Monday, October 8, 2012

Are You Nursing a Grudge? Part 2

I discovered that I am nursing a grudge against an insurance company that used to insure me.  I never think about old injuries -- until the injured site receives a new blow.

New blow:  The vice president of my credit union sent me a form letter encouraging me to sign up with the credit union's insurance company.  Let's call them Credit Union Members Insurance Nightmare or CUMIN.  I get these letters about once a year and every year, I'm reminded of my old anger at CUMIN.

I had been a loyal credit union member since the 1980s.  As soon as I bought a house, I signed up with CUMIN.  I was a college professor, a single mom recovering from bad decisions, living in the north end of the downtown area. The north end had a bad reputation, but that was the east side of the north end.  My house was in a great neighbourhood in the far west corner of the north end overlooking the bay.  By "overlooking the bay," I mean that, before they built a fence, I could see a bit of water through the gap between the houses across the street.

In 1994, I had a break-in while I was out of town.  The thief stole easy-to-sell consumer items including my bicycle, computer, portable stereo, and musical instruments.  The total claim for these items was less than five thousand dollars.  How did CUMIN respond?  They replaced my stolen goods and promptly cancelled my insurance.  They wrote me a letter saying that I no longer qualified to be insured with them.  Suddenly, because I made a claim, I was no longer worthy of being insured by them.
Note:  This was my first claim ever.  What’s with that?
The thief also stole my car (not insured by CUMIN) and totalled it.  The insurer of my car replaced my car.  They did not cancel my car insurance and the cost of my insurance did not go up.
The form letter from the VP had lines like this:  “For the coverage and service you deserve, call CUMIN today.”   Really?  I did not get the coverage and service I deserved.

This year, instead of merely nursing a grudge, I decided to let the VP know that I hated his insurance company and did not want to be on that mailing list any longer.  I sent him an email actually suggesting that he stop associating his name with such a petty, mean-spirited company.  I wrote that I hoped that the company had changed and no longer routinely cancelled the home insurance of people who were targeted by a burglar.

The credit union gave me the vice president's email address and I sent it to him with a copy to customer services at CUMIN.
Then I felt ridiculous that I was writing a letter 20 years after the event had occurred.

Maybe that's why it still bothered me - because I never spoke up.  I felt victimized by the burglar and then again by the insurance company.

The next day, the letter to the vice president bounced back.  I won't resend it.

Injustices occur all the time.  Part of existence seems to involve knowing when to dig your heels in and make sure you are heard, and when to suck it up and move on -- when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, and when to walk away.


  1. I just had dinner with close friends and housemates last night. One friend at the table - will call her G - ended up sobbing as she shared the weight of her friends' misfortunes, many who are caught in institutional injustice. Example: G's friend had MediCare, friend had some employment victories and therefore, a bit more resources: MediCare cancelled her benefits. Now friend has to scale back her employment resources - aka, take less hours, quit jobs - in order to maybe be CONSIDERED eligible for MediCare. And when the friend tries to assert herself, make her voice heard and get answers to MediCare questions, she gets little in return. Convoluted instructions and obscure answers. It's disgusting! Get's me polemic! And my friend G said something in the midst of it that really resonated with me:

    "When we suffer, they come. When we just begin to thrive, they recede."

    I don't even know how to wrap this comment up. But institutionally supported injustice - it's just rampant. All over the place, and sometimes, I find it hard to point fingers of blame. It's just a big mess! I'm venting!

  2. Note: William is writing from the USA. You're absolutely right. There are enormous problems of institutionally supported injustice than my little whine.