Read an Excerpt
I hate my job. I hate my life. I hate my job. I hate my life.
"Yes, Mrs Dutton, but—" Pia said into her mouthpiece.
She closed her eyes as she was interrupted yet again, tempted to bang her head on the desk. Good thing the irate woman was at the other end of a phone line or Pia might have been tempted to bang Mrs Dutton’s head on the desk rather than her own.
"Of course, Mrs Dutton, but—"
How many times would she have to repeat the same thing? They were dancing in circles with Pia hardly able to get a word in. Finally, the woman paused to draw breath and Pia seized her chance.
"I can understand your disappointment. The thing is you should have declared you had a heart condition when you took out the insurance. You were asked if you had any health issues and your response was no."
"But I wasn’t ill when I went on holiday."
Oh, God. "Yes, but insurance is offered on the basis of your medical history. You failed to provide us with all the facts. The premium you paid was based on incorrect information." Otherwise known as lies. "We might well have declined to insure you if you’d told us." Or charged her a fortune.
"That’s why I didn’t say anything."
Pia winced. The call was being recorded and that was an admission of fraud.
"I’m sorry, Mrs Dutton, but Insure4U2 have to reject your claim."
She waited for either an earful of abuse or tearful sobs. She actually preferred to be yelled at. It was easier to deal with.
"But the b-bills..." the woman hiccupped. "What am I going to do? I don’t have enough money to pay them."
The prolonged wail into her throbbing ear chewed at Pia’s heart. The woman’s debt was not the company’s problem, but Pia felt sorry for her.
"Do you have family you could borrow from? Perhaps take out a loan? You could speak to your bank manager."
The sobbing stuttered to a halt. "You have no idea what my life’s been like. I needed that holiday. My husband died. I had to get away. It was supposed to be a new start and now I have a mountain of debt. I might lose my home."
"I’m very sorry," Pia said quietly. "I do understand—"
"No you don’t," the woman snapped, anger replacing her tears. "You don’t care. You’re just some faceless nine-to-five pen-pusher. You insurance people are all the same, looking for ways to worm out of paying what’s due. Well, I’ll be putting in a complaint about you. I’ve not been treated fairly."
"I’m sorry you feel that way—" Pia listened to a dial tone and exhaled.
A glance at the clock showed it was well past time to go home and she powered off her computer. After six in the evening another call centre took over. Everyone else had already gone, happy it was Friday, looking forward to seeing their partners, kids and pets. Pia had none of those. She didn’t even have a plant. They never thrived under her care. Nothing thrived under her care. She shuddered.