Friday, 6 February 2009


I need to have a small rant, which of course may turn into a big one, but hey it's my rant....

I recently took out a mortgage. The bank advised me to have life insurance to work alongside it. Although as the amount on my mortgage was so small it didn't matter really to them whether I had it, or not.

Fine, I'd never thought I was going to get life insurance again having had breast cancer anyway.

So the forms were all filled in. Eventually the Insurance company decided they needed more information about my health. Fair enough, although they had already been told about the cancer and the fact I'm on Thyroxine for low Thyroid levels and will be for the rest of my life.

The GP surgery prepared the form, I went along to check it. It was very extensive , included stuff about my mother's death from an unrelated cancer 23 years ago. But what the...

This information was sent, but apparently not enough they needed more information.

And now they have sent me the proposal, which has really upset me. So before I come onto that I want to say something about breast cancer.

When a woman has had breast cancer she is generally, after all the initial treatment, whatever that is, given a drug like Tamoxifen for the next five years. This drug is an oestrogen inhibitor to reduce the risk of recurrence and protection for the other breast. After five years of being on this, and being symptom free, she is considered to be cured of breast cancer and the tablets stop.

In my case my breast cancer was DCIS, that is the very beginning of cancerous changes, so small that pre surgery I had to have a wire inserted in my breast to mark the spot where the lesion was. In my first operation I had a lumpectomy and lymph node removal. The lymph nodes were clear. But unfortunately the margin wasn't clear so I had a further lumpectomy. Again this wasn't successful because although the cancer was minuscule to was scattered in my breast, so it was an easy decision to have a mastectomy. What it did mean was three, two of them major, operations in eight weeks!

Because of the nature of the cancer and how quickly it had been caught then I didn't need either chemo or radiotherapy. And was put on Tamoxifen.

As far as I'm concerned I have no breast tissue left to get cancer in on one side of my body, and the other hopefully the drugs are doing their job of protecting me. Which of course doesn't mean I'm complacent and I regularly check myself.

I've made the assumption that in January 2011 I will be taken of the drugs and given a discharge by my Consultant and that will be me done.

So back to those bastards at the insurance company. Their proposal was that I could pay £60 a month for the next four years and then whooppeedo, it would be reduced to £14 a month...... What the fuck!

So the medical profession consider I will be cured by 2011, but the insurance company see me as a liability until 2013. Plus I do not think they have considered correctly what happened to me, in terms of having what turned out to be a radical mastectomy for DCIS and not requiring any further treatment. Is there something I don't know?

The whole episode has upset me. I think and feel, on top of dealing with the cancer issue,( well alright just at the moment!!!) So I phoned them up to talk it over, as I felt it was too upsetting to write it all down, and I couldn't be bothered truth be told.

So yesterday I asked if I should speak to the young man who answered the phone, or was their someone more suitable to listen to me. He the cocky bastard, said talk to him. I revealed all of this to him. It may seem easy from writing it here. But it wasn't easy to tell. The only reason it's easy now, is cause I'm so angry. So when I'd finished telling him this, and expecting to be asked questions, and a possible review of their proposal, he just said, I'll cancel the application then. Which left me speechless at the callousness of his behaviour.

Now I know I could take this further and complain. But I won't, not because I can't. I am well capable of complaining, but because this just feels abusive and for me to continue, would make me feel further abused. And frankly I don't need to do that to myself about a subject that at best I'm ok with, and at worst find distressing beyond words.

So now I've offloaded all this to you, and this seems the very best place to say it, as I know that you will understand, even if you haven't had cancer , but because you are understanding and caring people. You may tell me I need to do more, you may not. But whatever you say will be said with love and not some mindless spotty oik in an insurance office far away.

If you've got this far, thank you for listening.

Snow has got me so no weekend away for me!


CheekyDani said...

Oh God. I am not sure I have the words for you to give a proper response quite yet my dear. But having just been traumatised by losing a friend to breast cancer (and I probably would be anyway but now it's particularly close to my heart), I'm incensed for you. Furious. Will try to come back and be more practical and supportive later, but for now I'm upset for you. x

Fire Byrd said...

Dani, you are a love.

I'm sorry that it caught you with your own feelings. I feel now I've written it down I can leave it .

I didn't think I'd ever get life insurance so it's no loss to me now. I just needed to not hold onto horrid feelings about insurance companies I've got better stuff to feel upset about!!!
big hugs

CheekyDani said...

You're a good lady Ms Byrd. You don't need to apologise to me, these things will come up and it's good for me to deal with them in terms of my own healing process.

I guess if you were to take something from this is that you can get insurance?? But yes, insurance companies are all wankers, sorry if anyone works in insurance but it's just been my experience.

Big hugs to you honey, enjoy your stint away. x

e said...

I hate to use expletives (sp?) but you were screwed and not nicely, either!

I am so sorry! Insurance people are the pits, only concerned for their bottom line!

The only other thing I know is that in my case, the cost is much higher than your quote and the only reason I have that is from an old job. Otherwise, no-one will look at me and legally there is nothing to do about it.

I hope you stay well. Is the national healthcare any good? We hear horror stories on this side of the pond, mostly because insurance company lobbyists and the medical people are afraid of losing their profits...

Take Care and Hugs!

karen said...

dear Byrd, very uncaring and traumatic event for you...I feel for you xxxx
so glad you have your lovely weekend away, to take your mind off things! have a virtual hug & enjoy your time away...

Sage said...

{{hugs}} why is it that faceless men on the phone can behave like that beggars belief. Just because you have had breast cancer and had it treated doesn't make you a bigger risk that the woman who hasn't been diagnosed yet. And what made him the expert?

Sorry you are having a bad time, enjoy the seaside (if you can get there) and enjoy our support.

Unknown said...

There is a word for the little shit you spoke to at the insurance company - it's "fuckwit". What a complete tosser. Do you have a consumer organisation that you could complain to? Or could you write to the press? I would - not because you want to put yourself through all that, but so that neither you nor anyone else has to go through that again and so that plonkers are educated and made aware.
I worked for a major life assurer and I know that they can be complete plonkers. It's all based on actuarial statistical analysis - and has blow all to do with real people, real life and real issues. And in any event, at the end of the day their interest isn't you - it's their profit margins.
I am so sorry you had to go through such an awful experience.

By the way, there's a little something for you over at my place.

Miss Robyn said...

I am un-insurable. They won't touch me. I filled out forms, had my doctor fill out forms..we sent them off... but no, they don't want to know me....

as to the snow... send some down here.. tomorrow, I will be living in the hottest place on Earth.. it is expected to reach 47 degrees C... about 125F... it would be cooler in Hades. But of course I won;t complain in fear of Anonymous again ;) xoxo

J.J said...

I am fucking fuming just reading about your experience. Bastards, bastards, bastards.

Give me the little shits number - in fact publish it on here and we can all give him a call and have a 'word in his shell like'.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Absolute Bastard! Hugs for you, BG x

janis said...

Fire Byrd~
I think that those people that work in Customer Service need to be taught compassion!
I had a similar experience with a careless meanie but it was with the phone/internet/dish provider. I wont bore you with the details but he had me in tears by his callus behavior. I ask him for a supervisor and in turn was given voice mail. I caught the supervisors name in her message, and persistently called back till I reached her (4 days later). She correctedc the problem & APOLOGIZED for the rudeness of the CS rep.
Seriously, how can people be so cruel? Do you wonder if they are that rude in their personal life? I can't imagine. I couldnt do that kind of job.
I am so sorry for your experience. Cancer is such an emotional and cruel diesese. As I am dealing with my little pre-cancerous cells in my cervix I get so frightened and sometimes wish they would just yank my cervix out rather than continue these LEEP surgeries and "rechecks". I am constently wondering what looms in the future with it. When I had my lumpectomy many years ago, I felt such relief.
Vent all you want here, we are here to listen, pray and love you.

Sorrow said...

All I want to do is Growl,
at the twit.
Good for you
not putting yourself thru anymore SHIT
with that lousy company.
Wish there was a way you could put it out there for women, so they could avoid that kind of trauma...

Angela said...

I am with Vanilla and Janis - Have a word with the superior, fight back! My husband often has to do with insurances (not like in your case, but with car accidents) and he always gets this EXPRESSION on his face when he hears one of the guys have flatly refused a payment again! He says I have long ago given up arguing - I write or call them saying "You got one last chance: You accept my conditions - or I`ll sue your company, (mentioning your name), so that the whole thing will become A LOT MORE EXPENSIVE for you - and believe me, you WILL lose! And that means bad press for you, too."
They sometimes try to wiggle out, but in most cases they back up. They don`t expect resistance!! But the older I get, the less patience I have with such methods of intimidating people. Your arguments are perfectly valid. So don`t you know a good lawyer?!!!

Annie Wan said...

i'm with j-j

just let me at him! grr

Cheryl Cato said...

Good Grief! I'm so sorry you had to deal with all this nonsense. I pretty much detest insurance companies; it seems that many times they don't do their job.
It probably would not matter much but I think I would take the young man's behavior to a higher level. He needs training to show compassion with potential clients if for no other reason than it is good business practice. Yuck, yuck, yuck!!! I just don't trust insurance companies. And didn't the guys mother teach him basic manners?

Lori ann said...

Don't let them upset you Byrdie, don't let them take any more of your day.
There is some good advice here, i know you will figure out just what to do.
hugs xx lori

trousers said...

I hope you feel better for your rant, because this must have been such a frustrating episode - and it's not good when such things happen, they can take you right back to the place where these things hurt so badly in the first place.

But to me this post appears to have been written from a strong place, in which although you've had a taste of those feelings, you're very much above and beyond them: there's just something about the way you've written it.

I certainly hope that's the case, and that the anger and frustration that this has brought up, will soon dissipate.

Hugs x

Mel said...


The good news is you've elected not to let rent free in your head.

Go with it where you will, do what's right for you.
But keep precious closer to your heart than HIM.

*shaking head*

As if we're not dealing in enough 'ickiness'?

I'm gonna hang on to 2011 and no more Tamoxifen! :-)

Middle Ditch said...

Don't mention insurance to me. Up to here with that lot. Money grabbers.

I do have a life insurance. That insurance is for those left behind when I'm dead and dead I will be one day. BUT because I am a smoker they will only pay out so much. Does that make sense? Not to me.

Chin up lovely, keep going.

Pam said...

Oh Byrd! I'm so sorry for what you've been going through lately. I have read this and caught up with your previous posts, and am sending you a big big cyberhug.My mum had breast cancer (breast removed) , and a single-mother friend is beginning to feel isolated from the three sons she was once very close too.Another has had phone battles such as you have described, and has been in tears. Dealing with this last issue first,S. had decided to take it further and deal with the supervisors.Each time she gets to the crying stage, she explains that, as she is upset, she has to stop at this point and will ring again.They are familiar with her now, try to be more accommodating and understanding, and know she will not give up,and (different issue to yours)is going to Tribunal. She has not had to deal with the first young man again,ever, but speaks directly to those higher up. S. has decided, unpleasant as this is, she will persist.We, her friends, are her support group.Hers is a pensions bureaucracy.The first young man's calloussness and rudeness and S's persistance proved that their claims of overpayment were wrong, but there is no apology and she has to fight it.Most people take the first upsetting rebuff because it is all too much. Give them what for. Say, I intend to take this further. As for the boys, men are emotionally so different from women. They were once beautiful boys, so she longs for decent daughters-in-law eventually, as she confides in my daughter hopefully (it 'aint going to happen!).Life's battles. I'm with you.My friends are at this point, particularly not being heard.Friends will listen.I didn't want to change this to about me and my experiences dear Byrd,rather to let you know that you are not isolated. My daughter worked in cancer care, and saw people in tears, who thought they had top cover for medical issues. The insurance companies were ruthless,simply saying,these clients (after paying for years) should have read the fine print and gone into this more.She left eventually in anger and disgust.

Barbara said...

You deserve to be angry. This is a case where you're damned if you do and damned if you don't and a victim of the insurance industry either way. I'm sorry you have to be subjected to such treatment.

Cait O'Connor said...

I have had breast cancer but have never applied for an insurance policy. I hate insurers,

I am so angry on your behalf that words fail me.

justme said...

Your experiences left me feeling so angry that I could not even comment when I first read this. Sometimes I wonder what on EARTH people are thinking about when they come up with this stuff. Is that how they would like to be treated??

Walker said...

Insurance companies are more vulture that philanthropists.
I guessthey want as much as they can from you.
Tell the bastards you'll call them back and tell them you'l pay the 60 iiif they refund the difference in 2011.
I bet they don't.