Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Yesterday’s Bureaucratic Emergency

International Motor Insurance Card

Several weeks ago, I ordered an international motor insurance card (absolutely essential for driving through such countries as for example the Russian Federation) from Volvia Insurance, who has the ambulance insured.

Two days ago, I realized that it had been too long without these documents ever appearing. Yesterday, I spent some hours on the phone and found out that something was truly wrong.

Volvia did indeed attempt sending the insurance card already several weeks ago, but for unexplainable reasons it got stuck in their own internal bureaucracy which got utterly confused by the fact that the address I had entered while filling out the form to request the insurance card (which happens to be my legal permanent residence address, properly registered with the Swedish civil registry, etc., etc.) wasn’t the same address that they had recorded in their systems since I lived in Stockholm 5½ years ago.

This made the internal bureaucracy implode, and resulted in them deciding that I must have moved recently (ironic, since I myself have never before lived so long at the one and same address as the past 3½ years I’ve lived where I live now), re-registering me at my brother’s address, which is in Sweden (as opposed to my address, which is in Switzerland).

Thanks to this, we suddenly got much cheaper insurance, even including a homeowner discount on the grounds of my brother being a homeowner. (Being an honest man, I pointed out that I didn’t deserve this discount, but got the answer that it wasn’t decided by where I actually live but to where they send the documents …)

They also think that they eventually sent the requested insurance card to my brother’s address as well, so I called my brother to ask whether he had gotten an unexpected letter from my insurance company.

He had just opened such a letter fifteen minutes earlier! Joy! To speed things up, he immediately put the letter in his scanner and e-mailed me a copy. End of joy. This was no international motor insurance card, but just a normal letter of insurance (which I don’t need, and already have anyway).

Making yet another call to the insurance company, I eventually came to talk with a woman who came up with the marvellous idea of creating a new insurance card, again, and then mailing it directly to my actual address in Switzerland.

Despite the fact that such a letter won’t necessarily arrive in time, this was probably the best idea I’ve heard all day!

Today an envelope arrived in my mailbox, with my brother’s handwriting on it. Guess what it contained? The international motor insurance card! It had been delivered to him sometime last week, and having no idea what it was he had just forwarded it to me. So when we spoke yesterday, he had no idea that this envelope was still travelling through Europe but actually contained the documents I was now waiting for the insurance company to send to him and that the letter he had received on that same day just was paper noise.

All well that ends well. One problem less to solve before departure.

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