Monday, November 26, 2007

Progressive Insurance Claims Service - Excellent

Two years ago, my wife and I switched our auto insurance from State Farm to Progressive. We had just purchased a new motorcycle and the insurer my wife had her coverage with on the old bike wanted over $100 per month to cover the new one. I checked with Progressive and they gave the same coverage for $25 per month. I wanted to keep our auto insurance with State Farm, but they wanted over $300 per month for the bike alone and already informed me they were going to raise my auto premium. I wanted to keep our vehicle insurance with one company and Progressive offered us the same coverage on our autos we had with State Farm - and - even adding in the bike's insurance cost we came out at less per month.

Up until now, I've only had to make 2 claims against my auto insurance in the 30 years I've been driving. One was when I was stopped and someone backed into me. I was 17 and it was my mom's car - not a good thing. The next was in 1986 when I hit a deer driving from El Paso to San Angelo, Texas. Thankfully I had my car registered and insured in Michigan where such happenings are covered as an "act of God." Both times State Farm came through for me with flying colors. I kept my auto insurance with them for over 25 years.

Today I was in a fender-bender. Not a good way to start a Monday morning. A young lady backed into my path as I drove through the driveway of the apartments where I live and I hit the rear corner of her car. Although we were both going slow, the damage is nevertheless somewhat extensive because of the way cars are made these days. Plastic breaks a lot easier than metal.

After the police officer assisted us in exchanging information and setting up an incident report, I went into work. Later that morning, I logged into my Progressive account via their web site and filled out a claim form. The whole process took me about 5 minutes.

Within 15 minutes of my submitting the form, I got a call from the local Progressive adjuster. He had already called the young lady who was driving the car and the young man who owns it and wanted to get my side of the story. I've contact Progressive a few times in the time we've been a customer of theirs and they have always been prompt to respond. Even so, I was really (and quite pleasantly) surprised at the speed in which I got a response.

I'm not entirely sure how the rest of the story will pan out. More on this later.

"Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters From Iwo Jima"

I rented these movies to watch with my kids over the Thanksgiving break. I like to watch films like these with them in an attempt to give them a sense of how much it costs to keep the freedom we have in the US and to show them examples of people who live and/or die for a cause bigger than themselves. These two movies, telling two sides of the Battle of Iwo Jima, portrayed those things in very distinct yet united ways.

"Flags of Our Fathers" portrayed the story of a group of Marines and a Navy Corpsman who landed on Iwo Jima and fought their way to the top of Mount Suribachi and planted the US Flag. Three of the men who raised the flag as shown in the historic photo and survived the weeks-long battle, were taken back to the US to help sell war bonds to a war-weary public. One man, in particular, was a very reluctant hero. He preferred to remember the men who died as the real heroes rather than be celebrated as one of the heroes of the battle. The story was well done and excellently portrayed.

"Letters From Iwo Jima" portrayed the battle from the Japanese point of view. It followed one very reluctant soldier who managed to survive bombings, artillery attacks, suicide missions and moving from Mount Surabichi to the northern part of the island. As he moves from place to place, meeting generals and colonels along the way, we see how some of the leaders knew the battle was futile and that they would certainly lose. However, they kept this knowledge from the lower-ranking officers and soldiers and encouraged them to fight to the end because they knew the longer they fought on Iwo Jima, the longer it would delay the inevitable attack on the Japanese home island by US Forces.

I hesitate to describe any more of the movie in deference to those who haven't seen them. Although panned by some critics, I highly recommend them and also recommend watching them together. They are excellent companions to each other.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thank You Golden Corral!

On the first Monday after Veterans Day, Golden Corral restaurants across the nation offer free dinners to military members and veterans. Yesterday, November 12, 2007, was the 6th time Golden Corral offered this gift to our current and former defenders.

I was going to take advantage of this generous offer yesterday evening, but when I got to our local Golden Corral at around 7:00 PM the line was out the door about 70 deep. I like a free meal, but not enough to stand in line for an hour or so to get it.

Still, I want to extend my thanks to Golden Corral. You can be assured I will dine with you more often in thanks for this wonderful gesture.