January 30th, 2008

summer reading

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I use a couple of headline gathering services to deliver news to my e-mail every morning on the latest and greatest happenings in the insurance world. It's funny how sometimes the headlines seem to run along a theme. I mean, obviously, there are trends a lot of the time (prices are up, prices are down, there's a flood here, there's an earthquake there) so some days can't help but be themed around a topic. But today's theme was unique. One I've never run across before. The topic?


The first story was about a a postcard mailing gone wild: an insurance carrier had mailed out a notice to its customers about some change to their coverage and printed an incorrect phone number on the mailer. The phone number was for a phone sex line where a conversation cost between $2.49-$3.49 per minute. The target audience for this particular insurer is the elderly, so the insurer was especially horrified when they realized the mistake. It reminds me of the time a colleague and I had set up a conference call with one of our clients, published the call in number to several people, then got a wrong number when we called in. Instead of "welcome to the ___ conference call, press 1 to enter the queue" we heard that boom chicka wow wow music so popular in a certain industry. Then a voice, "Well, hello---". We just about died laughing when that music and voice came on. Then remembered we had given the number we just called to the client and nearly had heart attacks. Thankfully, only we had dialed incorrectly and no one else got the boom chicka wow wow treatment.

The next story was about this website . I'd never have thought to couch the culture of the insurance industry as "sexy", though it is very social. Too many times to count, I've seen deals made because of the relationship between a broker and an underwriter; if another underwriter for the exact same insurance company had been approached, the deal would never have gotten off the ground. Before becoming pregnant, after-work forays to the local watering hole were de rigueur for me (sometimes my husband would join us, too). I kind of miss all that, actually, because I work with some very smart, very funny people. But in the day-to-day press of getting things done, we don't get to relate on a sociable level so sitting around over a few drinks is both a welcome break and a lot of fun. Yet somehow, I just don't see that as "sexy" and I really don't see a whole line of romances popping up set in the world of insurance. Can you imagine it? A series of Boss/Secretary (or to use our terminology, "Executive/Advisor") stories where the characters discuss things like how Personal Injury Protection differs from Medical Payments coverage on a Commercial Auto policy and which states require certain coverages by law? Ooooh yes, tell me more...tell me more!

Yeah, now that's what I call "sexy".

summer reading

She (?) Moves in Mysterious Ways

Just back from the restroom where I saw something...unusual.

Here's the scene from inside a stall:
-Two black marks on the back section of the toilet seat that look like the scuff marks that happen when black soled shoes meet polished floors.
-A diagonal scuff mark* on the left wall just under the t.p. dispenser, same sole-y origin in appearance. (*The low point of the scuff is towards the door, the high point towards the back wall.)
-A couple of other marks on the wall that look like large drops of a light brown liquid that hit, then slowly oozed toward the floor.

I can't seem to come up with a scenario that incorporates these three elements. I mean, why are the scuff marks on the back of the toilet? I would presume if one were standing on a toilet seat, the person would do so in the mid-section of the seat where the surface is the most level. Is the liquid from another, unrelated event? Either way, why would one take what looks to be tea into the stall and not leave it on the large and prominent counter just adjacent to the stall?

Theories? Ideas?