The whole saga started with a freak accident.

A relative of ours who we had invited from India had a sudden fall and as a result had to be taken to the ER followed by a day recuperating at the hospital and was back home 24 hours later.

Done. Not really!

The labyrinth maze that twisted me out of proportions was just getting started. Anyone who has had to deal with insurance paperwork knows what was about to follow. Self-certifications, proof of no pre-existing conditions, certifications from physicians in India

Done? Hold tight!

And then the bill from the hospital arrived.

$52,495. BOOM!

What followed for the next 3+ months was a nightmare from hell. 100+ emails to the customer service department of the insurance company, over 50 phone calls. A continuous spectacular lack of visibility on the claim processing process. Customer service representatives total apathy bordering on incompetence. Standard email templates providing no value. Inter-department handoff errors resulting in paperwork going missing.

You get the point.

And then one day, out of sheer frustration I started scouring the Internet looking for any community insight and help. And insight I got – but not the kind I wanted.  A customer review website where scores of frustrated consumers venting for having to deal with this organization, many having waited for over 6 months and having collection agencies knocking on their doors. My heart sank.

Done. Not yet!

Luckily, I persisted reading through the rants and then I saw something that raised my hopes – a certain individual – let’s call him Mr. C – a VP at the insurance company had replied to dozens of customers with grievances offering his email address and an offer to look into their case and offer them visibility and prognosis. Yes!

Except these responses were from a year ago. Was he still with the company and would he respond to me?

Hey – to a drowning man, a straw is a life saver. Searched for Mr. C on LinkedIn, and his credentials matched.

And I sent him a LinkedIn message and an email.

Hoping against hope.

What followed over the course of the next 3 weeks restored my faith in humanity. Curt’s reply to my email in less than 10 hours read Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I will find out what is happening with your claims and report back. You will hear from me again today. I am sorry for the frustration you have been caused. I appreciate the detail of this email. It will help us get to the root of the issue much faster. Best regards, C

Done. Nope – the best is yet to come.

And then he routinely kept in touch updating me on what was going on. Since it was a high value claim it was being reviewed by physician. Then an update that it would be paid the next week (Yay!). And then an update that there was a procedural hiccup (Oh no!). And then finallyyesterday confirmed that the hospital had actually encashed the check. A call to the hospital confirmed it.

Done. Yes .. except.

I want to stand on a stage and shout out to the world about Mr. C. Which is why this article happened. Followed by a podcast with Mr. C that just got confirmed.

Why and I doing this?

For anyone out there who feels she cannot make a change because the company’s culture is toxic, too much politics, you don’t have the authority – I challenge you. Specifically take a leaf from Mr C’s playbook.

I expect to stay continue to stay in touch with Mr. C. Maybe some of his goodness will rub off on me. And I could be a better version of myself. The world needs more Mr. Cs. Are you in?

  1. Put yourself out there – He actually went out on a limb offering his official email address to unhappy and scared customers out there. Did he ask for permission? Likely not. Was it uncomfortable. I betcha. Yet he did it. Because he saw that his organization could and should be doing much more for its customers. He stepped in.
  2. What can one person do – A Lot – Isn’t this the obvious get out of jail card? I am nobody. The system is rigged. Once I become the CEO maybe. Don’t wait till tomorrow. What if there isn’t tomorrow. If you can help someone today do it. Like Mr. C. Why did he spend time on a 3rd party customer review website, going through the complaints and providing hope to many a customer?
  3. Stay purposeful and the glory and accolades will follow – Not one did Mr. C even hint at me sending a note to his boss (I would gladly do it) on his activities so he could get credit. He did not ask for this article to be written or asked to be featured on a podcast. He did it because that’s what he believes in. Every single day.

I expect to stay continue to stay in touch with Mr. C. Maybe some of his goodness will rub off on me. And I could be a better version of myself. The world needs more Mr. Cs. Are you in?



    Empathy, Education, Empowerment

    Mine is a typical Indian immigrant story: an Engineer who became an Engineering Manager, who grew antsy and segued into Product Management then rose to VP and SVP. During those years I fancied I was innovating and experimenting, but in reality I was wearing a corporate straitjacket. Constrained by my industry’s insular mindset, I became a slave to the definition of my job. Inevitably, I ended up dissatisfied. So, I did something unusual for a man in my position: I stopped to reflect. I searched my life and talents for what was fulfilling and had purpose. I discovered I enjoyed storytelling to promote understanding. I loved mentoring and helping people become the best version of themselves. Importantly, I realized I was still passionate about the tech industry, particularly the issues surrounding privacy and ethics. Today, I’m pursuing my passions. I like to think of myself as an accelerator of technology and positivity. I’m the COO of UberKnowledge, bringing cybersecurity awareness and training to demographics that are underrepresented in the industry. I speak at conferences highlighting the need for a sharper focus on the ethics surrounding the technology industry.  I write articles and blog posts using analogy to simplify technology trends and complex topics like AI and IoT. I host podcasts with CISOs and other industry experts. The purpose of these is not to sell snake oil or products but to bridge the chasm between security vendors and customers so that the real problems can be solved to make the world a safer place. Underpinning all of these efforts is my belief that life’s purpose for us all is simply to connect. And the best way to do that is through generous and positive gestures.