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Insurance fiasco puts a premium on patience

I took out an insurance policy with American Sun Life in 1988. It covered nursing-home care. In August 1989 I broke my pelvis and spent one month in a nursing home. Thirty days after returning home, I tried calling my insurance agent but was told he was no longer with the company. Then I called American Sun Life in Orlando. The people there said they would check into my claim.

Six weeks later, I called again, and after being transferred from one person to another, my call was disconnected.

I then wrote two certified letters, one in November 1989 and another in April 1990 and received two return-receipt cards.

It is now 11 months and no news. You do so much good for people who have received the well-known run-around, I hope you can help me.

S. R. C.

Response: The state Department of Insurance liquidated your insurance company in October 1989. Another company called Adjustco was appointed as administrator of the claims.

Adjustco representatives say the backlog of claims was tremendous. When the company got to yours last January, a request for medical records was sent to your doctor.

Unfortunately, your file was not properly marked as a pending file, and when the doctor did not respond, a follow-up never was made on your claim.

According to Adjustco, there is no indication in your file that you ever called or wrote.

Your certified letters? They apparently got swallowed by the same gremlin that misplaced your file, put your insurance agent out of work, ruined your insurance company and tripped you in the first place.

Have you considered investing in a rabbit's foot?

Adjustco tells us it is processing your claim, and you will receive a benefit check in the near future.

Lighter flicks reader's curiosity

I have a cigarette lighter with a yellow sun face on it inscribed, "Compliments of the Sunday and Evening Independent."

Obviously there was a Sunday Independent. What were the dates of its existence? Also, what were the dates of existence of the Evening Independent?

Earl Smith

Response: The Evening Independent's first weekly edition was printed March 3, 1906. It went to press as Pinellas County's first daily newspaper Nov. 4, 1907. The last edition appeared Nov. 7, 1986. During most of those years, it published Monday through Saturday.

For a few years in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Independent published a Sunday newspaper. The weekly sold for 5 cents an issue and the Sunday for 10 cents.

During that time the Independent belonged to Lord Roy Thomson, owner of the largest newspaper chain in the United States. Under Thomson's ownership, circulation dropped to less than 20,000, and losses rose.

It may be that your lighter was used as a promotion gimmick for the sales staff or as a gift to new subscribers. If any of our readers can shed further light on the subject, we would like to hear from them.

Fee problem taken into account

I've had a slight problem with Paragon Cable. I called the company's office Oct. 5 to make special arrangements to pay my cable bill. The people there said I could come to the office Oct. 10 to pay it and that my cable would not be disconnected before then.

Meanwhile, on Oct. 8 someone left a notice on my door saying my service would be shut off if I did not pay. Then when I paid the bill as scheduled Oct. 10, I was told that I owed an additional $10.20 service charge because someone came out to my house on Oct. 8 to collect payment.

I have spoken to the manager, but he says that is company policy. I feel it is unfair.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Brenda Harrold

Response: Paragon says the service fee, which does not become payable until 50 days after a bill is due, has been credited to your account.

Apparently the collector did not read the note on your account when he went to your house to collect the fee.


Thanks to you and your column, many in this area now know the history of Bayfront Medical Center, and a long and interesting one it is, too!

Katy Bryant