Monday, November 10, 2008

Surprise Resolution

Have you ever worked really hard on something for a long time and seemed to find resistence and experience slow progress at every turn? I'm sure you have, but if not, try filing a complicated and lengthy insurance claim sometime!

After the recent burglary of my home, I was forced into undertaking this major project to file the insurance claim. A lot of items were stolen in the burglary, some rare and 'exotic' as the insurance company put it.

The burden, of course, was on me to document everything taken, prove that I'd actually owned it and come up with purchase costs, dates, etc. It was a huge project.

I'm an extremely organized and detail oriented person. I'm also a compulsive record keeper! I actually pulled together most everything the insurance company needed within a week of the burglary. The exception was around my rare, antique items. Those took more time to research.

I move quickly on any project I undertake. I tend to get, shall we say 'frustrated' when others don't move as quickly as I do! I worked hard internally to remember that I was not the only person filing a claim with this insurance company at the time and that I needed to be patient. Patience is a virtue, but it is not something I have an abundance of!

As the process unfolded, I learned many things I didn't know about exclusions, limits and procedures that I had no idea were a part of my policy. A word of advice: Sit down with your insurance agent and get a full understanding of your insurance policies! It can save you a large, protracted headache should you ever need to file a claim!

Each new learning that I experienced produced more work for me to do. Each time I provided updated information to the insurance company I had to wait for them to enter the information into their system and get me an updated status on the claim. Turn around times were often quite slow.

At 6 weeks into the process I was informed that in order to actually get the 'replacement value' in my policy, I needed to actually replace the items and provide a receipt to prove that I had done so. By 6 weeks in, I had replaced many of the stolen items, but had no idea that I needed to provide the receipts to the insurance company. I had already proved I owned the items, and given them the current replacement cost for each item. This revelation created a mountain of work for me, which I plowed into with my usual abandon.

Time can seem to stand still when you really want something to be accomplished. We've all heard the saying about the watched pot never boiling.

I was a bit like this with my insurance claim. I did everything I could, as quickly as I could, but kept meeting obstacles, new requirements, delays that were outside of my control and the occaisional mistake or misunderstanding.

A good sized sum of money hung in the balance, and as I was spending fast and furious to replace stolen items, fix my car that was stolen, repair the door that was kicked in, etc. money was a bit scarce. I needed and wanted to settle this claim and get paid!

It seemed like it woudl go on forever. Last week I had submitted quite a lot of paperwork to the adjuster, and felt that at that point we were very close to being 90% settled on the claim. Once he got that information input, all we needed were the antiques and rare items to be resolved and I was close to having all the information needed for that.

I was expecting it to take another couple weeks. I was a bit disheartened.

Then something happened. Everything seemed to break loose and start to move. WIth one call and a couple faxes from the insurance adjuster, and a few return calls and emails from me... suddenly... we were DONE!

It was like a lightning strike! All that work. All that frustration. All that waiting. All that EFFORT. It seemed like the road still stretched out before me and that I had a long way to go. Suddenly I was there!

It was a little shocking actually! It happened so quickly at the end.

I was reminded of how often this is true, that an endeavor takes so much effort to get it moving and underway and then requires less energy to keep it in the air. A jet airliner uses a large % of it's fuel at take off, but keeping it in flight requires less comparitively speaking.

So many times during this process, I was afraid I wasn't going to get what I wanted or needed from the insurance company. There were scary moments when I didn't think i had what I needed to satisfy their requirements. There were other moments where I doubted their sincerity or their willingness to be fair.

Then, in that gloriously blazing moment at the end - everything came together and I got exactly what I wanted and needed. I got what was fair.

It was a great reminder once again, that when slogging through a difficult or long endeavor, it is important to have faith that it will come to completion and it can turn out ok!

I'm relieved and feel liberated in a way. Liberated both from the cumbersome process I've been involved in, and liberated from some of my tyrannical thinking that can keep me feeling frustrated and stuck, when in actuality progress is being made!

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