Soon after the flood waters receded, Moose Lake officials were quick to call a town meeting to inform the devastated public of the true impact of this historic event. On my way to the gathering I came upon Sean, my insurance agent, who was busy moving furniture into his temporary quarters on Main Street. Even insurance companies were not immune to the undiscerning ravages of an overflowing lake — Moose Lake Independent Insurance Agency, formerly located on Arrowhead Lane, saw its building become overwhelmed with floodwaters.
As I was walking by Sean called out, “If you need us, we’re going to be located here for a while.”
“Oh, you got flooded, too?” I brilliantly deduced. “What did you do, call yourself?”
Sean chuckled at my wisecrack, one of the few heard that day, for what happened to Moose Lake and many surrounding communities was certainly no laughing matter.
I reflected on the tough job that Sean and his fellow insurance agents were facing. They undoubtedly would be inundated with flooded out homeowners who wondered if their losses would be covered. Flood insurance is often unavailable for homes located in a flood plain or too expensive to purchase. This is not a good time to be an insurance agent, I thought to myself. For the most part, they are going to have mostly bad news to dish out to their policyholders.
I reflected back on the previous year and on the car accident that fractured my vertebrae and broke my sternum. I thought if there was ever a time that insurance companies needed some upbeat publicity, it would be now. I normally am not in the habit of sanctioning individual businesses or companies, but in this instance, I felt something needed to be said about my agency.
Every Monday morning on our way back to St.Paul, my wife and I would pass this huge billboard that proudly states “Auto Owners Insurance: Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Insurance Claims Four Years in a Row.” More than once I stated to my wife that I could see why.
Moments after I rolled my beloved 2004 Toyota Corolla, several of my hunting buddies were on the scene. My friend from Texas later told me that the first words out of my mouth were, “God, I loved that car.” By the next afternoon, an Auto Owners’ agent was on the phone asking for details so they could quickly process a claim. Although they could never bring back my esteemed Corolla, within a few days I received what I felt was more than a fair price for the car. For the next six months, every medical expense was promptly paid, including the mileage for the many trips to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Although my physical outcome had a positive ending (my back and sternum fully healed), this time could have been much more stressful if the insurance company had not been as exceedingly helpful as they were.
I thank the adjuster in St. Cloud who followed through in every instance of processing my claim for going above and beyond the call of duty. She always asked my wife, “How is he doing?” She also was the one who informed us about our eligibility for the time and travel expenses involved. But here is the real kicker — she began to inquire about our work status. My wife mentioned that I was retired and that she worked full-time as manager/editor for a publishing company.
“So you work full-time and he takes care of all the household duties and so forth?” she queried. “Well then, he qualifies as a disabled homemaker.”
I was more than adequately reimbursed for the inability to perform my homemaker duties for I was indeed disabled. For the next six months I was ordered to sit in my chair with a very restrictive turtle shell wrapped around me, while my body healed itself. I felt almost tortured as I followed doctor’s orders: No lifting, no pulling, no pushing, no prolonged standing, no working and so on. But thanks to a helpful insurance company who always looked out for my best interest, a very stressful time for me and my wife was alleviated by their priority of taking care of the customer. Every time I shared this story with friends, the response was always the same, “Who’s your insurance company?”
I also thank Sean, Kari, and Chris down at Moose Lake Independent Agency for treating me for the past 20-some years, not just as a customer, but more like a friend. You’re the best.