I’m not sure if it’s just me, but as I’ve attempted to close down the year financially, it seems as if every technology solution I’ve needed has failed. It has prompted me to write this blog on how it is still essential to have your own copies of essential documents.
Digital copies are good, but paper is still the most reliable.
The first outlet that failed me was our insurance company’s website. Normally I’m able to look up EOB (Explanation of Benefits) documents going all the way back to when I first became a customer, but this time I was not able to. Without that reference it made it exceedingly hard to complete our FSA (Flexible Spending Account) claims. It was like a game of dominos with one falling and knocking over everything.
To make matters worse, we tried to contact the insurance company through their online contact form but were informed that we didn’t have a valid email address on file. So, I went through the steps to add an email address with the website telling me the changes were saved. It didn’t look like the email address was added but I gave it the benefit of the doubt and tried the contact form again to no avail. It still said I didn’t have an email address on file.
This resulted in a call into the insurance company to find out what was going on. The agent who answered the phone gave us the scripted answers at first before admitting they were having issues with the website. We were then transferred to another company that takes care of the website. This person told us he couldn’t do anything about it but would add it as a ticket to be looked at by the developers with no indication of how long that would take.
Having worked as a web developer myself I understand the non-commital response, but as a customer it is quite disheartening when you’re trying to complete financial tasks that have deadlines.
Then literally the next week I’m trying to pay our car insurance bill and their website is down. I have tried multiple browsers and from different locations but it seems as if their web server is just not working. With the payment due today I’m reduced to the option of phoning in our credit card number to avoid late charges. Now paper copies of the bill may not have solved this, but the paper copy reminded me of the due date, provided account numbers and the phone number to call. The online solution failed me.
We’re being pushed towards paperless options more and more, but if you’re relying completely on technology you run the risk of running into dead ends when you need it the most. I recommend at the very least saving a digital copy of important documents so that you’re not relying on a third party service. It’s even better to print them out and file in case your own hard drive crashed wiping out those copies.
The convenience of online solutions is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but they are prone to failure. If you want to be sure that your destiny is in your own hands and not that of a machine, you still need paper.