Are You Lonely Tonight?


Two Scenes From The Not-To-Distant Future:


Four white-haired gentlemen enjoying breakfast at McDonald’s were approached by two individuals, a man and a woman, both in business attire and carrying briefcases.  The man addressed the diners while the woman opened her laptop.

“Good morning gentlemen.  I am agent Rogers and this is agent Moore.  As per Ohio Representative Bill Dean, we are here about Ohio House Bill 675 signed into law by Governor DeWine on August 15, 2022.   This will take just a few moments.  We need your name and the name of your Medicare Supplement company.”

As Bob reached into his pocket to find his insurance card, a young mother rushed over to the table.  “These two aren’t government agents.  They’re insurance agents.  I saw them here last week.”  Rogers, the insurance agent, started to protest that they were allowed to solicit Medicare Supplements at public places and even McDonald’s.  Bob noted that this might be legal, but it certainly isn’t right.


The elderly couple pushed their shopping cart through the parking lot.  Just as they opened their trunk, a young man rushed up to their car.  It took a moment or two for the couple to fully grasp the situation.  Finally the woman spoke up.  “Thank G-d you’re just some skeevy insurance agent.  We thought you had a gun.”


This could be our future if the State of Ohio passes House Bill 675.  This isn’t a large bill.  It will only take you a couple of minutes to read it.  Ohio Representative Bill Dean (R-74) is the bill’s sponsor.  I plan to provide a copy of his testimony to every client who complains to me about insurance agents bothering them at their homes or at dinner.  Some of you might think that I am exaggerating the risk.  Is the State of Ohio encouraging insurance agents to accost us?  This is from Representative Dean’s testimony:

The current rule, Ohio Administrative Code 3901-8-09, prohibits virtually all agent-generated communications with potential clients unless it’s through direct mail or if the potential supplemental insurance client is already a business client. Here are a few examples of how restrictive the current prohibitions are:

  • An agent calling fellow members of a 65+ group at his or her church about purchasing supplemental insurance; 
  • An agent sending a Facebook message about interest in purchasing insurance to someone they graduated from high school with 50 years ago; 
  • An agent approaching a group of seniors enjoying their coffee at McDonald’s and asking them if they’re interested in chatting about supplemental insurance.

Unless the agent has an existing business relationship with these potential customers, all of these interactions violate the current rule in place.    Representative Dean wants to change that.

I’m 67.  I get all of the solicitations from out-of-state call centers.  Most of them are illegal but somehow beyond the reach of the Ohio Department of Insurance.  It is annoying to have my cellphone ring at 7 AM on a Saturday morning.  We (seniors) may not have to answer the phone, but we do have to see who is calling us.  It could be important.  It might be a sick friend or family member.  We need less people hounding us, not more.  We don’t need someone knocking on our door, approaching us in a restaurant, or tracking us down in a parking lot.  Representative Dean thinks that Ohio’s seniors are being deprived of important purchasing opportunities.  And he must think that we are lonely.  Are you?  Are you lonely tonight?


Picture – It’s A Trap – David L Cunix and Ari

They Love Me In Spain

I have two blogs.  You are reading Again? Really?  My first blog, Health Insurance Issues With Dave, started a year earlier.  Some of you visit both sites.  Some read only one of the blogs.  Since the other blog deals specifically with the American health care system, you would think that the readership would be limited to U.S. residents.  That’s what I thought.

My blogs contain links to source information as well as to songs to lighten what can sometimes be a very serious subject.  Since some of the topics on the insurance blog may appear several times, say, for example, the Texas lawsuit that was designed to destroy our health care system,

I often link to previous posts that may have already covered the topic.  About eight years ago I started to notice pingbacks from a site in Eastern Europe.  My blog was being lifted, word for word, and being posted on another website.  Why?  I can only imagine that they were adding content in the hopes to sell ads.  There was nothing I could do.  This went on for a few months until they tired of me and found the work of some other unsuspecting blogger.  Now the website stealing my blog is located in Spain.

The Eastern European site lifted my blog and posted it without changes.  I recently followed the pingbacks to a site based in Spain.  The Spanish site runs my blog through a translator to Spanish and then back to English!  The picture was me, but the post was now called Well Being Coverage Points About Insurance With Dave.  Some of it still makes sense.  Some of it is pure gibberish.  There are still links, but it would be foolish to click on them.  And, what is really crazy, the blog appears to have lots of readers.  I have always wanted to visit Barcelona.  Could you imagine what it would be like to be stopped in the street and greeted by one of my “readers”?

I may joke about my new found fame in Spain, but this is a more serious subject for those outlets that post content as part of their business.  My most recent insurance post dealt with Senator Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) effort to prevent the Biden administration from resolving the Family Glitch, a problem within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  My research led me to an excellent article from Justin Backover of WFMZ TV.  The station is in Allentown, Pa.  I could read his article on the station’s website or FIVE other sites.  The other websites fail to mention either Mr. Backover or his employer.  They simply lifted some or all of his content and are now selling advertising based on his efforts.  Do they get away with it?  Sure.  Who knows where these websites are based?  And their cookies are now in your system.

I have no idea how to address this plagiarism.   Since I don’t sell advertising and these posts are simply for our amusement, it is hard to say how I am being hurt by this.  But it is wrong.  And all the fame I may acquire in Spain or Lower Slobbovia isn’t worth it.


Picture – In Lower Slobbovia – David L Cunix

Hostile Environment

The business owner was very clear.  Frank (name changed) wanted the very best health insurance package I could find for his company.  This was about twenty years ago.   This growing business was a tech company located in greater Cleveland.  He already had over 50 employees, mostly office and warehouse workers.  What he needed was computer talent and he had to convince these high-skilled tech workers to relocate from California to Cleveland.  He had tried to offer competitive salaries, but it wasn’t enough.  He hoped that by offering great benefits, too, they might ignore Ohio’s social climate and come to Cleveland.  Domestic partners, including same sex, needed to be covered.  His goal was to create an oasis here in Cleveland.  He was pitching life-style.

Can a business hide the ugliness outside its doors?  How hard is it to attract and retain good employees when a business is located in an unwelcoming city or state?  How many tax breaks does it take to get a business to locate / relocate to a hostile environment?  We are about to find out.

Due to COVID, we now know that lots of employees, especially tech, can productively work from home.  And home can be anywhere.  Is that a long-term solution?  The taxes may be cheaper in ________, but do you want to live there?

As states rush to change laws that effect any number of personal issues, we are about to see if an employer can create a private oasis within a hostile environment.


Picture – Future Home Office – David L Cunix



I couldn’t decide which was more important, to be emotionally or physically exhausted.  So I went with both.

To be clear, I’m fine.  The family is fine.  Business is great.  My issues are external, many of which are beyond my control.  Understanding one’s frustrations and pain points doesn’t always make the process easier.  At some point I have to work my way through all of this and hope to put these and my clients’ issues behind me.


I mentioned last month that I was beginning to slow down, my first steps to transition my business.  One of the first steps was to move my small group business to partners Carol Fyffe and Angela Elias.   The next step was to secure a new smaller space in my current building now that Jeff is retiring.  I got that done earlier this week.  Now that that has been accomplished, all I need to do is line up the guy to do the wiring, the movers, the phones, the internet, and all of the rest of the stuff that makes an office an office.  I’m looking forward to the day when my To-Do list has less than ten key items.


I have been an agent for over 43 years, long enough to have been in the business when insurance people ran insurance companies.  I met insurance executives and CEO’s in the early years of my career.  I recall them bragging about the claims paid, especially the large and difficult ones.  But insurance companies are now run by MBA’s and bean counters.  Now they are judged by their return on investment.  I’ve been fighting with an insurance company since last July.  My attorney would freak out if I mentioned their name, but I will make sure that neither I, nor any of the agents I mentor, will ever sell one of their policies again.  I have only sold a few.  I have learned that their system is designed to make claims payment difficult if not impossible.  My internal contact wrote, “I apologize that process hasn’t been easy. Unfortunately, we do not have a case management team here.  I will forward your feedback to upper management.”  I begged, pleaded, and shamed the insurer and its flunkies to no avail.  And the insurance company won.  They took the client’s money right up until the day he died and never paid a penny.  I truly regret ever writing the policy and I can only hope that the widow contacts Ohio’s Department of Insurance.  And if they do, I have copies of all of the emails detailing every roadblock the insurer erected.  How can you not be effected by this?


She was waiting for the warm embrace of her friends, and it never came.  She told me that her friends abandoned her, as if her husband’s mid-life crises was as contagious as COVID.  Worse, with COVID the worst that could happen is that you die.  She lived and was forced to experience the loss of her family, her community, and her financial standing.  And as devastating as all of that may be, no one cares!  How dare she complain when families are being torn apart in Ukraine or, closer to home, millions of Americans would change places, in a heartbeat, to suffer her suburban lifestyle?  We talked about the friends that never come, the support that only comes from within.  It is hard to find yourself on an island, ALONE.  Gosh it is disappointing to turn around and find that the people who counted on you have suddenly gone silent.  I suggested that she cut her losses and move on.  Don’t stand by the door or wait by your phone for those friends to show up.  There are no guarantees that you emerge stronger.  It is time to build a new community.


Henry Kissinger once said, ““I formulated the rule that the intensity of academic politics and the bitterness of it is in inverse proportion to the importance of the subject they’re discussing. And I promise you at Harvard, they are passionately intense and the subjects are extremely unimportant”.  Smaller, less impactful organizations engaged in more frivolous, less important subjects can be far more intense than Harvard.  Worse, they seldom have any cachet or even a sweatshirt.


Picture – Sweatshirt / No Logo – David L Cunix




Bridging A Gap One Book At A Time

Our first vacation last year was ten days at Secrets Cap Cana, a beautiful resort in Punta Cana.  This was January 2021, months before we could get our first shot.  The pandemic was raging across the globe.  We were advised at check-in that the guests did not need to wear masks anywhere on the property.  “We wear masks, not you.”  Our health was valued.  The employees?  Not so much.  This was not a race issue.  All of the guests, black or white, roamed the resort without masks.  And so did we, except when we interacted with the staff.  Walking into restaurants, talking with a concierge, or at the front desk, we always wore a mask.  We really weren’t worried that we were going to give any anyone COVID.  It was more a matter of respect.

We spend so much energy dividing ourselves into groups – race, color, religious, class, etc…  Much of this is designed to make us feel that our team is superior to another.  And if the wrong people get into power, that grasping for superiority can be codified into laws with horrible consequences.  The memories of the Holocaust, though almost 70 years ago, are still fresh.  U.S. slavery impacts our politics daily, and the lives of the decedents of the former slaves on a more personal level in ways the rest of us cannot comprehend.  And that brings me to this year’s beach book, “Born A Crime” by Trevor Noah.

Trevor Noah, the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, is a gifted storyteller.  His book tells his story, his childhood in South Africa.  It is both shocking and, at times, hilarious.  Since his father is white and his mother black, he was, literally, born a crime.  It was illegal for the races to mix.  How serious a crime?  It was dangerous for young Trevor to been seen with his father in public.  Both of them could suffer serious repercussions.

The first step in reading Born A Crime was to accept that a government could create and administer such a horrific system as Apartheid in our modern world.  Worse, you have to understand that these race based laws were instituted AFTER World War II.  Young Trevor’s exploits were certainly interesting, but it was the environment in which he lived that made his and his mother’s adventures both possible and necessary.  And yes, he did get pushed out of a moving vehicle.  His mom jumped.

I had difficulty making sense of the inhumanity of the South African regime.  Luckily, I know some people who emigrated to Greater Cleveland from South Africa.  I asked two of them, separately over a couple of lunches, about this book.  Both had read Born A Crime and had found its descriptions accurate and the specific stories plausible.  As one friend noted, “He didn’t Hollywood the story.  It is not exaggerated.”   This, of course, led to me asking what each of them knew and when did they know it.  Both explained how the government controlled their access to news and information, this was before the internet, and that they lived in a bubble.  One of my friends then explained why he and his family left South Africa.  He said that once he understood what was really going on, he had to leave.  He didn’t want to raise his children in that system.

It is funny because I think that I grew up in a similar bubble.  There were huge gaps in my education.  And if certain politicians have their way, entire states will enforce limitations on what can and cannot be taught to our children about issues of race, religion, and discrimination in our schools.  There will not be a gap.  It will be a chasm.

So I urge you to read Born A Crime.  Read it to be entertained.  But also, read this book to become part of the team that makes certain that this book can’t be written sometime in the future about life in the United States.


Picture – It’s Not A Crime To Enjoy This, Yet – David L Cunix






Today is my birthday.  I am 67 years old.  It is purely coincidental that this piece is being posted today.  I would have liked to have had the time to have written and posted this a week or two ago.  I couldn’t.  I was too busy.  Busy is great.  Too busy is not so great.   And I have been too busy for quite a while.

Jeff Bogart and I have shared an office for most of the last 26 years.  That is about to end as Jeff retires.  Sure he is older than me (three hours, his birthday is also today) but I admit that I was surprised by his announcement.  He will be winding down his business over the next month or so.  Not having him around will be strange.

So many of my clients, the people who run or own businesses, have asked me when I was going to retire.   These conversations often took place while we were discussing their pending retirements.  My stock answer was that I had to be dead three years before I can retire.  My friend Larry asked me a different question in December while we were having lunch at Pacific East on Coventry.  He asked me when I planned to slow down.  I told him that I had no idea, that I had no concept of how to slow down.  I immediately regretted the answer.  If I could figure out how to ramp us this business, I should be able to find a way to pull back.  That was the start of my personal transition.  The answer was to look at my small group clients, health insurance policies tied to small businesses.

I put into place a succession plan after my little health adventure in 2016.  My letterhead has a red State of Ohio, the logo of our agency Ohio Health Insurance Partners.  Two of my partners are sisters Carol Fyffe and Angela Elias.  They will be taking over as the servicing agents of my group clients.

The process has been, for the most part, a positive experience.  The clients have been supportive.  Most of the insurance companies have been very helpful.  There are, of course, some challenges.  Most of them are mine to solve.  None of us are irreplaceable.  Understanding that is the first step.  Moving from working to acquire new clients to introducing my clients to a new agent is a huge step.  There are other changes that will impact how I run my agency and, more importantly, who I will insure in the future.

Will this free up some time?  We’ll see.  I am not retiring.  I will still be working with my non-group clients, Medicare, and life insurance clients.  This is a first step.  An important step.  It is the beginning of my transition.


Picture – 15 Years – David L Cunix



It Took A Team

A deer ran into my car.  For the purposes of accuracy and my ego, it is important to state unequivocally that the deer hit me and not the other way around.

  • We were unhurt.
  • The deer was fine.
  • My vehicle suffered $9,600 of damage.

Worse, the deer was uninsured.

We were driving north on SOM Center Road in the early evening of October 6th.  We had been at a lovely outside wedding at Solon Chabad.  We had just turned onto SOM Center when the deer ran into the front left side of the car, bounced off the grille, and kept on running.  I stopped the car to both inspect the damage and look for the animal.  Neither the police nor I found the deer, which was positive.

Carl Vajdich of State Farm was my first call the next morning.  His office quickly started the claim.  Tom Page, my friend, client, and the owner of the best body shop in Ohio, Page’s Body Shop, retired several years ago.  I had no idea where to take the car.  I was directed to Mayfield-Brainard Collision and Paint and Enterprise Rent A Car at Richmond and Wilson Mills.  My Lincoln Corsair is only six months old.  I needed it to be restored to good as new.

It took a little over a month for Mayfield-Brainard to get all of the new parts.  It would have taken much longer but we had one more member of the team, Bertha Carey the Concierge Service Manager at Lincoln Client Relationship Center.  Ms. Carey tracked down the parts and expedited their delivery to the body shop.

I have a Lincoln because my son, Phillip, sells Lincolns.  If he sold Toyotas I’d have a Toyota or a Lexus.  If he sold GM’s I’d probably have a Cadillac.  I’m not old enough to own a Buick.  I’ve had State Farm car insurance for forty years.  Had this been a different vehicle or a different insurer or a different body shop or a different car rental place this story could have been as positive.  It could have been.  I would like to believe that my successful experience isn’t an outlier.  But for today, I am appreciative of the excellent and timely service I received from the entire team.


Pictures – Before And After – David L Cunix

A Lack Of Respect

Oh the joy of Caller ID.  I could feel the beginning of a knot forming in my stomach as I picked up the phone.  It was University Hospital.  The caller was advising me of the need to reschedule an appointment I had made a month ago.  This first appointment had been made with the doctor’s office.  This call was from the scheduling office.  It isn’t the scheduling clerk’s fault that you need to rework your calendar or that you now need to wait another couple of weeks.  The scheduling clerk is just a voice over the phone.  You can make a new appointment or not, express your frustrations or remain silent, or you may choose to fight or just roll over.  The scheduling clerk doesn’t care.  She gets paid no matter what you do.  You made the mistake of believing that either you or your time would be respected.  They aren’t.

I have had two of these calls so far this month.  One of the appointments was for a dietitian.  The new appointment may/may not be virtual.  The scheduling clerk said that it had to be virtual but the email confirmation shows it to be in office.  There is no reason to worry about this today.  University Hospital may be calling me any day now to reschedule this again.  We have until October 8th.

The other rescheduled appointment is more serious, a second opinion.  You contact a specialist, whether it is an oncologist, a cardiologist, or for example, a pulmonologist, at the behest of your medical team, your family, or both.  You do not schedule an appointment with a nephrologist for three weeks from this Wednesday because you have nothing better to do.  And once you schedule that appointment, You Wait.  Rescheduling that appointment, bouncing it back another couple of weeks, ignores your health issues and concerns.  It is as if no one cares.  I am always surprised by this lack of respect.  I wouldn’t operate my business this way, even if I could.

Yesterday’s appointment was with the eye doctor.  OK, he is an O.D. with an office in the mall, but I have been going to him for years and he does a good job.  I responded to his email reminder last month and scheduled my annual visit.  I’ve received numerous reminders about this appointment including THREE this week.  I was there on time.  He wasn’t.  Turns out he doesn’t work on Thursdays.  With all of those emails you might have thought that he might have mentioned that I would be seeing his associate.  I guess I didn’t need/deserve to know that.  The associate performed the exam and after flipping lenses to ask whether Option 1 or Option 2 was clearer, changed my eyeglass prescription.  I don’t know if I am going to get new glasses or wait until I can get another eye exam.  Either way, I won’t be going back.

#          #          #          #          #

The client had a secret.  She had not been vaccinated.  She didn’t actually say that she had been, but she intentionally gave the impression that she had.  And now she was sitting, less than three feet from me, without a mask.  I am, of course, fully vaccinated.  I plan to get my booster next month.  The good news is that her indifference and lack of respect for others could make me sick, but probably won’t result in a hospital stay or worse.  What’s funny is that though I am at risk from COVID due to my age and health history, she is actually at a much higher risk than me due to her multiple comorbidities.  There is no reason to confront her.  She’s done “research”.  I’m OK having unvaccinated people in my office.  We maintain a safe distance of about six feet and we stay masked.   No big deal.  It is the selfishness and lack of honesty that irks me.  All future contact with her will be strictly by phone.

I used to believe that respect was a given.  Now I realize that in certain areas we must demand it.


Picture – I Respect The Webster Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary – David L Cunix

The High Cost Of Convenience


Time for a quick math question:

You are at the grocery store.  The Vidalia onions are 99 cents a pound.  The Cremini mushrooms are $2.99 per pound.  How much is one pound of Vidalia onions and one pound of Cremini mushrooms?

The answer: It depends.

If you go through the self-checkout at the store I frequent, the total is $3.98.  If you have their cashier ring up your groceries and don’t watch closely, there is a very good chance that you will spend $9.98!  The cashier will accidently ring the onion at $1.99 per pound, the higher price for yellow onions.  And the mushrooms?  They will transform, right before your eyes, to Shitakes.

Going to the grocery store shouldn’t be this difficult.  I would avoid this particular grocery store if it wasn’t so damn convenient.  My attorney prefers that I don’t mention the store by name, but you know the chain.  They have lots of locations in my area and their stores are large enough to carry almost all of the stuff I need.  If I stop shopping with them I will need to go to two or three stores to buy our groceries.  And yes, I still visit specialty stores like the Kosher meat market and Trader Joes as needed, but I find myself at the big store a couple of times per week.  And that means that I have the opportunity to get aggravated or ripped off a couple of times every week.  Some days it is only $1 or $2.  Sometimes, if I’m not paying close attention, it can be a lot more.

Take today.  I needed to grab some stuff to make tonight’s dinner.  I noticed that I was being charged $3.99 per pound for bulk garlic.  That would be OK if I was buying garlic.  I wasn’t.  The item in question was a bag of white mushrooms.  I had stayed quiet up to that point.  I had already noticed that she had overcharged me for a bag of onions and the orange pepper.  This was too much.  I pointed out the problem and the cashier started to argue with me.  First she had to inspect the mushrooms.  She didn’t understand how to read her screen and didn’t know which price referred to which item.  She was surprised when the incorrect price came off.  Then she asked me if these were special, Garlic Mushrooms.  I can’t make this stuff up.

I have come to the point where I just have them keep anything that rings up incorrectly, like the bag of Goldfish last week.  I may be ready to give up.  Can that many cashiers be that poorly trained?  Can that many items be incorrectly entered into their scanning system?  At what point does this cross from incompetence to intentional?

The high cost of convenience isn’t just money.  It can also be measured in aggravation.  And it may just be too much.


Picture – A Couple Bucks Here, A Couple Bucks There – David L Cunix