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Francis Meyrick

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Francis Meyrick last won the day on June 19

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About Francis Meyrick

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    http://www.chopperstories.com

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  • Gender
    Male
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    TEXAS, USA !!
  • Interests
    Fixed Wing and Helo trucker. I enjoy being a chopper jockey, and trying to figure the world, people and belief systems out. I'm not very good at it, so it keeps me real busy. I scribble, blog, run a website, (www.writersharbor.org) run rental houses, ride motorbikes, and read as much as I can. I went solo 44 years ago, and I like to say I'm gonna get me a real job one day. When I grow up. ("but not just yet, Lord, not just yet")
    For my aviation scribbles see www.chopperstories.com.... enjoy!
  1. Do I look up? The question seeks to discover if we have maintained our erstwhile enthusiasm, I guess. Now I am retired, do I still give a d*mn, eh? Lemme think. Well, put it this way. Ask my dogs. They'll tell you. It kind of goes like this: 1. distant sound of choppy approaching. 2. (loud exclamation from Master, wakes up dogs) (E.g. "Yippee...!") 3. Chair falls over. 4. Coffee goes flying. (that's a regular) 5. Master bolts out the door. Possibly tripping over alarmed cat. 6. Spends several minutes oohing and aahing, and muttering excitedly to himself. 7. comes back in, humming and happy. 8. Dogs shake their heads, and go back to sleep. 9. cat tries hard to look unruffled and dignified. Gives Master a hard look. Moves back to favorite spot. (rinse, wash & repeat later)
  2. Tisk, tisk. Tisk. Oh ye of little faith. That's a NICE way of saying it. I could also conjure up dark visions of disbelieving heathens, swarming to pagan Baal-type gods, and sacrificing children. Not that some of the screaming, little baskets that haunt modern day temples like "Walmart" don't jolly well DESERVE to be sacrificed to the flames... I submit you are listening to the wrong Gods. Times are rough right now. For the unloved, bottom of the totem pole, common-as-catshit chopper driver. But that is the way of the crumbling cookie. Into the breech you desert, so many ardent, true believers will swarm. Faces upraised to the stars, illusions like petals unfolding in the early morning light, these faithful will continue to mortgage houses, wives, girlfriends, parents, children and the pet Cockatoo. And, I might add, if they are lucky (real lucky) that long list of mortgagees will include the PARENTS of the girl friend. You'll change your mind. INsanity will return. Here, I'll give you a tip. That, and a dollar, will buy you a cup of that pink yukky looking stuff the big coffee lawsuit is about. When you get a chance, sidle up to some ancient, crockety, limping, one-eyed, mentally unstable, slobbering, retired chopper jockey. Begging for alms outside Walmart. With a cardboard sign that reads: "Please give generously - retired nut". Some suitably qualified imbecile, mindless from thousands and thousands of hours of resonant vibrations, with an IQ in the low double digits. Somebody like me. And whisper (after you've dropped a quarter or two in my begging bowl) the question that matters: "Hey, Mogster! After 48 years in the sky, from first solo to hanging up the headsets, tell me honestly: would you EVER do it again? Same sh*t?" And you know the answer. Dirty big grin. More slobbering. Eyes bright. "FUK YEAH++++"
  3. Update, for all you guys who hold the same so-called "Loss of License" "Insurance Policy". It may be all kinds of things, but it's the most convoluted, irregular, make-believe and make-the-rules-up-as-we-go-along policy I've ever seen. "Reliance Standard" is NOT even remotely relaxing their stance. In an email dated September 9th, 3 days ago, they are still demanding as follows: 1) my 2015 Federal Tax returns 2) full disclosure of my rent house income, which should have nothing to do with my insurance policy. If your house burns down, or your car is stolen, or a tree falls on your roof, do you expect the so-called insurance company to start demanding to see your other income, to investigate if you can pay for it yourself? Of course not. In addition, they are making these demands despite having been repeatedly informed of the fact these rent houses are part of my IRA assets. In other words, they wish to investigate my IRA income. 3) full disclosure of my income from my published book sales, which are published on 'Smashwords'. Their justification for this I explain under my entry number #11 above. It's all "rehabilitative income". I quote the entire "fine print" in post # 11 above. Poppycock. I find this outrageous, unacceptable, immoral, unethical, and general contemptible. It displeases me even more, when Private Messages, facebook conversations, and emails, prove to me that this is by no means an isolated occurrence. Other pilots have experienced the exact same thing. So of course, everybody asks: where is the PHI Benefits Manager, Aren Chaisson, in all of this? Well, the short answer is: hiding from me. He sure won't return phone calls. Or reply to emails. To further muddy the waters there, I received an auto-reply email message from him on September 9th, which stated simply: "I have retired. Have a great day." But when I called this morning, and asked for the Benefits Department, I got put through to... Aren Chaisson's voice mail box. "Please leave a message, and I will get back with you..." So, being a tenacious chap, with a mischievous sense of humour, not to mention a fondness for the absurd, I shall have a thoughtful cup of coffee, maybe even a chocolate cookie, and try calling again, and see if it is possible to get hold of a living, breathing, human being in the PHI "Benefits Department" and see if they are in complete agreement with the way "Reliance Standard" are making their demands. And you guys still having that money deducted faithfully every month out of your pay checks... I shall let you know.
  4. Bravo! And that is what I encourage everybody to do. If I could travel past our Sun beating Light and having fun Would I turn around a lot To ponder, wistful, our Blue Dot? Or would I be content to stray Far beyond the Milky Way And never wish to hear again This strange cacophony of Men.
  5. That's about the way I see it. It's important for observer folks to realize that EVEN WITHOUT THE VERP, the raft of all the other DEDUCTIONS cited above would of themselves be sufficient to see to it that this so-called insurance 'policy' "legally screwed you." It's all creative stuff. Borderline artistic. The 'PHI Contact' that I refer to as 'the angel of Mercy' is a graduate Summa Cum Laude from the Insurance School of how to creatively DEDUCT left, right and center. No matter what the PHI Benefits Manager tells you. Each pilot's circumstances vary, but I'm in touch with one former co-worker who is having his V.A. benefits deducted, as well as other DEDUCTIONS. I just am left with a very bad taste in my mouth. Walking away in disgust. Pilots (and mechanics) and all the other occupations being cynically (and 'legally') ripped for MULTI MILLIONS across this Nation..... YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. On a much more cheerful note, here's a photo from one of my favorite websites, earthspace,circle.blogspot.com It kind of brings a quiet smile to my face, and puts it all in perspective. A kind of celestial, cosmic 'middle finger' to the PHI Benefits Department, Reliance Standard, the 'angel of mercy', and all the other nasty little creeps that think they are SOOOO clever. Here you go. Earth as seen from underneath Saturn. That's us. Somehow, when you zoom out, and look back at our tiny home, where we live our tiny, short, and wholly insignificant lives, from a Cosmic perspective, unexpectedly losing $150,000 bucks means nothing. I'll leave you with a short quote from 'The Blade of Damocles' Underneath a blade Paused, unnaturally, from beating air into a mostly illusory submission, I gaze in rapture At a thin gaseous layer With which our home Fragile and small Is blessed by Forces slightly understood And by a Great Cosmic Kindness Whom we, noisy and unseeing approach, unknowinglingly Fly Safe,all. Mogster
  6. I know the Union was looking into this a while ago. Questions have been asked for a long time, but nobody has taken the time and trouble I guess, to laboriously document it and write it all down. Personally, I'm kind of sick of it, and would like to just walk away in disgust as well. But even if it's just a service to my fellow pilots still working there, I've been burning the midnight candle to document it, while it's still fresh in my mind. Somehow, this PHI Benefits/insurance Nigeria scam, is not the PHI I remember. At all. PHI was exciting to work for. They have a high turnover, but I was there for twelve years, leaping up the seniority list. I kind of mostly thrived on it. I always put in for the high flying jobs. The quality of the machines was great. The maintenance was great. There were some leaders there I would - in a war- have followed straight into the hell. Really great guys. The odd hypocritical and two-faced Area Manager who needed ritually castrating, but overwhelmingly, it was all good. When they said "Stand up, take a stand, speak out" they actually meant it. The Vietnam era pilots had no problem with speaking out, but these days, many say there is this trend towards cowering behind silence. PC correct, say nothing, suck it up. That's not healthy. Or safe. I butted heads furiously one time with one Area Manager. I sat down with my own, TC Lee, and explained exactly what had transpired whilst at another base. I told him I was 'mad as hell'. I asked TC to contact said Area manager, and explain to him that I wished to resolve the issue between him and me. That I felt we could achieve that. But I was sure as hell... not putting up with what had just occurred. TC listened to the whole story, agreed with me, and tried hard to broker peace with the other A.M. He failed, and the reaction back was basically a threat. That if I dared to complain to Lafayette, we would "see what happened". Really. You thundering bully. Well, I had tried to keep it private and to resolve it on a local level. The phone rang in Mike Wassik's office, the Head of Oil and Gas. Great guy. My old Area Manager in Galveston, back in 2004. Never ever seen Mike lose his cool, no matter WHAT excrement impacted the wind turbine. Good listener, and very, very fair. "Hi Francis, how's it going?" "Well, Mike, to be honest with you, I'm mad as hell. I would appreciate it if you would listen to me for five minutes without interruption, and I know that after that I'll feel a whole lot better." (calm and unruffled) "Sure! You go right ahead!" That was Mike for you. So I told him exactly what had transpired, and why I thought it was ridiculous and improper, and Mike calmly looked into it, and when he had all the facts, he completely agreed with me, the A.M. concerned was hauled to Lafayette and told to shape up, the issue was resolved, and they we were both -nicely- told that it was a solved problem, done deal, and now would we boys both please go back and play nice together. And we did. The A.M. and I had coffee together, and from then on we got along just fine. On another occasion.... (the list goes on and on; all good) My point is this: PHI has many really great people. I really can't see people like Pat Attaway, another leader I would resolutely follow into hell, being too happy if and when he reads about the dissected version of this 'company store' brokered insurance mish-mash. Al Gonsoulin is the man who saved PHI. He bought the company almost bankrupt, and close to being unable to meet payroll. He whipped it around, kicked posteriors, and turned it into the power house that PHI is today. A straight talking guy, who will stop and chat with his pilots in the field. He'll remember your name, and will listen with interest to anything you have to say. I like and respect Al Gonsoulin. Tough, but fair. You can't run a company the size of PHI and be universally loved. But in terms of ethics? Al Gonsoulin is no Nigerian shyster. Lance Bospflug I would trust with my life. PHI's Vice President. Met him quite a few times in the field, and he comes across as pure integrity. Yellow-and-black through and through. Some of the PHI maintenance heads. Approachable, pleasant, and vastly experienced. By the time Bell Helicopters incorporates mods pioneered by PHI Helicopters in their regular production run, you know PHI is very highly regarded in the industry. Sure, all these people are very busy in their own departments, and cannot be expected to follow the ins and outs of the Benefits Department. And THAT is where I think the problem lies. You have got a Benefits Manager who has been there for many years, has gotten fat & comfortable, and he's used to this cozy-cozy relationship with 'Reliance Standard'. Who have ALSO been there for many years. (Since January 1, 2007 according to the policy.) It's the Benefit Manager I suspect who sits in at the board meetings, beams with pleasure when he relates the brokerage $$$ profits, and purrs with satisfaction that 'everything is running smoothly'. I suspect the news items he reports are carefully filtered to place HIM in the most exalted light. Complaints? What complaints? Al Gonsoulin doesn't take sh... off ANYBODY. Wanna bet that at the next board meeting, that several VERY busy people are going to take time off from everything on THEIR full plates, and all look at the Benefits Manager, and ask: Aron... what the HELL is going on...??? I know PHI. Behind closed doors, this will be looked at. Hey. I may be an ex employee, but I DID just stand up. I took a stand. And I spoke out. PHI have proven to me, many times, that they both encourage and approve of that. I hate lawyers. Last resort. Let's see where this goes, now the fundamental absurdity is well documented, by virtue of all the above. What's happening to us pilots may be 'legal' (like the guy they now call "Sir Shifty", sunning himself in the mediterranean on a $100 million dollar yacht, whilst 22,000 employees of his bankrupt business lose part of their pensions) but it's certainly not "fair".
  7. I'm all into rainbows. Especially the pots of gold at the end, my Irish mother used to tell me about. When I was small, off I trotted looking. I looked everywhere. I used to run after those rainbows. That wily leprechaun's gold is dang hard to find. So I finally, a while ago, after twelve plus years, actually physically got to look at the insurance policy that I had meekly paid many thousands of dollars into, via payroll deduction. One of the first things that hit me was this: I am NOT the policy holder....! The policy holder is.... PHI, Inc. I kind of stared at that. Couldn't figure it out. It may be of no importance. But it may also shed some light (or maybe a lot) on what follows below. YOU decide. Switching gears for a second, let me just float this image through your mind: remember the sweatshops that used to exist in the USA, but still flourish elsewhere? Where you can only buy at the 'company store'? Often poorer value products at inflated prices? There's even a song about that... Some people say a man is made outta mud A poor man's made outta muscle and blood Muscle and blood and skin and bones A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong You load sixteen tons, what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go I owe my soul to the company store... There's kind of a small matter of 'ethics' and 'morality' involved when a company like PHI ventures into cozily selling you, the 'muscle and blood' employee, essential goods from their own company store. I'm not talking trinkets and posters of helicopters here. I'm talking 'portant stuff, like bacon and beans. Or "Loss of license/livelihood insurance". Well, I know you've already figured something out. It kind of jumps out at you. Tell me, WHY would PHI inc, IF THEY HAD AN ABOVE BOARD ARM'S LENGTH INSURANCE POLICY UNDERWRITTEN BY RELIANCE STANDARD, ...possibly be so eager to DEDUCT the (PHI origin) VERP benefits from your (Reliance Standard origin) "Loss of license" payments? And allow Reliance Standard unlimited sway to DEDUCT and DEDUCT and DEDUCT? Why would PHI Inc give a damn about some outside insurance company's losses? Unless they were somehow cozily in bed together? Profiting from... YOU? Well, duh... I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal And the straw boss said "Well, a-bless my soul" You load sixteen tons, what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go I owe my soul to the company store Reason? You just bought your "loss of license" insurance policy in the 'company store'. It's coming out of the store's pocket. They don't like that. Whether or not PHI is actually the underwriter, or the part-underwriter, or the middle-man-broker, is immaterial. By setting itself up as the policy holder, PHI Inc has likely enough made a fair few millions along the way, but placed themselves in a questionable brokerage position. Ethically, whose side is the PHI Benefits Department on? Us, the pilots? Really? Or PHI Inc, who is the policy holder? Who are they gonna fight for? Who has first call on loyalty? Monies? A number of us pilots see no other possible explanation for the off-handed way in which PHI Inc seeks to calmly DEDUCT the VERP benefits (and the rest!) from our "Loss of License" benefits, at the rate of $1,250 per month for the VERP and $xxxx for everything else. It's a case of 'the left hand giveth' and 'the right hand taketh away'. (and 'the right boot kicketh' you outta the company store door). I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain Fightin' and trouble are my middle name I was raised in the canebrake by an ol' mama lion Cain't no-a high-toned woman make me walk the line You load sixteen tons, what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go I owe my soul to the company store (to be continued...)
  8. Okay, so, rattling on. I wrote above how I joked to my buddy that, at this rate of DEDUCTIONS, they would soon be asking ME for a check. We laughed. We thought it was funny. Well. They DID. THEY want a check back for $4,583.33 Pronto. Hop-skip. Yes, I'll admit I rubbed my eyes over that one. Say, what...?? On July 7th I got a letter stating that they had only just 'received notification' that I had received VERP (Voluntary Early Retirement Package) benefits effective March 13, 2016. Well, at least that part is correct. Although I find it very hard to believe they 'only just' figured that out on July 7th. The VERP was offered to us pilots over the age of 62, because of the ongoing collapse in oil prices and activity in the Gulf of Mexico. I was lying in bed in ICU, on day three or something, when my Area Manager called me on the phone to suggest I take up the offer. $75,000 to pack it up. I took the offer, but not before I enquired if it would affect my "loss of License" insurance package. "No", said my Area Manager. "I can't see that. Why should it?" In due course I called the PHI Operations Manager, and enquired with him. If I took the VERP, and thank-you-very-much, would I still be okay to pursue my loss of license insurance policy? He was very pleasant. He always is. Very relaxed gentleman. He opined that, no, as far as he knew, accepting the VERP package should in no way affect the "Loss of License" insurance, but that it was a topic being looked at, because "several other pilots" were "in the exact same boat" that I was in. Having suffered various medical conditions. (I don't know who you guys are, but you have my sympathies. Stay off the roller skates for a while, eh?) So, I got put through to the PHI Benefits Manager. My absolute memory of that phone call was that my accepting the VERP would NOT erase/lapse/invalidate my "loss of license insurance". Well.... July 7th. The 'angel of mercy' up in Philadelphia sends another 'canned' letter (all they do is change the recipient name, I'm betting; the rest just follows a standard play book) and curtly informs me: your VERP benefits will be a DEDUCTION. They call it an "offset". Are we THAT surprised? Nope. Not really. Not any more. They will be using the gross (pre-tax figure of $75,000) (never mind that you only just got over $50,000 after tax). This figure of $75,000 they then divide by 60 months. Which equals $1,250 per month. DEDUCTION+++++ Are you getting the picture? So NOW my new benefit is reduced down once again. Let's recap: We started out with (yummy, yummy) a Letter dated April 8, 2016. "60% of your monthly salary $7,020.04 would be $4,212.03...." 36 months times $4,212.03 equals (thumbing calculator) $156,497.25 Not bad. DEDUCTION+++ (uh-oh) Social Security. (what? Why? Huh?) $2,155 per month. From the git-go, although I'm not getting anything from SS yet, and don't EXPECT to get anywhere near that amount. NEW BALANCE: $2,057.03 per month for 36 months = $74,053.08 (STORM CLOUD THREATENING: DEDUCTION of the IRA rent house income/threat of suspending further payments entirely) NEXT UP: DEDUCTION: They are reducing my term of payments from 36 to 24 months. NEW BALANCE: $2,057.03 per month for 24 months = $49,368.72 so NOW knock off another $1,250 from that $2,057.03 above. "Your NEW monthly benefit is $807,30 per month" which, multiplied by 24 months (remember, that 'remote diagnosis') , would give me $19,375.20 (and please send us a check back by return for $4,583.33) How-EVER. I still have hanging over my head the demands for information (2015 Tax Returns) and 'detailed profit and loss account relating to my rental houses. The 'rehabilitative' employment. Which they wish to DEDUCT from that $807.30. PLUS they want to know how many books I sell on 'Smashwords' and how much I make as a freelance writer. Which they wish to deduct in turn from the amount they get left over after deducting the amount they wish to deduct from that $807.30 for the 'rehabilitative' house rental income. (say that quickly three times, and you'll start laughing) Absurd...! So, what you think of THAT? I'll tell you what I think in a second, but first my Buddhist buddy named Lucy needs her tummy rubbed. That's the one who listened patiently to my extensive home made speech therapy sessions. Tail wagging. One smart dog. (to be continued...)
  9. @ Hobie. Oh, you musn't worry in the slightest that this is a source of grief or pain to me any more. Although I appreciate the sentiments. It was admittedly for a while, when I really was NOT feeling very well, or remotely "with it". There is nothing like reading a long insurance policy over, and over (and over again), quite unable to figure out the 'logic'. All because the 'angel of mercy' just tells you (coldly) to 'read the policy' and will NOT tell you how or where in the policy it justifies their seemingly off-the-wall demands. It left me bewildered for a while. I thought maybe it was MY sanity. Having been busy 'coming back' in the recent while, by dint of the passage of Time and maybe a touch of damnable, stubborn tenacity, I have a much better grasp of what's going on here. Any 'distress' if you like, has long since been replaced with a quiet venom. Contempt, mostly. As regards the "lawyer" bit, suggested by you and many others, hold that thought. I have something to say about that (of course) but first I need to complete the story up-to-date. They can rook me as much as they like, but whatever they cynically save off my back, I'm going to try my Gaelic damndest "fighting Irish" best to make them lose, a thousand times over, or more, virtue of a wonderful technological advancement known as... People Power. (a.k.a. the 'Internet) (to be continued...)
  10. Now, I scribble, right? (I know, I'd like to call it 'writing' but I'd be afraid I'd get laughed at) 'Just Helicopters' via the redoubtable Lynn and Lynette Burks, owners of this website and the finest helicopter magazine in the world, Rotorcraft Pro, kindly encourage the mangellations of ordinary words, the outrageous contorting of simple concepts into otherworldly verbosity, the baffling of mortal minds, and the occasional venomous onslaught against vastly superior foes. They even pay me for it. I have a blog on Just Helicopters, that I'm really enjoying, and I'm baffled that anybody would pay me to indulge in my passion. You will find two of my novels, a collection of short stories, and the infamous 'Moggy's Tuna Manual' at 'Smashwords', and it's no secret that I do draw a trickle income from meticulously assassinating the Queen's English. There, my old Republican sympathies just slipped out... It's like the day the Fourchon Area Manager, good old T.C Lee, told an entire roomful of pilots that he needed a volunteer, to assume the duties of 'Safety Rep'. (Silence) (no hands). Patiently, T.C. explained the urgency of the task. The nobility, even. (Silence) (no hands) Patiently (he was a very patient leader) T.C. explained that it just required a twice monthly talk. (Silence) (no hands) ...and that it paid an extra $100 a month. (pause) (ONE HAND) "I have a question", spoke an Irish accented voice. That owned the hand. "Yes?", said T.C., patiently as always. "I just want to get this straight. You're going to pay me $100 a month to talk twice a month to a captive audience...?" LOUD GROANS FROM EVERYBODY. "You've got the job", spoke T.C. So, my point is, the world knows that I scribble and get some greenbacks for it, right? So what has THAT got to do with the redoubtable PHI/Reliance Standard combo? Everything. It's DEDUCTABLE. The 'angel of mercy' is demanding accounts, and to know how many books I sell on 'SMASHWORDS', so they can DEDUCT that income. It's REHABILITATIVE, can't you see...? (you just can't make this sh*t up...) (to be continued...)
  11. So, let's recap. We started out with (yummy, yummy) a Letter dated April 8, 2016. "60% of your monthly salary $7,020.04 would be $4,212.03...." 36 months times $4,212.03 equals (thumbing calculator) $156,497.25 Not bad. DEDUCTION+++ (uh-oh) Social Security. (what? Why? Huh?) $2,155 per month. From the git-go, although I'm not getting anything from SS yet, and don't EXPECT to get anywhere near that amount. NEW BALANCE: $2,057.03 per month for 36 months = $74,053.08 (STORM CLOUD THREATENING: DEDUCTION of the IRA rent house income/threat of suspending further payments entirely) NEXT UP: DEDUCTION: They are reducing my term of payments from 36 to 24 months. NEW BALANCE: $2,057.03 per month for 24 months = $49,368.72 HUH!? WHY? At this stage, I turn to my buddy again. Him who would have had the buckshot incoming, if he had come home with my daughter. Let Mister Charming call the 'Angel of Mercy' (the 'PHI contact') in Philadelphia. So, why are they reducing my term from 36 months to 24 months? Because, the 'Angel of Mercy' informs my buddy, up there in Philadelphia, in the Fine Offices of 'Reliance Standard' Life Assurance Company, they have access to their own Medical professionals. And some Medical Professional up there has 'remote diagnosed' me, based on the available documentation. Without ever seeing me. In his opinion, my condition is NOT due to a stroke. It's due to a 'nervous or depressive condition'. The stroke didn't affect me. Say... what!? I discuss this with my Family Doctor. She's just beyond shocked. In her words, this is just 'ruthless Insurance scammery' at its finest. As she said, with everything that has happened, including some devastating family tragedies, I'm one of the least-depressed people she knows. One of the most stubborn as well. Her words, not mine. So here's some observations: 1) the medical records clearly show that I adamantly denied being depressed and/or suicidal all along. 2) the medical records clearly show that I never asked for, or took, anti-depressants. I don't believe in that sh*t. Well, you can see how if any person claiming under this policy DID either admit to feeling depressed/suicidal, or took anti-depressants, well, you've just kissed 12 months payments goodbye. Because even though I denied depression, and refused anti-depressants, I STILL get 12 months knocked off. Just like that. No appeal, it seems. Finally, as my family Doctor points out, these medical insurance scams are rife. She comes across this sort of thing all the time. She also said Doctors are required to pursue 'due diligence' that a patient is NOT depressed/suicidal, hence the questions HAVE to be asked (and recorded) in the medical notes. But my adamant denial was clearly noted. No matter, the 'remote diagnosis' from Philadelphia trumps all. (surprise, surprise) Ho-hum. Down from $156,497.25 to $49,368.72 Still with a storm cloud hanging over my head about the rental houses' income. It's only money. Can't buy happiness, eh? Maybe they are done deducting now. I crack a joke with my buddy. I reckon that at this rate of going, they will soon be asking ME for a check! We roll around the floor laughing. Little did I know... to be continued...
  12. Alrightie. So there you are, kind of a bit groggy after an issue with oxygen passing to your brain. The after effects of a stroke/T.I.A. are entertaining. They last for months. I guess maybe years, if you're unlucky. Vertigo is one. Reliably, every time I'd go to bed, I'd know it was coming. Kind of a 'Wheee-eee-eee' here-we-go kind of sensation. Like being in a spin in a Cessna 150, when full opposite rudder is having no effect. You're just going round. And round. And round. In time, you know it's coming, so it gets to be boring. You just kind of shrug your shoulders mentally, finish your sandwich, spin all the way down, forget about opposite rudder, and go to sleep. To hell with it. In time, it slowly eases off. Next up is a process where all of a sudden you are telling people your phone number incorrectly. And your zip code. No, Francis. That's not your current phone number, Sunshine. That was your phone number twenty years ago. And no, that's not your zip code anymore. You are now living in a fine place called T-E-X-A-S. Sweetheart, the zip code you just wrote down in the nice form was where you lived back in 2000. It's called A-R-I-Z-O-N-A. And now you've upset Dave. He's driven all the way to the Bank with a check you wrote out to him. Only to realize you have made it out to Dave WOOD. His name is Dave SMITH. And he's been your handyman for years. Where did the WOOD suddenly come from? With a giggle, you remember. Dave WOOD worked for you way back in 1982. You brain, darling, is flipping back to old files. Oh, boy. But in time, it gets better. If you have a dry sense of humor, you can see the Funny in the Absurd. Life is a ride. You just gotta get your ticket's worth. No quitting. So you just double down, and things slowly get better. The idea of going to speech therapy classes is off-putting. Speech therapy? Nah. I know, I'm a stuttering and ah-stammering. People giving me funny looks. It's nine a.m. and they must think I'm drunk already. So you devise your own therapy. I walk around the house, and have scintillating conversations with inanimate objects. I decide "hippopotamus" type words are great for practise. My scruffy mutt-dog is loving the attention, but maybe slightly bemused at the long conversations about Buddhism and Kahlil Gibran. Not to mention the diatribes aimed at some daft broad named Hillary. Must admit I'm easily amused. In time, it gets better. Much better. Takes months, but everybody remarks on it. More bouncy, and much better speech. People stop treating you like a fragile old fart, who might embarrassingly fall over at any stage. They quit hurriedly sliding over chairs, and opening the damn door. Avanti...! I eye my 1300 cc V-twin. Hmmm..... So what has this got to do with insurance? Nuthin'.... Not a thing. But it will paint to you perhaps a stage of several months where I COULD indeed have done with some SUPPORT from that nice 'angel of mercy' at 'Reliance Standard'. . As opposed to 'mind games'. Well.... enter the 'mind games'. The Olympics of mental sport. Madame is demanding my FEDERAL 2015 TAX RETURNS. Say, what? Where is THAT in the policy? I can't find anything about that. (it's not in there). I read it many times. She is ADAMANT that unless I provide those Tax Returns, I will not be providing all required documents, therefore (you guessed it) they will be suspending further payments. Huh? She wants to know the income from my rent houses. Why? Because (surprise, surprise) she wants to DEDUCT said income from the insurance payments. I have TEN rent houses. That's a lot of gross income. Do you want to deduct the gross income? How about the costs side? Mortgages and repairs? Where is this even in the policy that you can DO that? She won't answer that last question. But now she wants, testily, the 2015 Federal Tax returns AND a detailed Profit and Loss account from my rent houses. I'm totally lost. I don't see anything in the policy that would justify such a demand. And such a deduction. She refuses to tell me WHERE in the policy it says the Insurance Company can DEDUCT said monies. I explain,as nicely as I can, that I don't HAVE a profit and Loss account for the rent houses. I don't need one. The IRS doesn't require it, nor does the bank. That lot is owned by my IRA. It is a property managing IRA, which is perfectly legal, set up to invest in real estate. Provided these are passive rental investments (no flipping) the funds can accrue in a tax free IRA environment. They ARE 'passive, long term investments'. I have a handyman who does the fixing, hammering, plumbing, showing, and rent collecting. I just own. It's basically intended as a trust for my kids. What on earth has that got to do with this insurance policy? She takes no notice of my protestations. Still DEMANDING my 2015 Federal Tax Returns, and a detailed Profit and Loss account. And still claiming that, under the terms of the policy, yes, THEY CAN deduct that income. (And by golly, they are GOING to.) I'm at a loss for words. Yep, mark the calendar. I'm lost. No comprendo. I'm sincerely trying to 'comprendo' but it's all above my tiny mind. That gross income (into the IRA) all day long will reduce the insurance pay-out (if they deduct it) to a big fat zero. I turn to a friend. I ask him, and his wife, to read the insurance policy. Where, meine gute Freunden, does it say in the policy, into which I have paid for 12 years, that they can DEDUCT that income? They can't find it either. Anywhere. I have an idea. With my authorisation, I appoint him to 'help' me dealing with the 'angel of mercy' up there in Philadelphia. In due course, I'm listening in while he talks to the nice lady. My buddy of course, is a charmer. In his younger day, had he come home with my daughter, I would have given him both barrels (buckshot) from the moment he stepped across my threshold. One of those types. In next to no time, HE has her tell him WHICH clause in the policy she is using to make her DEMANDS. Here, I'll quote it for you. It's on page 18.0 I would guess that PHI/Standard Life have saved themselves multi millions over the years by the application of these few dozen words. "Rehabilitative Employment Rehabilitative Employment means work in any gainful occupation for which the Insured's training, education or experience will reasonably allow. The work must be approved by a Physician or a licensed or certified rehabilitation specialist approved by us. Rehabilitative Employment includes work performed while Partially Disabled, but does not include performing all the material duties of his/her Regular Occupation on a full-time basis. If an insured is receiving a Monthly Benefit because he/she is considered Totally Disabled under the terms of this Policy and is able to perform Rehabilitative Employment, we will continue to pay the Monthly Benefit less an amount equal to 50% of earnings received through such Rehabilitative Employment." So there you have it. Managing my IRA assets is now conveniently re-named 'Rehabilitative Employment' and therefore they can DEDUCT the income. It's all in the label. Never mind that this IRA has being owning houses for six years PRIOR to my stroke/T.I.A. Never mind that I have a handyman who merrily runs around doing the hammering, screwing, fixing plumbing and all the rest. It's "rehabilitative". We can (and will) DEDUCT it. Give us forthwith your Federal Tax returns, and a detailed profit and loss account, or you will be in violation for failing to provide required documentation. And we will then deny any further payments. So.... If you are paying into this "insurance policy', you might reflect on THIS particular use of "Rehabilitative employment". Does any pilot NOT have a 401(K), a ROTH IRA, Veteran's benefits, etc, etc? If administering your own IRA/ROTH/Etc can be deemed "rehabilitative", well.... then there is literally NO END IN SIGHT to the scope for DEDUCTIONS. And if you think we're now DONE, nope, you're wrong. More to come. PHI/Reliance Standard have this down to a long practised, finely honed ART form. To be continued...
  13. There is a lot to it. I'll try and make it interesting, hell, even entertaining, but I'll have to feed it to you in stages. It's complicated. I believe it's meant to be. But by all means draw your own conclusions. Firstly, at the end of the very first phone call, I was told by Miss Meyers that she was "pleased to tell me I qualified for eighteen months payments." I said: "That's odd. The PHI Benefits Manager told me thirty-six months." There was a pause. A short pause. Without any emotion, she then said: " I am pleased to tell you that you qualify for thirty-six months payments." Boom. Just like that. I nearly lost eighteen months worth of benefit in a few nano seconds. I thought that was strange. If Aren Chaisson hadn't given me the heads up...? Next hurdle: collecting documentation. There were a number of strong warnings that the file was about to be closed, and the claim DENIED, because Reliance Standard had not received the required documentation back from the various hospitals and Doctors. I was sternly reminded (repeatedly) that it was my responsibility to ensure that documentation was provided. Well, what would you do? I know what you would do. You would ask WHICH hospital or Doctor had not sent back the required documentation, right? She wouldn't tell me. Just the repeated threat that they would close the file and deny the claim, UNLESS... I was left to phone around everybody, and ask them to please make sure they returned the required documentation and Insurance company questionnaire. Time passed. I'm STILL getting threats from Reliance Standard that they have not got the paperwork back, that it's MY responsibility, and that they are going to close the file and deny the claim. Eventually I discovered (by dint of constant phone calls) that the fault lay at the offices of my Radiologist. I wasn't feeling too well, so I had a buddy drive me up there. I walked in, and was shown through to a nice lady. I asked why they hadn't completed the questionnaire? She showed me the form. 90% completed. One glance at the remaining un-completed portion of the form told me the problem. The questions asked the 'percentage probabilities' of various scenarios. That I would make a 100% full recovery, or 100% certainly NEVER make a recovery, or a 50% probability, etc. In this day and age of liability, I did not need the secretary there to tell me these were hard to impossible questions for a Doctor to answer, and put his signature to. I really wondered if they were DESIGNED that way. No paperwork return = file closed. Right? So now what was I to do? I had an idea. I asked her if she would 'take a letter'. She looked surprised, but said "Sure". I then dictated a nice letter, expressing copious regrets at being unable to answer question number 7 through 12, but in view of the lack of exact science pertaining to stroke and T.I.A. events, it was not possible to exactly quantify the percentage probabilities requested. And would 'Reliance Standard' kindly accept the returned paper work, which had been filled out to the best of the good Doctor's abilities. Minus questions 7 through 12. The secretary thought it was great. She said you would use it as a standard for the future! While I was there, the whole lot got emailed off to Philadelphia. I was driven home, bone tired but satisfied, wondering if that had fixed the problem. I also wondered how in hell's name everybody else in the same boat was getting around this. I never heard any more threats to close the file from 'Reliance Standard' to close the file due to lack of paperwork. So I can only conclude that my impromptu dictation, in the Doctor's Office (have you ever heard of such a thing?) hit the intended mark. But... if I had overcome that road block, there was plenty more to come. Moving along. It's an insurance policy, right? What kind of insurance policy has a whole raft of deductions that are not immediately VIEWABLE by the policy purchaser? CLEAR? OPEN BOOKS? ON THE TABLE? I was told nothing of any DEDUCTIONS when I was sold this policy by an enthusiastic Area Manager back in 2004. I did ask for a copy of the policy. Several times. Asked the Lead Pilot. He had that insurance policy. No, he had never seen the written policy. I asked other pilots. I asked the Area Manager. No dice. Nobody had a copy of the policy. It was implied it was almost disrespectful to even ask for one. Years went by. Every so often, the subject cropped up. The Vice President of PHI would occasionally visit the field bases, and in this capacity, he visited Fourchon base. A few of us had been talking, and I asked said gentleman during questioning time if we could have a copy of the loss of license insurance policy for our files. He looked blank. HE had never seen one. I believe him. He promised to look into it. Never heard another word. However, as I said above, some of these clauses are crafted by Legal Beagles. What they can get out of some of this, in terms of mileage, would wholly escape the scrutiny of simple helicopter types. I promise you. So, I was informed they would FROM DAY ONE be DEDUCTING Social Security at the rate of $2,155 per month. That's just over HALF the promised benefits in one foul swoop, just there. Say, what?? Even leaving aside the principle of the DEDUCTION (why?) I was stunned at the amount. $2,155?? I won't be getting anywhere near that. How do you guys, without access to my employment history and work record even know that? Sharply, over the phone, Madame told me they had a database. What, founded on remote viewing and telepathy? You can probably tell I wasn't hitting it off with this ministering 'angel of mercy'. We argued. It was no use. They were deducting it, from the git-go, with effect from last March, on the assumption that: 1) I would be granted Social Security Disability. 2) that the amount would be $2,155. I was also told I was REQUIRED to apply for Disability. So I did. Fast forward. Here we are. End of August 2016. Social Security (after 6 months) have DENIED my claim for disability. No surprise. 'Reliance Standard' want me to appeal that. Here's the rub with that. It is really hard to get a straight answer from anybody in Social Security. Nobody knows anything. Nobody will commit. And they love passing you on to extensions that just ring and ring. Or automatic answering systems that send you round and round. (the bend). I have had ZERO dollars from "MY" Social Security Dollars. (that the politicians happily spent on their pork barrel projects). Technically, if I persevere and appeal, and IF I WIN, yes, the claim will be paid retrospectively back to March of this year. When I first filed. You would THINK (would you not) that if I abandoned the disability claim, and just asked for my age 64 entitlement (about $1400 a month), that they would backdate THAT claim to March of this year, right? Wrong. It seems (hard to get a straight answer) that if I abandon my disability claim, I have to start all over again NOW, and apply for RETIREMENT. Which, I am told, is wholly different from DISABILITY. Meaning that I just LOST 6 or 7 months of standard age 64 benefits I could have had (about $8,400 to $9,800). So the longer you wait in appeal, for an uncertain outcome, the more you lose in what would have been guaranteed income you were entitled to anyway being 64. You lose. So what to do? I have a meeting on September 7th with Social Security to 'go over my options'. They won't help me over the phone. My point is this: this Social Security DEDUCTION in the first month, at some astronomical rate, which assumes you have won your Disability claim on day one, is a BIG THING for us policy holders. If you are going to put people through all that, you need to make it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR up front (in my case, back in 2004) that there are MAJOR DEDUCTIONS from this so-called insurance policy. Still with me? So, you see my hoped for $4,212.03 per month for 36 months has just suffered a major dissection. Hoped for/expected: $4,212.03 per month for 36 months DEDUCTION++++ SOCIAL SECURITY AT $2,155 per month from DAY ONE++++ NEW BALANCE: $2,057.03 per month for 36 months. Right? Wrong. Dude. What is your problem? You fly helicopters or something? Not the brightest bulb, eh? PHI/Reliance Standard are only getting going on the DEDUCTIONS. There is MUCH more to come. MUCH more. Believe me. Some of it quite creative. I'll leave it there for now. To be continued...
  14. well, carrying on. Let's dig a bit deeper into this grand insurance scam, brought to you by the fine combo PHI/Reliance Standard. Let's see how they stitch us schmuck pilots up. I wrote a poem once about such sweet innocence. It's called "Come into my Parlor". "Come into my parlor, said the Spider to the Fly; the place is very comfy, the ceiling nice and high. Your wings could do with leisure, they look quite beat to me come in and fill your measure of jam and toast for tea." Firstly, they make sure your guard is down. The PHI Benefits Manager, all avuncular and caring sorta, promises you (like Christmas) that you'll be getting a call from one Alberta Myers from Reliance Standard from Philadelphia. "The PHI Contact". It is implied that she is "there to help". The angel sent to bring succour to you, after your life changing stroke, you poor thing. When finally, after a 90 day wait, SHE calls, you are greeted with a warm and caring "How ARE you???" by this fine lady, and it warms the cockles of your heart. Being a simple helicopter jockey, gormless and trusting, not too familiar with the ways of the world, you assume she is indeed, there to help. Well.... "Thank you kindly, Spider, the simple Fly replied, (the empty tum inside 'er, helping her decide) "I'd love some jammy munchies it's been a long hard day and have you any crunchies, to go with my entree? She IS there to help. She is there to help PHI/ Reliance Standard absolutely DEDUCT every last CENT they can from your supposed insurance policy. Don't fall for it! That fifteen minutes of warmth and compassion is totally FAKED. It's purely designed to get you to talk and chatter, all relaxed sorta, and then they ferret out information they will ruthlessly turn and use AGAINST you. (They even want to know if you are on Facebook). In all my dealings with this lady, the ONLY hint at compassion and/or humanity I ever got was in that first fifteen minutes of chit-chat. After that, when she had gotten what she wanted, the tone of voice changed abruptly, and we were into DEDUCTION country. Believe me. Cold, clinical, borderline contemptuous down the phone. I soon felt I was just another diseased piece of flotsam, un-fresh out of the gutters of New Orleans, to be summarily informed (through pursed lips) (remember your least favorite Lady teacher at Kindergarten?) of the way things were going to be. Testy. Snarly. The Spider smiled all nectarine, and promised goo galore "As much as you have ever seen, you'll never wish for more." The Spider kept his promise, the Fly could only wail "Oh why did I so misconstrue the meaning of your tale? I should have guessed quite easily, the menu of the day; but here I land so queesily, smack in the old puree. So, some numbers. Letter dated April 8, 2016. "60% of your monthly salary $7,020.04 would be $4,212.03...." Yummy, eh? 36 months times $4,212.03 equals (thumbing calculator) $156,497.25 That will work. Cool. Tide me over nicely, thank you. Oops. Small print: "less other income". Um... That can't be SO bad, can it? Can it? (to be continued, if you wish...) Which only goes to show anew that smiles are mostly thin and if a Spider welcomes you you should never trust his grin...
  15. @ TomPPL Ah, no worries. It's not going to stop the train. The Insurance scam is annoying, but merely another bump on the road. I can't say it's getting me down. Having worked around the world, I've seen plenty to know that we live highly privileged lives in the West. I won't starve (really), my day is full and busy, and my interests are wide and varied. So no big drama. C'est la vie. Won't stop me from full throttle living. Mind, I tried the motorbike since -once. Nooooo.... I put that one back in the garage. Where it sits, glaring at me. Like the dog when I'm eating cookies. First bend I came to... nope. Funniest thing about the stroke was my speech went haywire afterwards. (I know, I'm wide open here...) They said I might have to go to speech therapy classes. Slurring and stammering. But it's come back. Bit slower. Have to put more thought into pronouncing words (h-i-p-p-o-P-O-T-a-MUSSSS...) and I have to work on structuring sentences together properly. But back to being able to natter away with the ragged old tramp begging on the Market Square. (never know, might get some career guide line tips here...) I'm delighted you enjoyed the scribbles, and that's always been the reward for me...
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