By Raihan Hadi
This piece was first published in Marketing Weekender Issue 303
Are you from the pre Wite Out era? You know, the times when making mistakes while writing with a pen wasn’t an option, and the biggest lie sold to us back then (after democracy of course) was the eraser which had a blue butt, otherwise known as the ink remover?
God knows besides myself exactly how many times I’ve had to redo my homework on fresh pages for that one lie. But then again, lying is the oldest of all habits of us human beings, and so far it has been working very well for the majority of us.
I was wondering about this godforsaken eraser while trying to figure out exactly what to tell my best friend, the life insurance agent at Allianz, who set up the biggest lie of my life for the last two years – that I have a life and health insurance, that too a premium one, at a premium price nonetheless.
The house of lies started showing cracks on a fateful day last year when I willingly decided to slip in the shower, because there’s no way that ever happens. Despite the injury to my head, neck and back, and the blinding pain, I went to my GP, got a letter and took myself straight to the hospital to see a specialist.
The doctors asked me to get admitted for observations and tests, so I had to call my aforementioned best friend for assistance, i.e. a guarantee letter. I had to wait for 6 hours at the hospital that day without getting even a call back.
I hoped for the best and per the Neurosurgeon’s advice went back the next day for physiotherapy where “best friend” also scheduled an interview (interrogation really) with the neurosurgeon. Dragging myself across various floors of the hospital, with best friend keeping an eye on my movements very closely, I sat through the interview and from whatever little I could understand of the heated convo in Mandarin, it didn’t go very well for Agent BFF as the Neurosurgeon had quite an intolerance against BS and spoke his mind without punctuation.
I was advised by Allianz that day to get an MRI done in order to proceed with the guarantee letter, and boy those MRI’s are very expensive, and by this time I had already paid the hospital quite a sum for initial treatment and tests.
Despite the doctor’s seriousness, the test reports coming out terribly, and the actual sight of me suffering, my best friend implied that I wasn’t actually injured to my face that I was trying to get his sympathy and attention since he’s never there. Before I could react, I was slapped with yet another letter from Allianz, and they were calling my injury a pre-existing condition, and they will not be covering the treatment costs.
I was, and to this day, am dumbfounded. Did I slip during birth and got injured, and didn’t know about until falling in the shower? Was I actually dreaming about it all, and there actually was no pain? Well trying to turn my head proved otherwise because I was screaming.
The house of lies had crumbled now, I could see everything inside out, and very much helplessly. I don’t know who to approach, what to do, how to heal, and I’m in pain. Imagine having one of your nerves being stuck between two discs of your cervical (neck) spine, and having to explain to someone how genuine your pain is.
I decided to cancel my policy so that I could at least save some money from the premium, and per my kind landlord’s advice, explore alternate therapies like acupuncture. Thoughts turned to words in an email, and best friend was informed.
You’d think the case was closed right?
Nope. Allianz is the modern day Hotel California – you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
Just last week, some new guy at the company called me up saying henceforth he’ll be my new best friend from Allianz. I looked out to check if the sky was green, confirming the contrary I got back to the chap saying I don’t have a policy with Allianz anymore.
Sadly, Allianz never even kept my request to cancel the policy, and kept on piling up the charges for the premium, which to date is yet another handsome amount. And this time, new BFF wannabe tells me there actually exists a form which I need to fill up in order to file for said cancellation and then wait for approval.
This might sound like the longest rant but every bit of it has happened right here at the heart of Malaysia, and if it has happened with me, it’s probably happening with others.
Allianz might not be the only insurance company with pants on fire, but they’re my closest example to call your attention to the matter.
By the way, with traditional Chinese treatment I am back to 90% fitness now, so it goes without saying that my injury wasn’t a pre-existing condition. Could I say the same about the Allianz and their lying bottoms?
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