when they're submitted. I should have done it a long time ago but, despite the cost, I now think it's time to unshackle those chains and move forward. By the way, I was creeping out your blog today and I have to say your life is fascinating. Hope things are going well for you over in 'the hoot.'

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  10. 1. Why the heck would that have anything to do with life insurance? I'm sure there are tons of people out there with records as long as your arm who have life insurance.

    2. I don't remember the insurance company digging into our histiries like that. At least, I hope they didn't...

    3. If somebody put a hand over my mouth, they'd better be prepared to lose it. Biting would be my first instinct, so I totally understand that part.

    That really sucks, Cathy. But don't let them keep you down. There's a whole world of people out there who know just how freaking awesome you are. Huge squeezy hugs.

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    1. 1. Who knows? I think any excuse will do.
      2. I think when you're as old as me there are more hoops to jump through. I had life insurance when I was younger and it was no big deal. They just took my money and that was that. Bottom line, I think they're afraid I'm gonna keel over from a heart attack and everything else is just an excuse.
      3. I KNOW, RIGHT???? It makes so much sense to me and you are practically the first person (that I can remember, because I'm senile) who GETS that. Most people are, like, "why'dja bite a cop for???"
      Huge squeezy hugs back at you, dear friend.

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  11. My stomach's in a knot for your experience. Mine was pretty much the same except the police blew everything off in 1973 and the judges gave mom's children and no money to support them. This politically correct shit is mind boggling. My heart's with you and up the system. I do think looking into closing the record might be useful. I'm so sorry this happened to you.

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    1. I can't believe you went through this too! I can't believe SO MANY people have gone through similar experiences! Your comments, Joanne, and the comments of so many others, have reinforced, to me, the need to finish my book. In fact, when I got home from work tonight I sat down for half an hour and wrote, rather than blogging or watching TV or anything else. So thank you. More than you know, thank you.

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  12. I'm guessing this post will not be one of your Weekender columns....

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    1. HAR!!! Uh, no, probably not... at least not with some heavy duty editing - but then, what's the point? FUnny thing is, tomorrow is the first day my Weekender column will appear. If anyone happens to drop by because of that, they may be shocked. I had my writer's group tonight and I asked the girls if they thought I should bury this post but we decided, nah, this is me, this isn't a column, and it's a message I think more people need to hear.
      *gets off soapbox*

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  13. Unbelievable. Ridiculous. Heartbreaking. Frustrating. Dealing with all the crap because of an understandable and temporary lapse in judgement could drive a person into a state of permanent lapse in judgement. Surely there is some process to appeal the record - it's not like you did anyone any permanent harm - jeez

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    1. There IS a process but it's unbelievably long and expensive. I printed out the government form today and it's a bloody book with a long, long list of things I need to do. And yeah, the only ones who suffered permanent harm were me and my kids.

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  14. I have no idea why that would have anything to do with your life insurance.Maybe that should be the first question they ask and save you having to go through any more. Finish writing the book and make a fortune and see if they want to insure you were you appear on Oprah show.

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    1. Me neither. No real idea. It's all just speculation. Whatever - I think, in the end, they lose. I'm healthy, I pay my bills – they probably would have made some good money off me. Their loss, right?

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  15. There are good life insurance companies somewhere out there, I'm sure of that. Do your research and do not give up. Talk to a broker who deals with many.

    Cathy, finish your novel - I would love to read it!

    Evalina, This and that...

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    1. This WAS a good life insurance company, one of Canada's biggest and most successful, and we dealt with them through a broker. Funny thing is, this same company insures me through my work... so while they refused me on one hand, on the other, they don't. Same person, though... go fecking figure...

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    2. And EvalinaMaria, thank you, I'm writing... with renewed enthusiasm. Thank you.

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  16. Oh dear, Cathy! That really, really, sucks!!

    I'm sure there must be plenty of people out there who have criminal records but still manage to get insurance. If they 'conceal' the fact, do the companies investigate anyway or does the customer get away with it?

    Insurance, like most of the fiscal shenanigans around today, seems to revolve around the premise: 'Heads - I win; tails - you lose'

    I hope you get it sorted - besides, I'm sure that cop must have been a real cry-baby! It's more of a mis-demeanour than a crime, surely?

    (Hugs, hon!)

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    1. Nope, crime. Assault police, as a matter of fact. Yeah, he was a big dork, whining about his poor thumb (he had gloves on... I didn't even break the skin)
      And thanks for the hugs!!!

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  17. The fuckers.
    It probably wouldn't hurt you to name them, seeing as they have nothing to offer and not much more to take from you.
    Good luck Cathy. And go hard with the venting!

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    1. HAR! Sorry, Sarah, I just had to laugh at your first sentence! (I love it when you talk sailor!!!)

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  18. Man, your story sucks. You make me want to scream and cry and pull out my hair. I had an issue similar to that one, fortunately, I wasn't hungry enough to eat thumb and to avoid getting my children taken away, had to seek counseling. That was sucky enough. Screw life insurance, just don't die or wait until your children are old enough to fend for themselves.

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    1. Because this a blog comment, I'm not sure you understand my tone. I just want you to know, I'm on your side.

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    2. See? Another story similar to mine!!!! I cannot believe how many women go through this crap! Nobody tells you, when you go down the aisle in a fancy white dress, that your life has the potential to go so indescribably wrong!! Yes, it sucks. It all sucks.
      (And I knew you were on my side.. hugs, Clarissa!)

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  19. The rat bastids. Cathy, does AARP apply in Canada? If you're over 50 you can join them, and can get life insurance through them. No exam, no investigation, 3 questions. If you can't go thru AARP I'm sure there's a Canadian equivalent.
    I could just kick them all in the balls for how they've treated you. Scum sucking lowlife mucus plugs they are.

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    1. I'm not sure, Austan, but I can check it out. I do have life insurance through my company, as well as mortgage insurance so I'm not terribly worried about money. Still, it's worth a look.

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  20. This totally sucks. Sorry. No matter what, they have no right to treat you like that. Lift you head to the skies and yell, "I am woman... hear me roar!" Nuts on them.

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  21. The great irony is that insurance companies are the biggest risk avoiders on the planet. They look, intrusively, for any excuse not to insure--or to demand a great, big, fat premium for the privilege of providing insurance. Do NOT let insurance companies define you. They are a scourge.

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    1. They are. ABsolutely. The funny thing is? Google matches up ads with blog content and right now I'm looking at two or three ads on this page for insurance. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

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    2. Isn't that hilarious? I noticed that last night.

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  22. Hugs, Cathy. So sorry you're going through this. You deserve so much better. I don't know what else to say...
    karen

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    1. That's all you need to say!!! Thanks Karen.

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  23. I see why you took it so personally, but I wouldn't ascribe too much agency to the interviewer there. They're trained, often mandated by a committee they never meet to gather certain data, and sometimes even fined or worse for inclining too much. Sometimes life is like Mr. Incredible in that tiny cubicle. Bureaucracy can invent so much strife. I'm more annoyed with this fellow that only replied that it was standard, as though it was expected to be so emotionally detached.

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  24. I do understand the longing to dive under the bed and velcro yourself to the carpet. I am in awe that you stayed upright and didn't tell the insurance robots what intimate aperture they should insert themselve into, head first with an umbrella.
    I am so, so sorry.

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    1. I am so amused by that last image....... ;-p (I may have to steal that!)

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  25. How absurd! Not just the insurance. All of it. How long must you pay for that night?!! Screw them all. Become a famous author. You already are in this corner of the world...Cathyland. :)

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