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0416 storyHitting a deer can be a traumatic experience any time, but hitting a deer during the holidays is even more stressful. Fortunately for this member, Member Benefits made it a little easier.

It was Christmas day. Sharon Morell was headed home after celebrating the holiday with family in Baraboo. Her 95-year-old mother and her dog were with her. Driving on Highway 51/39 toward their home destination—Stevens Point—the roads were clear. But although they started out before 4:00 p.m., it was already dark.

“We were five miles outside of Westfield when BANG! The hood of the car flew up,” exclaims Sharon. “There was just enough space between the car and the hood and I could see brown. I’d hit a deer. The first thing I did was ask my mom if she was okay. She’s 95 years old and in good health, but she’s still 95 years old.”

Sharon maneuvered the car to the side of the road and called 911. “A nice couple stopped and put my mother in their car while we waited for the tow truck and the police.”

Responsive

The couple gave them a ride back to Stevens Point on their way home to Wautoma. When Sharon finally got home, it was late. “I was exhausted and I was so traumatized by the whole experience. I called WEA Member Benefits, but it was Christmas Day and a weekend. I thought, ‘No one is going to be working on Christmas weekend.’ I left a message at their emergency number. And the next day, on a Saturday, Bob Manor, Claims Manager at WEA Member Benefits, called me. His voice and manner with me was so nice and calm. I had a million questions: What happens to my car? How do I get a rental car? Who comes to look at my car? What do I do first? I had absolutely no idea where to start. I was completely naïve about how the process worked. Bob was so patient and straightforward. He very methodically and patiently walked me through the whole process.”

The insurance department at Member Benefits checks the phones on weekends and holidays as a standard practice. If a member has a situation, we want to get on it right away.

Accommodating and fair

Bob contacted the adjuster and set up a rental car for Sharon at Enterprise. “I had a rental car waiting for me at Enterprise on Monday morning. They knew I was coming and everything was ready. “The adjuster was also really nice and answered all my questions. And, when I got their recommendation that the car was a total loss, I wasn’t surprised. In my gut I knew that the car was totaled because the front of the car was really awful.

“I researched what the car was worth and I feel I received a very positive and a very fair deal from Member Benefits.”

Exceptional service

Now Sharon needed to replace her vehicle. She had more questions, and was pleasantly surprised to get more help from Bob. “I had just gotten my car paid off. I wasn’t even thinking of buying a car. I thought I would be free of car payments, but here I was between Christmas and New Year’s looking for a car. Bob even answered questions I had during the car buying process like what is the difference between four or six cylinders. He didn’t have to do that, but he did.”

Sharon was impressed. “I think the thing that was most important...he always returned my phone calls. I just loved that. In this day and age, when someone returns your call in a timely manner if at all...that’s exceptional service and it’s very important to me. I probably texted Bob ten times with questions through the process and he always responded. I didn’t feel for one minute like I couldn’t ask a question. It was very positive."

Timely

"The claim was processed quickly and the check came right away. Every bill was paid in an extremely timely manner—for towing, for the rental car, everything.

“That’s why I wrote the letter," says Sharon. "I’ve heard of other people fighting with their insurance company when they have a claim or not getting calls returned. I’m happy to say that was not my experience. Member Benefits exceeded my expectations. I can honestly say it went as smoothly as I could’ve hoped.

“This is a company that has integrity and credibility. It’s just wonderful."

MEMBER PROFILE

0416 morellSharon Morell is a retired band director from Stevens Point Area Public School District. She started teaching in 1973 and retired in 2008. “I have been insured with WEA Member Benefits forever—probably 25 or 30 years. I have my auto, home, and umbrella insurance and my 403(b) retirement savings with WEA Member Benefits.” In retirement, Sharon supervises music students at UW-Stevens Point and she works for the Justice Works Program mentoring women who are on probation. She is also a member of St. Paul’s Methodist Church where she volunteers in many capacities as well. “I really enjoy what I’m doing in retirement. It’s very fulfilling.”

 

0416 letter