I’m pretty sure Insurance Companies aren’t allowed to do this to my 3-year-old

Actual Insurance Ad: To give you peace of mind, this man will hold an umbrella over you while trying to look down your elderly wifes blouse.

GateHouse — My son got a letter from the Subrogation Division of our Insurance Company the other day, which was weird. He doesn’t get a lot of mail these days, mostly because he’s 3 years old.

I have to imagine that at least one computer deep in the humming bowels of the Insurance Company’s network is aware that he’s 3, since it contains nearly all of the other facts it’s possible to know about him, pretty much everything except that today he became a little obsessed with the Sorting Hat and now runs around the house shouting “Gryffindor!” Sure, I think we can all agree that insurance companies are not the most streamlined organizations around, yet it strikes me as odd that no one’s installed a filter that notices when they’re sending a letter to someone batting about .500 on the pee-pee in the potty thing and has become attached to a large red truck that he has named, and I’m not making this up, “Taco.”

What we’re dealing with here is an organization that knows his name, birthday and Social Security number and is, in large part, responsible for deciding which medical care he can and cannot receive, and yet is evidently unaware that 3-year-olds do not very skillfully process the word “benefits” or “privacy.”




Anyway, the letter is in regard to an injury my son sustained on the playground at school a few months back; he broke his arm in a playground mishap involving monkey bars. No one saw the accident, which was pretty obnoxious, but I chalked it up largely to the fact that he’s 3 and falls down a lot, despite the persistent objections of many of my friends, who wondered why I hadn’t secured a personal injury lawyer by naptime.

So we got X-rays and a cast, and the cast came off and now his arm is six times as strong as it was before, and he can throw a 96 mph fastball. Just kidding. Everything ended up fine; the bills came, we paid the bills and for the past few weeks he’s been once again investigating the quickest ways he can injure himself again as quickly as possible.

So into all this comes this letter, in which the Insurance Company asks my toddler to fill out a questionnaire to determine if the treatment he received was the result of an injury or accident for which someone else may be responsible.

A number of things about this: First, it’s a broken arm — which again, I’m reasonably sure the Insurance Company knows — so I think we can safely assume it’s an injury. Second, and I may be missing my guess entirely here, but it seems an awful lot like my Insurance Company is asking my toddler if there’s anybody they can sue the living bejesus out of for the monkey bars thing.

This concerned me, but as the letter was addressed to him, I read it to my son at dinner one night as he attempted to break the world record for Most Pieces Of Bacon Consumed By A 3-Year-Old In One Dinner Sitting (the boy is obsessed with bacon; I’m pretty sure one day I’ll be dealing with the Insurance Company about his cholesterol medication).

My son, for his part, was surprisingly unhelpful, and answered most of the questions by opening his mouth as wide as he could to show off the gnawed-up bacon segments rattling around therein, a response I generally took as a “no.” But thanks to the questionnaire, I did determine the following: he does not have an employer; he was not driving an automobile at the time; and he has not as yet hired an attorney (which is good, because that would come straight out of his allowance).

So there we were. I was honestly not sure what to do with this document, other than continue to mock it for its implicit commentaries on about 600 independent problems with everything. Happily, as I was cleaning up the bacon dinner, he grabbed the paper and a fat magic marker and scribbled all over it, making it a pretty severe purple and slightly intoxicating mess, which sort of solved the problem for me, and I plan to mail back to the Insurance Company first thing in the morning.


About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

3 responses to “I’m pretty sure Insurance Companies aren’t allowed to do this to my 3-year-old

  • M Wickert

    I have only read your article about the crocs and your article about the insurance company. Just wanted to let you know that I find your articles to be hilarious!! You are great at voicing your opinion (and I believe many others agree with your opinions) in a comical way!! Wish you great success!!


  • Maegan

    I love it Flips. Insurance companies are scum!


  • Belle

    Boy, would I love to be the person at the Ins Co who opens your return mail with the scribbles all over it! I’d have to pin it on the employee bulletin board. Awesome! 🙂

    I just got a letter last month when I had big claims for a chronic back condition. I wrote “I have had chronic back problems since I was 18 and my mother says it’s all her fault since they say it is genetic.” I made sure I drew a smiley face at the end.

    Great stuff, Jeff!


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