My Ears Were Burning

Loshon hora, or evil speech, is strictly prohibited in Judaism.  We are taught, as children, that Loshon hora hurts not just the subject of the gossip, but that harm is also done to the person who utters Loshon hora and the person who hears it.  Truth is not the issue.  Speaking poorly of someone, even a simple, factual recitation of an individual’s most spectacular failures, is wrong and should be avoided. 

Three victims – the speaker, the listener, and the subject.  It is easy to be victimized by Loshon hora in 2010.  I was last night. 

The red light was flashing on my Blackberry.  I had missed a couple of calls during dinner.  One even left a voice mail message.  I quickly checked the voice mail.  What I heard was a conversation between two guys.  At least one of them has yet to learn how to lock his smart phone. 

My golf buddy, Karl, “ass dials” his family and friends all of the time, often while he is on the course.  These two guys were in a far more private setting.  They talked about many of their mutual friends and all of it was clearly recorded on my voice mail.  I knew that it was my responsibility to erase the conversation, but I couldn’t do it.  Like much of gossip, it was banal, self-serving, and boring.  Yet I listened. 

Three victims – the speaker, the listener, and the subject. 

Were they hurt by the Loshon hora?  Yes in that we are harmed by anything that leads us away from being the best people we can be.  Me?  I was both a listener and a subject, a victim who listened long enough to hear my own name mentioned.  I have no one to blame other than myself.

 I can’t tell you what they said about me.  The voice mail ended soon after I became the subject.  And the truth is that it wouldn’t matter.  The harm was already done.

Pardon Me While I Rant

Roger pushed back from the table, buttoned his jacket, and adjusted his hat.  He was ready to storm out of my office.  His wife, Sonya (both names changed), hadn’t moved, so he just stood there, scowling and shuffling his feet. 

“I just won’t have any insurance,” he said.

“You get a little money and they want to take it away from you,” Sonya added.  “We’ll go without insurance.”

They were really mad.  I didn’t say a thing as they harrumphed their way past my secretary.  I just listened to them bitch.

Door closed?  Are they in the hall?

It’s Not My Fault!  Seriously, it is not my fault.  I am honestly tired of listening to people who blame everyone and everything for their screw-ups.  Yelling at the insurance agent doesn’t replace personal responsibility.  I can’t solve everyone’s problems.  I can’t solve anything without cooperation.

The refusal of this couple to accept responsibility for their actions was typical of the people who have visited this month.  Roger took a buyout four years ago at age 53.  Instead of using his new found wealth as security, as an investment, or as the seed money to open a business, Roger retired.  He hasn’t worked a day in four years.  Sonya continued to work at a factory, which provided their health insurance, right up till her non-work related injury.

They are two fifty-seven year olds that either can not or will not work.  He thinks that it is my fault that his health insurance, the same coverage I have, will cost him $350 per month due to his pre-existing conditions.  Shame on Dave Cunix and Medical Mutual.  Roger deserves free insurance.

No, he doesn’t.

While I am ranting, let’s talk about honesty.  Rates and insurability are determined by underwriting.  The insurance company evaluates the risk.  I try to get as much info as possible, up front, to provide realistic quotes and to match the prospect with the right company.  Even if the client “forgets” to tell me something, the insurer will find out.  This usually results in the client’s policy being declined and me being embarrassed and aggravated.

I called Monday to push on the underwriter.  I had been told that the doctor had mailed Mrs. Carter’s medical records last week.  Can we get her issued?  My contact at the Home Office told me that they were sifting through over 350 pages of information.  Option 1 is that he was exaggerating.  Option 2 is that there were undisclosed conditions.  Your guess?

The underwriter, herself, called me Wednesday morning.  The case had to be declined.  Mrs. Carter had neglected to tell me about five other medical conditions.  FIVE.  How do you forget five conditions?  Why would someone believe that they were going to trick a multi-billion dollar corporation?

Hours of research, follow-up, and meetings – all wasted.  Mr. and Mrs. Carter will come in next week.  Like others before them, they will rail about the system, the insurers, and a former employer.  They would never believe that their actions, their planning, and their honesty were contributing factors.

The inability of these people to qualify for insurance causes me immeasurable stress and eats me up inside.  Their inability to get insurance doesn’t bother enough to tell me the truth and to work with, as opposed to against, the system.

Personal Responsibility.  Honesty.  Ok, I’m done ranting.  We will now return you to our regularly scheduled blog.

By the way, pertinent details have been changed to make the subjects of this piece unrecognizable to you, their families, or even the business people they aggravate.