An Open Letter to My Insurance Company:

Dear Company,

This is Jairus. You may remember me from a claim I filed over two months ago. As you may recall, I injured my leg while I was at work, and although I am not seeking workman’s comp related damages for this claim, I had asked for coverage under the ‘Short Term Disability’ coverage that I have with your organization.

This is taking some time. In the interests of resolving this situation quickly, allow me explain my situation to you.

As you may know, I earn twelve dollars an hour. After deductions for EI, CPP, taxes, insurance premiums, and various other costs, I receive an average of twelve hundred dollars take-home pay. I don’t know if you are familiar with the costs of living in Ottawa, but this income rate puts me beneath the poverty line, meaning I live month to month, or am ‘poor’. Having been without pay for over two months, therefore, is a problem to me. Not having any money would be my first problem, most of my other problems follow directly from that.

I cannot afford to take a cab to my doctor’s for continued monitoring of my injury. I cannot afford to purchase a leg brace which I have been prescribed by said doctor for treatment of my injury. Food supplies are reaching critical levels, and most of the food I own I cannot eat due to a pressing dental surgery need, for which I have no money. I am receiving threatening notices from my utility companies in a variety of colours which state in no uncertain terms that I must remit hundreds of dollars. This, although quite threatening indeed, is overshadowed by the fact that I owe my landlord a sum that is orders of magnitude larger, which if left unresolved will eliminate any need for paying future utilities, as I will not have a house to live in.

In short, this knee injury is ruining my life. If this pattern continues, it is not unreasonable to expect that I will eventually end up homeless, without the ability to receive the medical attention I require to recover fully.

The fear of a chain of events of this nature is what led me to purchase insurance coverage, some many months ago. In the event that I was unable to work, I thought to myself, an insurance policy will take care of my immediate financial needs, while allowing me to take care of my injury, so that I am able to return to work.


This cannot be allowed to continue. Every day that you stall for more information, hoping that my claim is frivolous or without grounds, hoping that I’ll tire of endless calls, faxes, forms, and touch-tone telephone prompts, my chances of permanent damage rise to approach certainty. Perhaps worse, every day that passes is another day where I lose access to critical resources, and accrue unreasonable and unnecessary debt.

This has to end. Soon.

I hear my bones grinding, the sound of dead wood escaping my skin. My reflection isn’t who I think I am, eyeballs looking out from grey, boney sockets, and a week’s worth of growth when I swear I shaved yesterday.

Seven in the morning, and another night without sleep.

9 thoughts on “hmm….

  1. That is a very well-written, eloquent and moving letter. It’s hard for me to believe that this has dragged out as long as it has. I hope things change soon. Let me know if you want me to write a letter too.

  2. and for once at 7am i was the one asleep…but i was without you.

    i’m awake now
    seems you’ve just gone to bed

    i miss you.
    i miss walking with you.
    i miss being able to afford dinner out with you.

    i hate this.

  3. Given that you’re not a hot-headed screamer, how about … making this a little bit more public? There’s quite a few options:
    – the Ontario Health and Safety people just finished up an ad campaign last year about safe jobs. Making the comment that this is entirely in line with it should help them open their eyes.
    – what about the Ombudsman ? If this is taking too long, maybe there’s an impartial observer that needs to take note.
    – speaking of impartial observers, what about calling up someone at the Shitizen or the Ottawa Slum … I mean the Ottawa Sun (with it’s grade 6 reading level, it should cater more to blue collar workers than the grade 8 reading level of the Citizen) and seeing if they want to do a story for their “City” section ??

  4. . . . with it’s grade 6 reading level, it should cater more to blue collar workers . . .


    I have some issues with that statement.

  5. while I agree that the sun has a grade 6 reading level (actually, as journalists, we’re taught to write at a grade 4 level for print and grade 2 for tv and radio), it’s just that you’re comment could interpreted as saying that blue collar workers can’t read beyond a grade 6 level.

    which, as I assume most can logically infer, is untrue.

    mostly your comment came off as, well, insulting.

  6. The point was to try and get something written somewhere where it would get either the most favourable response or the greatest impact (impact here refers to journal impact, which is traditionally measured in terms of citations).
    The choice of the Sun over the Citizen was suggested as a greater number of readers would be able to read it as it features (!!) a lower reading level. The intended audience is supposed to be people who would also potentially be in those situations where they would need to hit up WHMIS or WHSB up for a claim (seeing as Jairus noted that he wouldn’t be hitting up Worker’s Comp), who are more commonly blue collar workers.
    While, on second glance, it does indeed look like a connection was made between the lower reading level and blue collar workers, it wasn’t done intentionally. Having spent 6-8 years working in blue collar jobs (house renovation, construction sites, etc) I could attest to the more than adequate reading level of my former coworkers. The predisposition of said coworkers to read the Sun as opposed to the Citizen is incidental and unrelated to the reading level of the newspaper, and has more to do with the format (the Sun is a single entity, and requires less space to read) than anything else.

  7. Though you have no idea who I am, while scolling through people’s journals, and yours,
    anyway, if there is anything I or others can do, ask.

    (ok, i’m not sure if that sounds creepy,..but if there is anything I can do let me know )

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