Friday, July 2, 2010

Closing The Final Chapter of Ondoy

Today marks the closing of the final chapter of Ondoy -- at least as far as my affected life is concerned. After almost 9 months of pestering our insurer, Generali Pilipinas, I finally got my insurance claim for our damaged store. Jeez!!! I have to say -- Generali Pilipinas is incredibly lousy when it comes to customer service. Granted that there were several claimants at the same time as me, that does not absolve them for their really lousy treatment of their customers.

All insurance sales agents will promise you heaven when they are trying to get your account. But when it comes to claims time, the same sales people are nowhere to be found and they will just refer you to their crappy claims department. Generali's claims department is practically made up of 2 persons -- an old guy and a girl. The girl was actually ok and a bit friendly. Unfortunately, my case was assigned to the guy, whom I shall hereafter refer to as Mr. ASs.

This Mr. ASs seriously need to go through a customer service orientation seminar. I've met several government employees who are several notches friendlier than him (and we all know how cranky government employees can be). He has absolutely no telephone answering skills and zero phone personality. And that's if you happen to catch him on the phone, as it seems that he is also never around or his local is always busy.

It seems that because of the big disaster, Generali decided to get out of the retail insurance business altogether. And in line with that decision, they had a major retrenchment. That just exacerbated the problem since they ended up with fewer staff. But luckily, some guy there with a modicum of grey matter in his head decided to reassign some of the displaced workers to the claims department to help alleviate the workload. And a friendly lady by the name of Cathy was assigned there to help coordinate and liaise between management and customers. She at least made the whole experience a little bit pleasant.

But going back to Mr. ASs, my initial confrontations with him over the phone proved fruitless. He basically just passed the buck to me to nag their adjuster directly. I really don't understand this as I personally do not have any personality when it comes to dealing with the adjuster. As an end-customer, my contract is with my insurer. And it is the insurer who has a contract with their adjuster. So what business do I have to be talking directly and following up my claims with the adjuster?! And what right do I have to demand anything from him since I'm not his client?

Anyway, for those of you not familiar with the insurance industry, insurance companies basically hire professional third-party "adjusters" who presumably know how to properly value the cost of items across a broad range of industries. I mean, when it comes to specifically knowing how much a repair of a kitchen equipment would cost, the adjuster is supposed to have "expert knowledge" to be able to give a fair valuation to both business insurer and insurer.

Since talking to Mr. ASs was going nowhere, he suggested that I file a complaint directly to his boss. This was something new -- when was the last time that a staff actually recommended that you complain to his boss about him? Logically, shouldn't the staff try to contain the situation so that it does not reach the ears of his boss in the first place? Well, I took the challenge and sent fax and email to his boss, whom I shall hereafter refer to as Mr. Jungle. Surprise, surprise! I got no replies whatsoever from Mr. Jungle -- not even an acknowledgement of receipt. No wonder Mr. ASs was so gung-ho in advising me to talk to his boss. He probably knew the guy would not do anything either!

Although my dad and uncle have very strong upper management contacts at BDO, I hesitated to use them hoping that I can still resolve this at my level. During one of my meetings with the BDO credit card group for PayEasy, I met some people who were very kind enough to throw in a word for me at Generali. It somehow reached the ears of their president, which I'm sure helped in moving things a bit.

So finally, here I am after almost 1 year with my insurance claim. I can finally remove "call Generali Pilipinas" in my to-do list.

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