I am working the front desk at an Allstate insurance agency this summer, and we get our fair share of interesting clients, including some that will freely disclose the fact that they were recently released from prison or talk for hours about how they couldn't believe bumping into a car would split the whole bumper (both of which happened today, by the way).
Also today, a man came in with two checks wanting to know if I could do anything for him. Being the rookie I am (I've worked there for a week now), I looked up the policies under his name only to find them all canceled. I told him I would get another agent to help me figure out how to apply his payments to these canceled plans, if possible. My co-worker comes out and explains what and when he needs to pay again in order to reinstate two of the three policies. We were able to reinstate one right on the spot because it had canceled only at 12:01 this Monday morning.
As she explained this to him, he began talking about why he hasn't been able to pay his insurance. He is currently unemployed, one of many in the Anderson area that is suffering from the GM plant's decision to make cuts in their amount of employees. His wife, from what I understand, was a teacher of some sort in Anderson who lost her job as well. She will be starting a new job in the deli/bakery section at Meijer in a few weeks, which is better than nothing but definitely not a way to use her skills and training. He also said that she is working on her third degree.
He went on to explain his situation in looking for a job. He has been unemployed for about two months now, and he is about to stop receiving unemployment checks. He only recently was able to get an interview scheduled through vocational rehabilitation and to meet with people about welfare, medicaid, and food stamps. He said that all these procedures have been ridiculously delayed and slow in response. Hearing him talk more about it all, I could see that the system by which the government handles these issues is inadequate. He was in his interview for welfare and food stamps hearing them say to him that they will get back to him in a few weeks about how they can help him. Who knows if it will actually take that long or longer. Either way, he needs money now. Who's going to help him with that immediate need?
Unfortunately, Allstate can't give him money, especially after his lack of payment to them, but I saw one of my co-workers truly trying to help this man and his family. He had explained to her that he should have money in time for the next payment, but she assured him that if he could not get the money, that he should contact her a few days before the due date and she would try to put a stall on it.
This man almost came to tears a few times in talking about all the stuff going on in his life, and there was really nothing we could do about it, but my co-worker still consoled him and made sure that he knew we were caring for him in the best way that we could. I have never really seen any business like that before, and it made me feel a little more confident in small business interactions and simply the values that my agency holds. It's cool, and I'm not one who thinks things like insurance are that cool.