Last night after I got home from my writing class, I saw a letter from our (home + car) insurance company. It had been forwarded from our old address, so the date on the letter inside was nearly a week old. The two-page letter informed us that we had been denied homeowners insurance.
In reading through and trying to sort out what was up, a couple of things caught my eye:
- They hadn’t received some document they needed
- We still had coverage for nearly two months
Instead of losing my shit (which, honestly, I probably would have done when I was younger), I calmly sent a nice but urgent e-mail to our insurance agent, explaining the letter I’d received and asking what steps we need to take to clear this up.
This afternoon we spoke, and it turns out it was a very simple error involving a file that was improperly attached to an email. That might bug some people, but it also turned out that it happened in part because my agent had been out on leave for a serious family emergency. The office was understaffed, and he wasn’t there to follow up because, you know, serious family emergency.
Here’s the thing – he sorted out what needs to be done, gave me a plan of action, and assured me that it would all be sorted out in time to ensure there would be no lapse in coverage. And I think he seemed genuinely appreciative that I didn’t lose my shit. Yes, things could have been handled better, but the outcome in the end is that we’ll have insurance and it will have cost me the time it took to send and email and make a five-minute follow-up phone call. That’s it.
And it was a good reminder of two things:
1. I really don’t ever know what other people are going through if they don’t tell me, and I don’t gain anything from assuming the worst. If I had gotten all rage-y, the outcome might have been the same, but my agent would have felt even worse than he does. To me, this was just a really good reminder that the starting point shouldn’t be anger. Sometimes it’ll get there (and rightfully so), but for me, it’s more productive to just assume the best in a situation and then go from there. I don’t always do that though.
2. Mistakes matter, but what you do to fix them is really what I’m interested in. No one likes fucking up, but man, if you are genuinely interested in making things right (and it isn’t, like the 50th time you’ve fucked up in the exact same way), that matters way more.