Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Twelve-Hour Work Day

Started on July 9, 2012: It doesn't happen often, but when it happens it is killer. I'm typically the first one in at the paying job around 6:30am. My shift runs from 7am to 3:30pm with an hour-long lunch break. Today I didn't get to leave until nearly 6:30pm and I didn't get the full lunch break.

July 1st is the beginning of our assessment season. We mail the insurance companies invoices June 30th (or as near as the calendar allows, we fix the snafus as they appear, the payments trickle then gush in, and the Department gets its operating budget for the next fiscal year. But every year there is a snafu.

Last year was the Great Address Disaster, when we lost count of how many invoices the Post Office returned to us because another division decided keeping the addresses updated was too much work. This year is so much more worse. I didn't even want to blog about it over the weekend (Author's note: and I've been too busy to type this up for two days now).

All the assessments are based on a percentage of the written premiums minus some lines that are exempted by law. Life premiums aren't assessed but half of Health and Accident premiums count. Since we have moved to sending out invoices, we've never had to mistrust our totals. When I first started this job, we let the companies do their own math and then had to double check it. The companies never got the math right.

This year the IT contractors unveiled the new tax program they built, which included our assessments. We had trouble getting our invoices printed but we mailed them out right on time. Then we came back to work after Happy United States Day to find out that over half of the invoices totals were wrong. The computer program included Life premiums, and all the excluded lines from Property and Casualty, printed out invoices that we mailed for companies that are exempted and have never had to pay.

Monday, we finally had amended invoices to mail to the companies (Yes, it took the contractors two days to fix the program to calculate the totals right.), which we got out on time at the expense of not batching the incoming mail. So we stayed late to get that done. I also have the joy of answering the emails of the companies who noticed something was wrong and contacted us, but another coworker took the phone calls so I ain't complaining about that. Then we had to separate the payments that had already started coming in: the ones that are the correct amount and the ones that aren't. We don't want to cash any checks when the company doesn't owe us a payment (those are getting sent back with an apology letter). The payments in which they overpaid we still haven't figured out the best way to deal with them.

Tuesday, more of the same but without a mail-out I got to leave at 3:30pm. But it's always something new to make the IT contractors fix. We found a company that was missed completely. 83 Risk Retention companies (which are exempted) were still listed as owing the Department assessments until I got those taken out.

Wednesday, I hurt from the base of my skull to my tailbone because my back ties itself into a pretzel when I'm stressed. New things that IT contractors have to fix: just found a company who we changed contact information last year was mailed to the same wrong address this year, which we were promised wouldn't happen when we took over updating the addresses. Wrong payments outnumbered the right payments that have arrived so far. Hopefully by the end of the week, the mail-out will reach the companies and the wrong payments will stop. We still need to contact the companies who owe us less than what they sent, because we really don't want to refund over 700 companies if we don't have to and we're pretty sure they don't want to wait for their refund checks.

Lunch is over and the companies are emailing.

Read Free!
The BookWorm


bek said...

Ergh, stressy :S

I will sympathise a little with the programmers too if they were a good team and working to the spec they had. Not so much if otherwise ;)

Can you take a holiday afterwards or is everyone else planning to do the same?

KLCtheBookWorm said...

I've got issues with these contractors, but that's a whole 'nother blog post. With this set of problems: there's no one to really level the smoking gun at. My supervisor did all the testing of the assessment invoice system and the tests apparently worked until we went live. But she ain't the most tech savvy in our division, so we really don't know if she told the contractors everything that needed to happen. Or if we were fed a line of bullshit by the contractors while they didn't program what we were promised (i.e. the repercussions of the Great Address Debacle Part 2).

Vacation: oh Lord and Lady I want one so bad now. But one coworker already took next week off months ago. I've threatened to take August off so I won't be here to send out second notices, but at this rate, the companies will have heard from us five or six times by then.