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September 29, 2008

How I made Green & White Taxi pay what they owe

Suburban/Green & White Taxi Accident, St. Paul

On Sept. 4, I was in a Green & White Taxi on my way to downtown St. Paul to cover the RNC protests.

Suddenly, the driver slammed on the brakes, the cab veered into the next lane, clipped an adjacent vehicle, hit the k-rail, bounced back out into traffic and finally came to rest against the k-rail.

I was wearing my seatbelt, so I wasn't seriously injured. But I walked away with a very sore neck. I went to the ER to get checked out. X-rays came back normal and they discharged me with a prescription for ibuprophen.

In a way, it was a lucky accident because if I hadn't been strapped to a backboard in the ER while the Capital was being locked down, I probably would have ended up flex-cuffed face down on a bridge, like many of my indie media colleagues. As it turned out, all access to the Capital was blocked off by the time I arrived, so I missed the mass arrest.

The hospital assured me that the cab company's insurance would take care of the ER bill. I left them with the taxi company's name and phone number and assumed that the billing department would handle it from there. I didn't give it much thought until I got a bill for $1100.

The hospital explained that they'd called Green & White Taxi three times to request insurance information, but Green & White wasn't returning their calls. They wanted to hold me responsible for the bill.

I tried calling Green & White (also dba Suburban Taxi). I must have left a dozen messages over the course of several days. Despairing of ever reaching a person at the office number, I tried calling the dispatcher and asking him to walk over to the front office and get someone's attention. He refused.

I got a sinking feeling when I finally got through to a receptionist who refused to tell me the last name of the insurance administrator or when she'd be in the office next, or even the last name of the owner of Green & White.

For the record, the owner's name is Gary Tournier. Mr. Tournier didn't cover his online tracks nearly as well as he thought he did.

I was getting panicky because if Green & White would't give the hospital their insurance information, the hospital was going to hold me responsible. What's the point of making cab drivers carry insurance if they can get away with stonewalling the hospital until the victim gets stuck with the bill? 

Then I remembered that St. Paul has a taxi licensing commission which keeps track of the insurance that each taxi company must carry. I got the name of the insurance company and the insurance policy-writing company from from St. Paul's taxi licensing office. The policy-writing firm referred me to a third company that actually handles claim processing.

I asked if a claim had been opened for Green & White's policy. All the agent needed was the name of the company and the number of the cab. Sure enough, Green & White had filed a claim to cover the damage to their vehicle. The agent gave me the policy number and the underwriter's name.

That's all the hospital needs to bill Green & White's insurance for my ER bill.

I devised my own strategy to get around the shady, stonewalling Green & White Taxi because there wasn't any information online about how to get insurance info from a taxi company that won't divulge it.

So, I thought I'd post about the experience in the hopes that someone else will have an easier time of it.

To summarize: Here's what to do if a cab company won't divulge its insurance information. Find out which body governs taxi licensing in the place where the accident happened. Usually, the licensing body is part of the city government, but not always. Ask for the insurance policy information on the cab. Call the company that wrote the insurance policy and ask them to put you in touch with the company that processes the claims. Give the claim- processing company the details of the accident: Company name, cab number, date of the accident. They can give you the policy number and the name of the adjuster who is handling the claim. Give all that information to the billing department at the hospital.

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Comments

I was also in favor of congestion pricing

And while I think that term limits is stupid for executive positions ( while I favor it for do nothing jobs like congress and senate ) the people of NYC voted term limits in. If these laws are to be repealed, the public should have a say on that too.

Much of the press and chattering class roasted Giuliani when he wanted to stay on past two terms. But they are in many cases quite sanguine about Bloomberg trying the same thing.

Bloomberg is a serious talent, but in theory we have other talented people who would want the job.

Alon

Lindsay was the mayor of NY? Holy Jesus, I missed that one.

Yeah, from 1969 to 1977.

I don't know what the chattering class says about Bloomberg's power grab. I don't have access to local newspapers anymore, aside from online, where I am no likelier to read the Wall Street Journal than the Washington Post. Personally, I think it's symptomatic of autocracy. He supported mass arrests at the RNC; he supported congestion pricing, but is now torpedoing a proposal to toll the East River bridges, for which he will not get the credit even though its effect will be similar; he's railroading local communities in the interests of big developers, like Robert Moses but without the obsession with cars. Reformers tend to have large egos, but Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger at least matched the pizzazz with substance.

Bloomberg is a Democrat in Independent clothing.

Giuliani was an exception.

Bloomberg is Giuliani with manners and human decency. So actually, thinking about it, you're totally right :-)

Bloomberg is a Democrat in Independent clothing.

Giuliani was an exception.

Bloomberg is Giuliani with manners and human decency. So actually, thinking about it, you're totally right :-)

Alon

A silly play on Lindsay Berenstein's name

--

Giuliani's undeniable achievement is that he brought public safety back to NYC. There are periodic, silly, attempts to deny that, but it was an immense feat, one that has benefited everyone living in New York City, including the foot stamping Rudy haters.

Bloomberg is a financial genius, several levels above the rest of us and a terrific manager besides. He's a very good mayor. But he got to stand on the shoulders of Rudy Giuliani. Not sure how he might have handled the crime issue had he taken office 8 years beforehand, before Giuliani and Bratton enacted fundamental, good changes.

Awwww, Cass. We're oh-so wise to you, trying to stir the pot with vitriolic vim and vinegar (hey, did you appreciate that little bit of alliteration?). All in all, you're pretty dang funny, thinking you can get a rise out of us by bad-mouthing the First Amendment.

Bratton was already achieving results. As the head of the NYCT police, he implemented broken windows, which helped reduce subway crime in the early 1990s. Giuliani tapped him in 1994 to head NYPD (after citywide crime was down about 10-20% from its 1990 peak), then fired him in 1996 because crime was dropping too fast and Bratton was getting all the credit.

It's entirely possible that Bloomberg would've gotten Bratton, too, based on his scientific management policy. Or it's possible he would've gotten Lee Brown to stay... Brown was as successful as Bratton.

I'm a huge fan of Bratton. His ideas and the results he got in the Transit police is why Giuliani hired him. We can hypothesize as to what Bloomberg would have done, but the fact is that Giuliani is the one who did hire him, at exactly the right time.

I'm a lifelong resident of this city, and I'm sorry, I do not buy that the "out of town Brown" ( he loved his conferences ) or the unfortunate David Dinkins effected the immense changes Giuliani/Bratton effected right after being sworn in.

It was night and day. I saw it. Being someone who likes to hang out late in Manhattan, I saw it up close and personal, in many areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, on the subway after midnight.

As of 1999, there was , from FBI statistics, the following reductions since 1993 (when Rudy came in )
# 50% drop in overall crime
# 70% drop in murder
# 23.4% drop in rape
# 29.9% drop in felony assault
# 54.6% drop in robbery
# 53.2% drop in burglary
# 40.0% drop in grand larceny
# 61.2% drop in car thefts
# The City’s homicide rate was at its lowest level since 1964.

These were and are astonishing numbers. And they don't even count the big quality of life changes, including the elimination of squeegee men assaults etc that made people comfortable to come into the city. Which reinforced virtuous cycles that led the positive transformations of many entire neighborhoods, incl Hells Kitchen, Lower East Side, Williamsburg, the outer perimeters of Park Slope, etc etc.

This stuff just did not happen in many other cities, including very near large cities like Philadelphia.

Rudy can and should be criticized for lots of things --including getting rid of Bill Bratton out of jealousy--you're dead right there.

But the historic reduction in crime is Rudy's accomplishment. No one can take that away from him. And, again, it is hilarious that its likely that some who hate him the most may owe their lives or their safety to the crime reduction that he imposed on a city that so many felt could never be governed, esp. after the Crown Heights riots under Mayor Dinkins.

This is what happens when those jackasses voted for McCain. McCain = $1100 = 12 pices ibuprofen.

Why didnt the Cab company give you the insurance, thats disgusting. I hope you got it paid for and sorted in the end.
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QrazyQat, I'm assuming that there's a typo in your post, and you meant that it was $3800

$38. No typo.

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