Wednesday, February 14, 2018

MetLife Loses 13,500 Customers They Owe Money To...Another Corporate Shocker

I have always detested insurance companies. I cannot imagine how much money I have paid them over my 40 years of home ownership, car ownership, health insurance, and even a little life insurance.

I am going to say 50k in vehicle insurance, 12k homeowners insurance, and probably 200k in health insurance. About a quarter million is what I've paid them thus far.

I have made claims totaling about 20k for auto and homeowners related losses, maybe another 50k for a couple of hospitalizations- the last one about 20 years ago. All in all, I have had claims totaling less than a third of what I have paid in over the years. My guess is that most healthy people have had a similar insurance experience.

That is a lot of money. Compulsory I might add. The government or corporate America forces most of that on us and I am not even going to speak to unemployment insurance or Workman's Comp Insurance- both items required by government entities. I actually know small businesses that threw in the towel over those expenses- giving rise to the contract labor boom in this country.

Today's topic du jour is Metropolitan Life. MetLife has stated that they have 13,500 customers which they have lost track of and owe money to. I have clipped the article because I'd like to point out how a smart CEO gets in front of a train wreck and takes responsibility before getting into trouble. http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/14/news/companies/metlife-retiree-payments/index.html

MetLife suddenly discovered- on their own- that they had 13,500 liabilities out there that had gone unaccounted for.

That's right. There were thirteen thousand people which were owed annuity payments and were somehow lost. The company takes responsibility for the big error, claims they found the mistakes on their own, says they will do better, and sets aside half a billion to pay the claims. This is a textbook example on how to triage your image. The stock price dipped- but not much.

So if you really believe they "discovered" this on their own and turned themselves in- let me be the first to say- "bullshit."

Some 20 years ago, my mother who dutifully paid in a couple hundred a month to Prudential over the course of a decade or so- was informed that Prudential could not make the promised annuity payments. They offered my mother some sort of puny cash settlement which she refused to take- I think it was half of what she had paid in. Instead mom opted for a paid in full life insurance policy of 50k which paid 4 times more than Prudential's offer.

All in all Prudential managed to screw over a million or so people, settled for cents on the dollar and essentially loaned themselves their customers money. They had to set aside a couple billion- but Prudential hardly blinked. Read the employee's account in the last two paragraphs. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/07/24/business/appeals-court-panel-upholds-prudential-insurance-settlement.html

So if you think MetLife actually caught this with no prompting and self reported it- then I have a bridge to sell you. It's the same bridge that MetLife is selling. Remember- these missing people have been missing for up to 25 years.

So after 25 years, what do you suppose was the catalyst that suddenly caused Rip Van Winkle er MetLife to wake up one day?

I'd make a decent wager that person(s) unknown were either suing for damages and payments, a discovery request had been initiated, or a pending audit by a state insurance commission. It seems highly unlikely that any form of whistle blower actually was at work here- since apparently 25 years worth of employees had not yielded one single employee who thought, "Gee what happens to all of that money MetLife is supposed to pay but can't find the people it belongs to?"

Well, I guess it's the CEO's story and he can tell it however he'd like. But please, don't ask some of us to believe that bullshit. We've been hosed too many times by corporate America and people like you. Please disregard all ethical or moral standards- and do what is minimally legal.

That's the standard we've grown accustomed to Mr Kandarian. You've earned your 15 million dollar a year salary. Our congrats on catching this after only 7 years at the helm.

Just for shits and giggles I found this.

Kandarian is a former executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation[3], an agency of the United States Government. Kandarian was appointed to head the PBGC on Dec. 2, 2001, by Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, announcing his departure in January 7, 2004 to return to his family in Boston. [4] He left on February 13, 2004.[5]




Saturday, February 3, 2018

Amazon Now Equipping Employees With Monitoring Devices - The Sunday Collage

Like shock collars for dogs- it just delivers a different kind of shock.

I have a special kind of dislike for dominant, controlling bosses. I think those feelings are sourced from the thousands of miners who died putting "rock into the box" from the underground operations in my hometown. As a child, we traded those stories of the people who died and who was responsible for their deaths. It doesn't take long to identify the villains.

So when I read that Amazon Inc., had invented and patented a wristband to track employees, it made the hackles on my neck stand up and brought me out of hiding. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-03/amazon-patents-ultrasonic-tracking-wristbands-control-workers

For years, I've been reading blurbs here and there from current and former Amazon employees about what a crappy place it is to work.

The problem of course- is that corporate America and it's rich campaign contributing owners- get away with this type of conduct. Treating people like dogs, swapping shock collars for wristbands, seems ok we rationalize. We tell ourselves, "Well they can always quit." Unless that's the only job available since Amazon has destroyed every mom and pop business in the U.S. Or until you find yourself wearing a wristband.

That was the dystopian future painted by Orwell's novel, "1984." A future where everything sucks- which is starting to sound a lot like an Amazon warehouse. When you can electronically watch employees you can pressure them into working harder and cut employee overhead because you are forcing one person to do the work of two at a more casual, decent pace.

In the end, those kinds of working conditions trace right back to management and it's owner, Jeff Bezos. Bezos is worth a staggering 120 billion dollars- not quite enough I suppose- to curtail his electronic monitoring of employees. Guys like Bezos can never have enough. That ego of his must be the size of Vermont. You wanna hear the best part?

Wikipedia calls him a "philanthropist." One of the reasons they use this term is because Bezos and his wife contributed 2.5 million for a referendum for same sex marriage. He also donated 33 million for the education of illegal aliens. So I guess if you spend your money on gay marriage and illegal aliens that makes you a philanthropist. Oh and I forgot- Bezos bought the Washington Post so he could slam President Trump. More Bezos philanthropy.

They should let Amazon warehouse employees write the Bezos' biography for wikipedia. I have a strong feeling that despite all of that alleged philanthropy- the warehouse workers might not see it the same way.

Pay attention to how people treat the help. One day, they will treat you exactly the same way.

I've worked for people like Bezos. One place I worked at monitored employees with video cameras- they even caught me putting my feet up on a chair during the graveyard shift- about 3 a.m. one morning. They called me into the office to issue a warning about my deviant and aberrent behavior while the ten other residents of that sober house were sleeping. 

Maybe they should have focused more on the residents and a little less on the employees.

Mostly, I considered the job a volunteer gig and at nine bucks an hour- I wasn't looking for a career. A year or two after after I left that job- one resident killed another resident one night. Beat her with a pipe. Thankfully, I wasn't around with my feet up on a chair when that shit happened. https://www.idahopress.com/members/police-murder-victim-beaten-with-pipe/article_60692fae-7c63-11e5-a410-934c3e92c51e.html

I am grateful that I no longer have to work for blood sucking, control freaks who must patent electronic devices to take the place of decent human supervision. Perhaps Bezos could take a few million and instead of endowing it to illegal aliens- offer the same benefits to his employees.

I'm not going to hold my breath looking for a little human decency here though- guys like Bezos never disappoint me.