An Ode to the Old, a Zen Moment for the Present,
And a Promise for Tomorrow
Sometimes, He sends people to help. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, that every bad thing I have ever done has led me to EVERY good thing I am capable of today. I believe I am doing exactly what He specifically designed me for, and He is not done with me yet.
Insureds need protection from insurance companies. Period. We have factually, provably altered the course of people’s existence. For the good. Come sit with me anytime, and we will pick up the phone and call any number of clients you wish, who will more than likely talk your ear off. From everyday grandmothers to senators and judges, restaurants to churches and everything in between, one thing remains. We have always done one thing. Had one Purpose. #ProtectTheInsured
Have I always been good, kind, or on the right side? Absolutely not. I was a raging idiot who attempted to destroy myself, and everything I loved. Until I became a father. Something snapped, rightly so, and my whole existence changed. I have fought since that very day to right any wrongs that I could, and make a living amends for the ones I cannot. I am self-taught. All of those years taught me defeat at its most base level. Something anyone who has ever enjoyed any victory, has had to have suffer as well. In order to do what we do, it takes everything we have ever learned. The times I spent in trouble, and on the wrong side, now stand as a beacon. I understand what they are doing and where they are going, and the result of their actions, always known, always understood. Insurance companies knowingly under pay their insureds. By how much, how often, and which companies has been lamented by many, yet never factually backed. Until now. Every Claim, Every Time.
Time and again, I hear, “you were in trouble with the law, numerous times?” To which I have to smile. I have been down this road many times. Many attorneys, insurers, enemies, competitors, con artists, crooks, and yes, everything in between. At some point in every single relationship, this suddenly becomes an issue. I use the word suddenly, because my history is worn as any tiger wears theirs stripes, as scars, battle wounds and markings, proving that I have fought the very worst this world has to offer. I am still standing. Between a mother who never gave up, a core family, and for the last ten 10 years, the love of my life, and an unwavering Faith in God, not only are we standing, we are fighting. Using EVERY SINGLE lesson from EVERY single scar.
When my answer comes, it is not what they expected.
“Yes. All those things are true. Many, many more that are not written down. Both good and bad. What I would like you to look at, is the result, every time. Historically, provably with the very records that follow me anywhere I go, and are given in extreme detail to any state I apply for a license from, I accepted my guilt, my consequence, and my duty to my community without fail. I served every single punishment the court gave me, and many they did not, the ones that were self-made, yet again in this journey called life. Crazy thing. I was seventeen years old. I will be 42 in a couple of days. My life did not even BEGIN until I was 23………. When I realized the error in my ways, I immediately set about a path of change that ultimately led to whom you see today. The reason we are even having this conversation, and you are trying to use my past to discredit me, is the very reason we are here. I am a fast learner, and by twenty-three years of age, I had learned the value of the rules, and that following them, to the letter, suited me much better than anything I had tried thus far. Once this became the norm, the next natural occurrence was to wonder why everyone else was NOT following the rules, which, in turn, brings us full circle back to why we are having this conversation about my past.”
At this point, normally, whoever is on the other end has figured out what is actually going on, or they are blind, and no matter what, it will be a brutal finish.
We are having this conversation, in short, because I spent a lifetime building a construction company, knowledge base, both on physical and administrative, only to end up fighting with the very companies I respected, over items that were clearly damaged, clearly owed, yet defiantly and adamantly denied.
Between the years of 2007-2009 many things happened. Wall Street, Housing, Oil. Every person I know was affected. Some way more than others. We were paying an extremely high General Liability premium as a large construction company. When everything went bust, people became desperate and attempted any number of things to keep from paying the debt they owed. Overnight, oil had dropped from $144 to around $37. This was on top of the housing and Wall Street fiasco. We had approximately 30 Projects going. About a million dollars’ worth of materials on the ground. Most of our clients were oil related, (almost every industry in West Texas is) and they went from well off to owing everyone, including the contractor who was in the middle. Some of them attempting to discredit us in order to not pay us. Only a few, but we all know, the squeaky wheel makes the most noise. There were three instances where we filed contacted our insurance agent, asked about coverage, and were told no, they did not cover that. We, like everyone else, absorbed those losses, and moved on.
At this point in time, everyone we knew, attorneys, accountants, other contractors kept chiming one thing. FILE BANKRUPTCY!
Now, I don’t know about you, but I do NOT like that word. In essence, Wall Street filed bankruptcy, housing filed bankruptcy, banks filed bankruptcy, and ultimately, our country is merely filing a prolonged type of bankruptcy, both monetarily and morally.
The thing about bankruptcy, in only hurts the people who put faith in YOU in the first place. All the crooks, the criminals, the ones who stole and did horrible things, have ALREADY succeeded! The only ones left to hurt, are those who do not deserve it.
I refused to file. Instead, we worked our butts off, sacrificed everything we had built, and finished all but two projects. One by mutual agreement, which I will be eternally grateful for, the other by lawsuit.
We finished. All of them. We have eventually paid almost every single debt, with only a few remaining.
When my wife read the definition of Public Adjuster, over the phone, the hair on the back of my neck started tingling, as it is now, in the most peculiar way. We had been doing this very thing for our ENTIRE career. We had even become a Premier Service Provider for State Farm, for approximately 2-3 years. We were constantly in a battle of having to complete an insured loss for what they paid. It was impossible, and resulted in us terminating the agreement. (State Farm Likes to claim differently, as they do about your coverage, I outright challenge them, produce the paperwork, they cannot, because it does not exist.) My last conversation was on speaker phone, with the regional manager of the PSP program and his supervisor. I told them both, if I could find someone to pay me to do the work, make sure it was done correctly, and on time, and take any blame for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING an insurer claimed they DID NOT owe for, yet had to be done, I would hire everyone they could find. I then hung up the phone, only to receive an immediate call back, stating, now Cal, you are in contract, and you can’t just stop. To which I replied, “Take a good look at those contracts. We signed a one year contract, over two years ago. We never extended the contract and have just kept moving. I have no contract with you, you have no hold on us, lose this number……”
I know this is a bit drawn out, however, these small details are imperative. Here’s how.
We began to shut down our building company. We had shut off all advertising, rerouted all phone lines, completed all projects and were moving in full force towards InsuranceBusters.net. We had received all the study materials and were preparing to take the entrance exam. (Last known statistic, less than 22% of the people who take this test pass on the first attempt.)
As I began to read the study material, a fire that had been slowly burning inside of me, began to grow. The more I read, the more I understood, the stronger the flame. Within 2 hours of beginning the material, I had furiously taken notes on a yellow legal pad. (I am famous for these, they are everywhere and contain ideas such as InsuranceBusters.net, WrapVertising.net and so on.)
These were not happy notes…. Each one indicated an instance where my insurance was OBLIGATED to have helped. The entire reason we had purchased it. I became even angrier when I realized that the few times we had actually had the AUDACITY to contact them, they outright lied to me and my wife. The lie itself was bad enough, however, financially, we were bearing all the costs the insurance company was supposed to have. Yet they saved all that money, by simply saying no. At one point in time, and several since then, we were destitute. Every single penny went to someone else, to pay for what my insurance originally owed. We are not talking a couple of thousand, we are talking hundreds of thousands, with damages in the millions.
Was my anger valid? Did they actually owe? How would you prove it now?
I already did. From that yellow piece of paper, and my limited knowledge at that point, I contacted my insurance company on the only one we still were within time limits, and wore them out. They sent us a check for $20,000.00, immediately, with a final settlement. Still new, still green, and completely ecstatic that I was correct, they were let off that easy! In actuality, this one issue cost over 1 million in actual, no telling how much in heart and soul and time. We have paid the majority of that, and still brought InsuranceBusters.net to where it is today.
What would have happened if the insurance company would have just paid what they owed on the claims they owed?
I do not know. What I do know is that, I, my wife and daughters, and many others suffered tremendously over someone simply saying, “We do not cover that.” When I say suffer, I mean in every sense of the word. Financially, physically, emotionally, mentally and yes, our egos.
You want to know why I am fierce. We, as a family, as a business, have suffered terribly, on numerous occasions, unnecessarily, simply because of the word no……
As I calmly look whoever the accuser is, directly in the eye, “When I was young, and hell-bent on self-destruction, and I actually did things knowingly that hurt people, I felt remorse, I admitted my guilt and accepted my punishment without fail. Since those early years, around 23, there has been very little in the way of intentional harm and a whole documented slew of intentional rights. I have done it all proudly, and with the ability to look anyone in the eyes. Now that we have made sure to air all my dirty laundry, let’s take a look at yours…….”
This is just one company, and these are just a few instances, but they are considered number one, so a pretty good gauge. This is Evil. It goes against the very fabric of WHY you/I purchased the insurance in the first place. It leaves you, the insured at a financial loss that will take years before the full extent is known. All because you were never intended to be indemnified in the first place.
I have, at some point in life, been everything someone has accused someone else of being. The difference? In a nutshell, I was an adolescent, lashing out at anyone and anything, especially myself, or anything that looked like it may first love me, then leave me to my own. I did a bunch of stupid, childish, illegal things. I paid for, and still do, each and every one of them, 20+ years later, longer than I was alive prior to being so stupid. I live with it every time I apply for a new license, a new office lease, temporary housing, everywhere, in every situation. I have to. Bearing this burden makes me acutely aware of my surroundings, and those around me who are not only not carrying their own burdens, but are attempting to hide their own behind the simple fact that mine are out there, open, addressed.
What does all this mean? It means, quite simply, that the past has absolutely NO negative effect on the future. Quite the contrary. The past has dictated that the future becomes one of order. One of rules. Rules which we must all follow. There is nothing left hiding in Mr. Spoon’s closet. Nothing left for me to fear. All those problems were stepping-stones, some of them really close, some I nearly had to drown before reaching the next. Each bringing a lesson of what to do next.
Today…Throughout the United States, and London of course, we are known. To insurers, we are their archenemy, and they will attempt to discredit not only us, but our profession. To that, I say one thing, “We are capped at 10% of the settlement by law. This is LESS than YOU tip your waiter. An insurance company is not capped! They are allowed to charge staggering amounts in premiums while GIVING their OWN valuations to INSURED LOSSES! (Actual Example: Church A receives $25,000.00 loss payment. Insurer initially fights tooth and nail, denying owing any more, at all. Ninety days, no attorneys, we settled the claim for $385,000.00. What was the difference between the original $25,000.00 and the final $385,000.00? We were. We were the difference, and we kept the church from asking the already overtaxed parishioners from having to commit additional funds, funds they did not have.) This one claim, had we not been involved, would have netted the insurance carrier a benefit of $355,000.00! Where is their cap? There is not one! Please, do not get the silly notion that this is an anomaly, it is not. It is every claim, every time. Again, if you care to challenge, come on down. I have five years’ worth of proof after proof after proof.
To our insureds, we are a modern-day Robin Hood’s, who actually use the rules/laws to protect them! What their insurance company was supposed to do all along, and has convinced an entire world that it is a good idea to send the guy who actually owes the money out to tell you EXACTLY how LITTLE it really is, you know……
We do that. Every Day, All Day, All Year.
So….again….who is Cal Spoon?
He’s that GUY…. Loving Father, Husband, Son, Grandson, Brother, Uncle and many more no one ever gets to see. Because fortunately, all those horrible things I have witnessed, have made me fierce in the protection of that which I call family, blood or not, and those I have sworn to protect. I take it that seriously, ask anyone who knows me.
I aspire every day to be my Father’s son. To live as I talk and talk as I live. To be the type of son He would want to be proud of. The type of son who would sacrifice all that he loves for that which he believes in. I believe in who I am, and feel extremely confident about my role in life. We have helped so many…..
That’s me, Cal Spoon in a nutshell. Nowhere near perfect, but never even dreaming of ceasing to attempt and reach some level of peace, of a restored balance after chaos reigned for such a period of crucial learning years.
I have heard a phrase used numerous times in connection with my name. He is like a Tiger, every once in a great while, you may get lucky enough to catch a hold of his tail…… but then, what are you going to do, you have caught a tiger by the tail? You have to wonder who actually caught who……
Any specific questions, please feel free to ask.
Cal Spoon 12/21/14