aqua fortis

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Unexpected Uses for "Creative" Writing

Hey, it's me. No, really. I've been here. It's just that I've been in non-blogging mode for a few days. I haven't even logged onto Facebook for a bit--one of my newer sources of procrastination and enjoyable non-productivity. I did blog on Finding Wonderland a few times this week, including a new Toon Thursday today (in case you haven't checked it out, I do a somewhat weekly writing-related cartoon on the writing blog. click here to see the archives.).

Today I found an unexpected new use for my writing skills--a friend of ours, the contractor who helped us build our addition, needed assistance writing a letter to his insurance company disputing how they handled a claim for the leakage of his roof. Since he and his wife are both second-language English speakers, he asked Rob and I for help in writing the letter. This turned out to be a two-hour job, during which we had to quiz him about what happened when, what various inspectors said, etc. etc.

I have to admit, though--in a way it was kind of fun to write blatantly manipulative sentences like "I was further alarmed by the failure of the inspectors to adequately identify themselves as agents of the insurance company." It took way too much mental effort, but at least all those years of writing business letters as a temp finally came in handy. Hopefully our friend gets his claim settled.

Speaking of creative writing, though, insurance policies just baffle me. I remember trying to look up something in our own homeowner's insurance policy when we had a plumbing issue, and I remember thinking, "Dude, they don't cover shit!" And today, when I looked at our friend's policy (from a different company), I thought, "Dude, they don't cover shit!" It was virtually the same--a veritable morass of exclusions. It amazes me that anything is ever covered. The only reason our plumbing issue was covered was that the plumber was a cool dude and said he'd give an appropriate reason that would necessitate coverage. I would normally not think that our friend has a chance, but maybe "I believe that the inspectors made a decision about the viability of our claim before adequately assessing the damage" will help.


tanita✿davis said...

Awesome sentence structure! I think it'll help -- they see learned phrases like that and think again.

Also: should be a non-profit type of job that has people help second language persons contact insurance companies and dispute things. It's so hard for ME to figure out all the legalese, it must be impossible -- deliberately so? -- for others. Good thing your friend knew to ask you.