Tuesday, July 12, 2005


You won’t remember about when my car was 6 months old and it was hit by a guy driving a car with no brakes, who had no insurance or licence, will you?

I actually had the nouse (or is that nowse?) to take his photograph, not thinking of course that he could quite easily have ripped the camera from my hand and jumped on it … but I suppose that would have been a little suspicious.

Instead, he gave me his name and address and even offered his birthday.

I took the picture, anyway, mainly because my camera bag was sitting on the front seat of the car and it suddenly occurred to me so to do. If I’d remembered, I could have used the instant camera in the glove compartment which came as a pressie (hah £2.50 pressie with a £7.5k car J )

When I hadn’t heard from the guy after a few days I went down to the local police station and asked what the procedure was. Should I have heard from him? So they looked up the address, which was non-existent and looking up the car reg said it had been found abandoned the day after the accident. I toodled off home and returned with a CD of the perp’s photographs – from which he was recognised.

A couple of weeks later I was told he’d done the same thing to someone else and was languishing on holiday care of Her Majesty but they’d get him when he came out. OH YEAH?

I contacted the insurers, of course and on finding out the guy was in prison, they said they couldn’t pay out on my £500 claim because they wouldn’t get their money back and sent a letter to that effect.

Which, you can imagine, upset little Pyk. So I phoned the insurers, explained I was unhappy and that I worked for a newspaper and I thought that insurers not paying out would make a jolly good story! To which they replied …. Oh, we didn’t mean that, of course we’ll pay for the damage to your car, we just won’t pay the excess … when did an insurance company EVER pay the excess?

Hmm, still haven't got a new aerial by the way, don't think I'll bother claiming on the insurance.

Today my camera jumped out of my bag.

I almost never, OK, hardly ever, travel with it with flash unit attached. I take it to pieces, stow it carefully in the case and zip it up (cos it has landed once or twice, after a rather abrupt halt, in the passenger well, ahem).

This morning I had thoughts about broken cameras.

Don’t ever have thoughts about bad things, people.

I had a large group of youngsters, teens, to photograph and they all wanted to be on the back row, all 50 of them, so they took a little sorting out, which made me late for the next job, at a technology school, so I just put the whole kit and caboodle in my bag, dashed off to the next venue, grabbed my bag by the strap, jumped out of the car and the camera jumped out of the case, crashing onto the concrete, dislodging and breaking the flash unit's shoe thingy.

I managed by using the teeny flash on the camera but hiked it down to the school’s tech dept and there a very nice man (Steve Cade) glued the broken bit back on.

However the unit was not working so I called the insurers who took all details, of course and called me back to say it wasn’t insured for business use, only personal, UNLESS I could persuade them that I had taken out business insurance in which case they would alter the policy and pay up.

That sounds strange, doesn’t it? Like they knew something I didn't but weren't going to tell?

I had to go through all of this a couple of times with a claims assistant and she told me that I had not declared it was for business use.

I pointed out that for 'occupation' I had stated Press Photographer and for 'business' I had stated Publishing-media. Therefore I thought that they might have noticed that a camera body valued at £2000 would very likely be linked to my job and not a thing I would have tried to hide. HUH?

The lady was adamant that I couldn’t have answered the questions truthfully. Which I wasn’t very pleased with, either.
I argued my case logically (unusual for me) so she finally looked back and found that I had in fact insured for business originally but they hadn’t picked it up for the two following years.

Thus the claim would stand BUT they would acquire the audio tapes from two years ago to listen to the telephone conversation I had with them.

Which seemed a pointless exercise if they actually had paperwork anyway proving my point.

Then, since they decided to be nice because I hadn’t lied, they said they would expedite the issuing of permission to buy new unit if I’d like to send them a fax, since it was all now rather urgent.

I travelled 20 miles for a quote to fax and telephoned, as requested, to say I had sent the document to Michelle.

“OH Michelle? She hasn’t been in for two days, I don’t know if she’s sick or on holiday, tell you what, ring tomorrow to see if anyone’s reading her emails”– which the fax apparently went to.

This was for speedy service?

The camera shop can’t get the unit until Thursday, I can’t get it until Friday and tomorrow I’m working from 9.45 am til 9.45pm taking pix, without a flash unit.

Had I gone in half an hour before I could have had the camera shop's last unit.
Had I gone in 10 mins before I could have bought an almost new camera body for half it’s original price but they were giving someone two days to make up his mind if he wanted it.

I said I’m here, now, with the money.

No, they didn’t want to renege on their offer to a very good customer. (Very good on their part).

But did they have to tell me??? I get first dibs on the camera if the guy doesn't want it, but of course they'll tell him there's someone waiting to snap it up and he'll say that HE wants it!

I hope they do get the unit in before Sunday! I’ve got a ‘summer ball’ on Saturday (evening dress optional) with a survivors' breakfast and have to go to the church and take a picture at 9.50am the next morning, of the congregation, from the pulpit. I REALLY need the flash unit for that.

I won't be able to tell if the focus is fuzzy or my eyes are fuzzy!

Sorry this is a boring one. Just something I needed to say!!


Blogger Pete said...

Maybe you should have asked your "Insurance buddy" for advise at an early stage??

Wed Jul 13, 12:19:00 am 2005  
Blogger Pelicanhellican said...

Oh DANG ... I'm such an independent little cuss, I've forgotten how to ask for help!
S'funny, really, cos I'm quite a helpful little thing myself but never expect anyone to help me.
In fact ... people being nice to me makes me cry!
Don't ever be nice to me!!!! .... please.

Wed Jul 13, 12:23:00 am 2005  
Blogger Pete said...

As an Insurance Broker, all I can say is that it pays to tell the truth from the outset - as you apparently did. It costs more for "business use" - but if you don't pay, you don't get. Simple really!

Wed Jul 13, 03:23:00 am 2005  
Blogger Pelicanhellican said...

Yeah, and one day, maybe I'll even make a profit out of it :)

Wed Jul 13, 08:55:00 am 2005  

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