Thursday, July 1, 2010

Modern Protection Rackets

The insurance trade is a racket a Sicilian Mafioso would be proud of; extortionists given legal status while runnning a numbers game. I'm not trying to say they aren't necessary, but things are a bit out of whack. Their prices have been driven to new hieghts by people who make excessive claims for every damn thing. Then there's the fact that while competition appears fierce, which should lower prices, it costs a ton of money to advertise like most companies do.

All that having been said, I have been paying protection money to my insurer for more than ten years. They are a great outfit; inexpensive, professional, and have consistently provided me with great customer service during this, my first claim with them. The only negative experience I had from them was the rudeness of the subcontractor they sent to deterimine whether the bike was a total loss or not. And he was just the type of guy to come off rude on the phone. His total value of the bike was accurate and fair, so it was a moot point.

Today the protection racket that represents the interests of the driver of the car that hit me called me directly. I was at work, so I didn't get to pick it up. The representative of the young lady's extortionists left a message stating that I should call her back, as they were not accepting any responsibility beyond 50% for the incident. She added a few more 'facts' and told me to call her back again, as she knew it was approaching the holiday weekend, and 'we' needed to wrap the claim up in under forty-five days.

I am not a hothead. Or rather, while my internal monologue could be characterized as that of a hothead, I rarely let the anger sharks swim free at the surface for everyone to see. Upon hearing the message, my blood started to boil. I took some deep breaths, tried to ignore the morons in court, and thought it through.

My thought process went something like, 'I ain't calling them back. They just want me to engage by calling me direct. Want to record me saying something contrary to my earlier statements or just get me uncomfortable and ready to settle for this bullshit. Fuck that.'

At the next break I called my extortionists, who were most kind, and told me, "Your thoughts are precisely correct, I do not see how they think they will gain anything from going to arbitration, which we will go to, as we stand behind all the evidence pointing to her 100% responsibility for the incident. And no, you do not have to call them back. Not at all."

Having the Godfather tell me they were gonna take 'em to the mattresses was a great relief me. I see now why the rackets have always flourished: When caught between powers, it is good to have someone looking out for your interests, even if they only do so when they see advantage in it.

For now, I'll fagettaboutit...

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