My car insurance is with one of those small insurance companies which you can't contact directly---you have to go through a broker---and we recently moved our homeowner's policy there as well. Their rates are unbeatable and in the 10+ years we've been working with them, we've had nothing but good experiences with the customer service.
Until now. While trying to add my recently-purchased instrument to the policy, I was told I needed an appraisal, which is fair enough and standard procedure.
"I actually have a document from the maker certifying the value and that it belongs to me. Is that good enough?"
"Yes, that's fine."
"Oh, and it's in Italian. Is that all right?"
"Sure, as long as the dollar amount is clear."
The form gets faxed; several days later I get a call back.
"Sorry, the insurance company won't accept a document in Italian, but they'll reconsider if you can provide a translation."
"Does it have to be an official, certified translation, or can I just do it myself?"
"Let me check and get back to you."
Several days later:
"Never mind, the Italian document is okay, if you can provide a price list from the merchant's website or something." What do they think this is, Amazon.com? I get a price list from the dealer and fax it back.
Today, I call back to see if they now have all the necessary documents.
"So, the price list you provided...it's in Italian, and they won't accept that."
"No, the appraisal is in Italian, and they said that was okay since the amount is pretty obvious, as long as I provided a price list."
"Yes, but the price list has to be in English."
"It IS in English!"
"No, it's in Italian."
"That's impossible. I don't have a price list in Italian."
"But I'm looking at it right now, and it's in Italian..."
"It says, 'End user prices for Claudio Rampini's stringed instruments year 2007'. Do you see that?"
"Are you talking about the words 'Stradivari' and 'Guarneri'? Those are names. Those are the names of the violin models."
"Well, they have to have a document in English."
"This document IS IN ENGLISH!!!!!"
"Well, they won't accept it..."
"Is it because the prices are listed in euros?"
Long pause...it really seems to me like the representative is trying to figure out what a euro is.
"Yeah, they need to have a price list in English with the value of the violin in English."
"It IS in English!!! It's just that the currency is in euros. Do you want me to look up the current euro-dollar exchange rate?"
"No, they need a document in English. With English currency. Err, American currency. Can't you just go to a website and print out a new price list?"
"It's not like that. The maker works out of Italy. He doesn't sell his violins off a website."
"Oh, you bought the violin in Italy?"
"No, I bought it in the U.S., through a dealer, but the price list is in euros because the maker is in Italy. Has [company name] really never insured property whose value is stated in foreign currency?"
"Well, we've never encountered this before."
"I can try to get a new price list, but I'm pretty sure the dealer or maker is just going to take the document and multiply the numbers by the euro-dollar exchange rate. I really don't see why this is a problem."
"Hold on, let me call them back."
Long pause while I'm put on hold. It's a good thing this is my last day at work and I don't have anything better to do than argue about the meaning of the word "English".
"Okay, they're reviewing the document again. I'll get back to you."
To be continued...
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