A Lucky Coincidence Just Saved Me 1110 Euros
My last name is not very common in Germany. Thanks to this fact I have saved a lot of money today.
Last year, I took out an occupational disability insurance policy for authors and journalists over the phone. During the conversation, the person in charge advised me to register as a journalist and not as an author, because that would be much cheaper for me.
With this insurance, authors are in the same risk category as circus artists and stuntmen, whereas journalists are in a separate category.
I agreed and took out the insurance. Soon after, I got the confirmation of coverage. The first premium was due one year later. I would get the premium notice shortly before.
The clerk told me that the insurance contribution would probably be 190 Euro.
So I entered this 190 € into my financial planning table for the next year and then forgot the matter.
About two weeks ago, I got the premium notice. I almost fainted when I read that I should pay over 1300 €. That was absolutely not possible. I had not put that much money aside.
So I called the insurance company. Typically, a war of nerves would have started now. The insurance premium should be due on June 15th, it said in the letter. It also said that I could file an objection, but that I would still have to pay the amount as long as the complaint was not decided. It could take several months to process an appeal.
So with this sword of Damocles over my head, I called the insurance company. As chance would have it, the name of the clerk responsible for me was also Junge.
We both had a good laugh about it, had a friendly chat for a minute, and only then did I get to my request.
I described my case to him and made it clear that this problem had to be solved quickly. The gentleman first told me the same thing that was in the letter, but then he said: "Forget what I said, Mr. Junge. I will take care of it personally and put a little pressure on the contributions department. Call me back on June 3rd and see how things are going.
Today the telephone appointment popped up on my calendar. I called, but nobody answered. So I sent an e-mail. I started the mail with "Hello Mr. Junge, maybe you remember me. I'm the one whose name is Junge too."
Then I briefly explained what it was about and asked for a callback.
In fact, the phone rang a few minutes later.
Mr. Junge informed me that the acknowledgment of my objection was sent by post yesterday. He just could not tell me yet what I would have to pay now, because the contribution department had to calculate it first.
A few minutes later, he called again. He had asked the contributions department and could find out that my new contribution is now 190 € per year.
That is a difference of 1110 Euro. I would have had to transfer this money on June 15th, in any case. Of course, it is possible that my objection would have been accepted a few months later and then I would have got the money back. But there would have been no guarantee for that. Either way, I would have missed the 1110 Euros painfully in the next months.
I thanked the clerk, and we talked a little bit more. He then admitted that he had made an extra effort because he already knew me from the phone. But the shared surname, he said, would have made it very easy for him to remember me.
Without this coincidence, the processing of my request would have taken many weeks.
What do I learn from this for the future? Whenever I need something from someone, I should try to find something we have in common. Common ground creates a closer connection and deeper trust. Someone I trust will always be treated preferentially by me, and so it is the other way around.