Saturday, August 16, 2003

The cough, Fflwff and insurance brokers

by Suw on August 16, 2003

For those of you following the saga of my cough, and I know there are many of you quite riveted, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s now producing, i.e. instead of having a single lump of phlegm and mucous stuck in my throat which gets alternately coughed up then swallowed back down again, the damn stuff’s coming up and staying up. Yummy! Maybe this means that it’s in the final stages and will soon be gone.

I’ve got into a rhythm with the disgusting goop – measure the correct amount into a soup spoon, fill a glass of water, locate tissues, take and expel a deep breath twice, bolt down the goop, swish my mouth out with the water, and splutter into the tissue with disgust. Then go eat chocolate to take away the vile taste.

Maybe tomorrow I won’t have to bother with that anymore.

Yesterday’s reuniting with Fflwff has now gone through the honeymoon stage, wherein she was simply pleased to see me, and out the other side. For three weeks she’s been living here, being a very good girl for Mum and Dad and causing them no trouble at all. This morning, just because I’m here, she played up. She woke me up at 6am, the little monkey, because she wanted some attention. Maybe she wanted to play. She certainly wasn’t wanting for food or water.

Anyway, whilst everyone else was cooling and billing about the power cuts in the US, which I must admit were really quite astounding and verging on awe inspiring in terms of scale, here an insurance broker whose name I can’t remember was quietly announcing that they will be using lie detector tests in an attempt to decide which claimants are genuine and which are lying through their teeth.

Now, call me sceptical, but I’m not 100% sure how lie detector software, based only and entirely on someone’s tone of voice, could possibly be entirely reliable. The basic premise is that the software can tell when you’re stressed, and therefore when you’re lying. Firstly, I’m not convinced that tone of voice, outside of a controlled environment, can indicate with any accuracy whether or not someone is lying. Secondly, surely insurance companies should be looking at facts, not at circumstantial evidence such as lie detector test results, when deciding if a claim is valid or not.

Having had first hand experience of the way in which insurance companies attempt to wiggle out of their responsibilities when it comes to legitimate claims, I shudder to think how they will use this technology to stall, obfuscate and weasel their way out of coughing up ready cash.

Plus, surely there’s a civil liberties issue in question here? Surely I have a right to refuse to take part in lie detector tests? If there is no right to refuse, or even right to be told when such tests are taking place, I would be really rather worried about the state of privacy and civil liberties in this country. However, none of these questions were raised in the report I saw, the journalist acting as if somehow these insurance companies are being oh-so-clever by doing this.

I’m not so trusting. Insurance companies, in my experience, are weasels. We shouldn’t give them any more rope to hang us with than we really need to.

Meantime, we’ve had a major family gathering tonight. It was quite a lot of fun to meet a whole nother load of relatives that I’ve not seen for years, if not decades. Plus a whole load I never knew I had!

The downside of this an evening spent trying very hard not to cough. And poor Fflwff has been stuck in my bedroom most of the night. Now she’s bouncing round like a madthing, just from being cooped up for so long. Thing is, I didn’t dare let her out, as she’s not overly good with children and there were a lot of children about.

Anyway, for the first time that I can remember, we have guests staying. I’m going to sneak downstairs in a moment, go online and post this.

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