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How Do I Fix This Mess?

How Do I Fix This Mess?

6 mins 313 6 mins 313

I firmly believe that our lives are all about facing challenging situations and attempting to resolve them. The truth is that many a time, we get ourselves into messy and stressful situations and do not know how to fix them. This is one such story and this is about me.


I worked in the short-term insurance industry for over three decades. Short-term insurance is also called General Insurance or Non-life insurance ( dealing with motor insurance, health insurance, fire insurance and the like) as opposed to life insurance which is long term. As a senior officer, I was charged with various responsibilities that included the settlement of claims.


The story begins with an accident which one of our customers reported to us. The vehicle was a Honda Accord and it so happened that it was being driven from Mumbai to Surat when the accident happened. The vehicle was owned by a company and this company happened to be our very valuable client; they were insuring all their assets with us for many years. We duly asked a professional agency to inspect the damages and provide us with their report so that the loss could be paid quickly. We were keen to please the client as they were giving us a lot of business and had very few claims.


The vehicle in question had a very serious accident and was extensively damaged, and the cost of the repair ran into a couple of lacs of rupees. We proved our efficiency and paid the claim in good time.


This is when the complications began. There was an anonymous complaint made to our Managing Director that the claim was fraudulent and that it had been wrongly paid in connivance with the concerned insurance officer ( that is me). My MD summoned me and asked me about the complaint. I told him that it was false and mischievous and the claim was genuine. However, to be safe, we had the case examined by an expert who reported that the claim appeared to be fraudulent and that the client had not told us the truth. It appeared that the date of the accident had been falsified. The day on which the accident happened, the insurance policy had expired and was not valid.


Thus began my nightmare. A high-level inquiry was started against me to prove that I had full knowledge of the facts of the case and that I had taken money from the client to settle the claim. The facts revealed by the investigator was strongly against me. If proved, I could be sacked!


In my heart, I knew that I had done nothing wrong, but who cares what your heart says? There were a handful of people in the organization who would be happy if I hanged. My MD, at that point in time, was not very sympathetic towards me for reasons known only to him. And he was the decision-maker.


I was doing my best to convince him and other seniors that I had no role to play in the fraud. I tried to meet the owners of the client company, but they were evasive and reluctant to help me out. The noose was slowly, but surely closing around my neck. I was spending sleepless nights and even wanted to put an end to this mess by submitting my resignation. But if I did, it would mean I was admitting my guilt. I could see no escape from the dishonor and discredit I would face. My reputation as an honest officer will be permanently tarnished and I may not get a job anywhere! I had no solutions, only problems. There was none to support or help me, and even my ardent supporters did not want to openly defy the MD.


When all doors are shut for you and you are truly down and out, hoping against hope, then you have no choice but to submit to the will of God, or whatever force you think exists. I did exactly that, resigning myself to my fate.


Then a miracle happened. My company was part of a large conglomerate that had several interests apart from insurance. At the very top, it was run by the family which owned the entire group. The patriarch of the group had passed away a year ago and it was now left to his two sons to run the group. There were rumors of dissension between the brothers that were doing the rounds for some time, but nobody knew what would happen. One morning, all employees of my company were called to the head office for an important announcement. There, our MD announced that the group was being demerged, and businesses will be divided between the brothers. The insurance business will now be under the direct control of one of the brothers. Those of us who were not happy to work for the new management can elect to work for the other faction under the other brother. 


My MD himself had elected to quit our company to work for his favorite brother. Some of my colleagues also went over to the other group, a bigger and better group. I decided to stay back, and that saved me. After the split, one day I was called to meet one of my senior officers. He pulled out a file from his drawer and gave it to me. I noticed that it was the file relating to my case, the accident. He told me that I could take the file and burn it. He also confided that it was a witch-hunt against me that the former MD had initiated and a majority of the officers knew that I was innocent. I was free now.


Do you see how sometimes problems get resolved? We constantly pride in ourselves that we can find resolutions to anything, we are so very confident about our capabilities. Our Ego gets the better of us. We forget that there are forces stronger and wiser that work to keep us going. When you fail to find the desired resolution, your ego is crushed and you admit to yourself that you are a mere mortal, a weakling. You then give up and submit to the higher forces. And, if you are really innocent and true, these forces come to your aid in their own strange ways.


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