Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Great-West Life Part II - The Sweet Smell of Success

On April 18th I recieved a wonderful letter in the mail from the customer liason officer at The Great-West Life Assurance Company. Although a full six months after my intial claim, the letter carefully and thoughtfully laid out how sorry the company was, first, for the delay in responding to my inquiries and second, for the frustration I experienced. I have been assured that this practice will not continue and changes throughout the company will be implemented to ensure that no valued customer of Great-West is troubled in this way again. In other words "God, quit your complaining, here's your stupid money; now get lost."


Okay, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. As has been pointed out many times in books, websites and other materials, in order to have a complaint resolved you must immediately speak to a higher official. This usually starts with "Let me speak to your supervisor" and now-a-days, because employees at high-complaint industries (e.g. cable, telephone, insurance, banks, etc) have been trained in this, that phrase must be followed by either "or else" (which will likely involve a visit from the police) or "Let me speak to the General Manager". As an employee at various retail operations during my lengthy blue-collar existence, this used to drive me up the wall. An organization puts policies in place and then caves for the first person to say "Let me speak to the GM". The thing that drove me out of my mind is when the complainer would get abusive and angry and some 19 year-old "supervisor" would come along and placate the asshole like the French serving tea to Hitler. Alas, this is proof once again that talking to the regular schmo (which I have been and still am) is a complete and total waste of your time. I attempted to go through the regular channels, certain that someone would realize the mistake they made and hesitant about making the above-noted "Get your manager or else" demand because I hate thinking I am going to make someone else realize they are nothing but a jober, answering phones for the "man". But I guess that is reality.

Anyway, Great-West immediately sent out cheques for the full amount of the claim (no interest, maybe I should have pushed for that too?). In total, this adventure cost us around $520 to get back $370, including my time, postage, interest lost and various other intangibles. Luckily, I only had to fork over postage.

The most frustrating thing about all of this is that it took 6 months to get paid on a $370 claim. Imagine if the claim had been for several thousands. Think about the time it has taken from the lives of a half dozen people involved in this already for this ASSHOLE corporation to finally back-up its own policy. You want to make money for your sharholders, you pitiful, mindless, deviant frauds? How about not spending money fighting valid claims? It boggles my mind how anyone, who does not have the advantages provided by a $100,000 education and the resources of a large corporation, could ever deal with an insurance company like Great-West. A word of advice to the board of directors and executive officers of Great-West: stop being pricks; it will be far more expensive in the end (i.e. Enron, Worldcom, Nortel, Tyco, Bear-Sterns).

What have I concluded from all of this? How can Mildred the 84 year-old, retiree, get her claim dealt with in a fast and efficient manner? Four words, Mildred my dear...

"GET YOUR MANAGER....asshole"

Until next time, when once again I must face the forces of darkness with nothing but pen and paper.....