Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I Was a Movie Star Today - Sort Of

Over the past four years I've been through four hurricanes and made three insurance claims. Each time, I think they're going to cancel me - or jack up my premiums. Nope. Not only that, but my insurance company (Travelers) was wonderful. So wonderful in fact that I decided to write and thank them after the last storm - around May or June of this year. I'm famous for writing nasty letters, but I write nice ones, too. Unfortunately, nasty letters tend to get more of a reaction than nice ones. Until now, that is.

A couple of days ago, I received a call from Travelers asking if I had written that nice email, and I said yes. He asked if I would be willing to be interviewed about my experience for a video they were putting together for training purposes. I said sure.

Today was an immensely busy day at the Library, since we just reopened after installing our new automation system - and of course, there were tons of little glitches. However, I was sure I could take off a few minutes to talk to Travelers. I told him to call me when he got to Natchez.

When he called, I gave him directions to the Library and went right back to work. Shortly thereafter, there was a knock on my door, and I looked up to see a whole passel of people - I think 5 or 6. I was a little taken aback, because my experience with TV interviews is one person talking and another with a camera.

Then they walked around the Library looking for a good location, while I'm thinking we could just stand in the hall and talk. Finally, they decided on our meeting room - which was the only room without people, since we were very busy after being closed for almost a week. They said it would take them a little while to set up, and I went back to work.

When they came to get me, I was in total shock. Our meeting room had been transformed into a real live television studio. The sound man - yes there was one - was concerned about how noisy our air conditioning was and wanted to know if it could be turned off for a little while. I died laughing, and those of you who have been following the travails of the Library's antique AC will appreciate why. This was the best part - they put make up on me - who never wears makeup. It was just to get rid of the glare and not to make me look good - but still it was pretty funny.

I then proceeded to have a conversation with the interviewer who was off camera - and it went on for a while. Then the person I thought of as the producer asked some extra questions. About this time, the adjuster that I had dealt with showed up. They wanted to walk over to my house, which is fortunately a half a block from the Library.

The adjuster and I then had to reenact our original interaction in my back yard. This was a little difficult, since the first time my back yard was totally taken up with a tree - and now it is gone. But we did out best. Then they filmed him in the car with his computer submitting the necessary information and processing the claim. Then we sat on my front porch while he went over the imaginary report and presented me with a blank check - which unfortunately I couldn't keep.

While all this is happening, my neighbors are wondering what in the world was going on. One even drove around looking for the TV truck so he could go back and watch me on TV. They figured with all those people and equipment, it must be something big. Coincidentally, a helicopter flew over during our filming - which the sound guy really didn't like.

The funniest part of the whole event was when they had me get into the closet under my stairs (which is my safe place during storms). Then I had to walk out and act like I did after the storm and wander over to the door and look out. I was definitely doing my best Sarah Bernhardt imitation.

They gave me a huge red Travelers umbrella and a gift card, which was very nice. The final filming of the day was the adjuster and me standing under the Travelers umbrella talking.

I hope that one beneficial outcome of this event will be that whoever sees the video will have a positive impression of Natchez. One question they asked me was why I stayed somewhere where I suffered through four hurricanes in as many years. So of course, I had to explain how unique Natchez is, and they did some filming of the city itself - including the bluffs over the Mississippi River, which I talked about.

They are going to send me a copy when it's finished - 2 hours of filming will probably be condensed into two minutes. However, I can barely wait to see it - and I will share it.


Jane said...

Casey, You'll have to invite us over for the screening! How funny. Sounds like it took all day. I am sure it is quite unusual to receive a complimentary letter in the home insurance industry. That is an amazing story!

Dara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dara said...

What a great story! I'd love for you to share it with me as well so that I can share it with our fans/followers (if you don't mind of course). You can find us on Twitter ( or Facebook (

Anonymous said...

This is a delightful story! I love the thought of thousands of insurance adjusters-in-training learning from your good example. Thanks for reminding me to check up on your blog, 'cause this made me laugh.