Reading that insurance companies might claim that the volcanic ash incident currently closing UK airspace was an act of God and thus not covered got me thinking of my own experience in trying to phone insurance company helplines.
I pictured something like:
Ring ring, “Welcome to the Acts of God customer service call centre. Your call is important to us, but our operator, whilst omnipotent and omnipresent, is busy right now. Please hold and your call will be answered shortly”
Cue music, then: “Your call is still in a queue. Your call is important to us, but right now we are experiencing a high demand. All calls are recorded on tablets of stone for training purposes”.
More music until just as you start to enjoy it “Your call is still in a queue. If your call is not urgent, you might try our web site at http://www.weknowwhoyouare.com”. Back to the music, but not where you left it.
Then “You may key in your 16 digit account number, followed by the hash key, on your telephone key pad, if you wish to, but we know who you are and what you want, so you don’t have to, but if it makes you feel better and helps pass the time feel free”, and, once again, the music cuts in.
Then a voice interrupts “Yes John, I know you are troubled about me”
Err, well, I’m a bit concerned that you’re not too happy up there? I mean I’ve been chugged down the high street for the victims of the earthquake and the cyclone and now this volcanic eruption has caused my holiday flight to be canceled and the insurance company won’t pay out for my car hire and hotel ‘cos they say it’s an act of God and, well, what can I do?
“John, these are not acts of God, they are a natural disasters, but your insurance company is right; natural disasters are covered in their exclusions. Did I not give you two good eyes to read the small print?”
Well, yes, but the eyes aren’t too good these days .
“And is not self abuse a contributing factor? And were you not warned about this and the consequences?”
Well, maybe you’re right.
“Of course I am right! Now, how may I help you?”
Well I was worried that you were angry or something with all of this trouble around the world, so are we going to have any more acts, I mean natural disasters? I mean what about the general election?
“John, the outcome of the election will not be a natural disaster. It may be a supreme act of folly, but you were not created perfect. I can only hope that you learn from your mistakes and, although you have shown little evidence of being able to do so, I above all must have faith in you to get it right one day. Now, is there anything else I can help you with today?”
Well, no. Thank you.
“You are welcome. You will receive an email within the next 24 hours to give feedback on your experience with our helpline. Goodbye”.