I promised a long time ago that I would write about the substandard insurance company that was legally bound to handle my not-so-recent auto crash claim. And then I delayed the excoriating exposé that I had imagined writing for purely selfish reasons.
It all began on Sept. 19. That’s when I was T-boned. I thought I was going to have a bad day, and I was right. But six-months later, I still have not received full satisfaction from Robert Moreno Insurance Services (RMIS). I have not ever been “made whole,” as they say, and likely never will be.
Having personally complained up to the management level on the auto repair portion of my insurance claim, I began to feel the pressure to keep my mouth shut.
Every once in a while the claims manager would answer the phone or respond to an email, and I would get a glimmer of hope that the money I was owed would be forthcoming. I did not want to jeopardize that by exercising my First Amendment right to expose this ineffectual, rude and unprofessional insurance company.
Not one of the 23 Yelp reviews I read about RMIS was positive. Half of the reviewers rated the company or their experience with the company as “…the worst ever!” and many reviews told of the “unprofessional”, “rude” and “horrible” customer service.
My own experience with the company was infuriating. Not “the worst experience of my life” as some Yelpers proclaimed — not even my worst experience with an insurance company (AIG is E.V.I.L.) — but bad enough for someone like myself who has a platform to champion such wrongs. Alas, I traded my principles for cash.
The figure at issue was $841.39. I eventually settled for somewhat less than $600. My silence and complicity was bought for $600. I sold my ever-lovin’ soul for $600.
I have had other accidents. Most were settled in a matter of weeks. This one took just under seven months, and $250 is still at issue. Other crash victims would have exploded with rage long before now. Indeed, as the Yelp reviews indicate, many expressed their rage at being dismissed and demeaned by RMIS and its agents much earlier in the process than I did.
Don’t get me wrong. I wanted to spit nails, to groan in indignity, to curse and jump up and down and stamp my feet. The only thing that stopped me was a commitment to a kind of seething politeness and professionalism that eventually won the day. I gathered (by the sheer volume of negative reviews) that angry-yelping would get me nowhere. I surmised that, when canoe-deep in bullshit, the only course of action is to get out the paddle and start rowing.
I realized that being angry or acrimonious toward RMIS or any of its agents would get me absolutely nowhere. The adage, “It takes as long as it takes,” helped me to stay calm and quasi-patient.
I exhibited that level of patience and was rewarded by somewhat less than an amount that would make me whole. I felt cheap and tawdry when I cashed the check.
The big picture for me is not simply about an awful insurance company experience. It’s about the little man and woman raging against the machine. It’s about the return on investment in fighting the good fight. It’s about whether the human race can withstand the corporate battle being waged against it for our very souls.
It seems what started out as an exposé, a cautionary tale about the importance of having comp and collision coverage with a reputable insurance company, somehow morphed into a social commentary on the much bigger problems we as a species must face today. The morally bankrupt individuals at RMIS are really but a symptom of that problem.
My little crash is behind me now, but my moral account has been debited, and I can only assume I am not alone. How can we, weakened as we are by our poisoned environment, be anything other than a meal for the impervious corporate whale?