Foreign Assistance in Greece

Insurance in Greece
Mandatory Public (social) vs. Optional Private

PART 3 :  PRIVATE INSURANCE ( or the pina colada story)

Even mentioning the word IKA on a prospective romantic date will kill any chances you have of success, so vile is the image it evokes. It is no wonder that more and more people have turned to the civilized, respected up to date alternative which is private insurance. Many self employed have private insurance as well as the compulsory TEBE. However, there are pitfalls and traps here too.Yes, for the minimum of 400-500 euros a year you receive 20 times better care than IKA or TEBE,but it all depends on which insurance company you choose. Right of hand here are the 4 best and most of all, secure.These are: Interamerican, Alianz, Alico, and the national bank insurance. There are other credible ones as well but these 4 come to mind. Do not become a victim of the pina colada trap which I became.

When I owned the school, got married and had a wonderful daughter, Holly, I became part of the rat race and absolutely had to play the role of a loving, concientious, and supportive husband and father. I knew my TEBE was not enough so I searched into private insurance companies. A "former" good friend of mine--I say former as I could shove his advice down his throat--convinced me to take out a policy with an insurance co. called MESOGIOS. I'd never heard of them, but he said it's really efficient and offers great coverage. I fell for it. Little did I know that he got out of that one and into one of the "big ones" without telling me. So here the naive American goes to sign with Mesogios. Usually companies like the big 4 ask you questions like, "Do you smoke? Do you drink? Do you have a history of mental illness? Do you know anyone that does? Have you had any car accidents" and so on and so forth. Not Mesogios. They never asked and didn't care.

So there I am when the employee asked:

--what type of insurance do you want? Basic, mixed, semi mixed, floating, full or 1/2 or 1/4 coverage or........

--I just want life, accident, health, car, and motorbike for me, my wife and my 2 year old daughter.

--Accident for your daughter? Isn't she too young to drive? I'll have to see her license. It's highly irregular that......

--Not for my daughter you, you.....(where did they find this brilliant broker) for my car and bike.

--Does she ride a tricycle? If so you'll need collision insurance for her. What if she hits some old man in the......

--Look, just get the policies out. Are you new here? Do they pay you IKA?--

--With this company it's a good thing I have IKA 'cause, I mean, gosh I shouldn't have said that. I mean that........

--Aren't you going to ask me my age, if I smoke, mental history, things that companies ask?

--No it's quite alright. We take anyone who can pay the........gosh here I go again. I meant......

She slipped me the contract and I signed justifying this because my "friend" swore to their integrity and friendliness. He didn't say anything about the average I.Q. of the employees. So here I was with full coverage in all categories (minus the tricycle) and feeling good about myself. I'd go there every 2 months to pay and was greeted with nothing but smiles. Nice people I thought, so cordial and helpful; and then the pina colada monster appeared.

One day I went for my 2 month payment only to see the door chained, two guards with semi automatics at each side of the door, and about ten policemen outside. A robbery I thought until I saw the sign on the door: 'Closed Indefinitely'. This is a joke, right? I tried to convince myself, just a joke. Palpatating a bit I went to some guy in plain clothes outside the door and asked what had happened.

--It's closed. They left.

--What's closed, you mean for the day? Who left? What do you mean?

--I'm the district attorney. We think they left last night at about 4 am. All of them. Probably on a beach drinking pina coladas.

--All of whom? (by now panic sets in)

--Yeah the owners, employees, even the cleaning lady, about 40 of them in all. Got a call from the airport.

--The what? Airport ? What the.....

--Something about Jamaica. Couldn't catch them. Happens all the time, Interpol doesn't care nor the FBI.

--But I'm insured here, I .....

--You were insured here you mean. Sorry buddy. Any time now the rest of you suckers will be showing up.

How do I explain to Holly that her tricycle is not insured?

See Insurance in Greece Part 1
See Insurance in Greece Part 2

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