Handwritten Thank-You Notes Still Meaningful Today

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Small, red-brick ranch house. Short concrete driveway ending at one-car carport, basketball goal anchored above, bordered by beaten-down bare spots on either side – testimony to endless hours of basketball. Today, it would most likely be a garage instead of a carport, the goal on an adjustable pole and not the roof, and no bare spots because the endless hours will have been inside on the computer instead of outside with the neighborhood kids. Then, it was 306 Gibson Road. Today, it would be akimbrough@trh.com.

Most of us can probably quickly recall the physical address of our childhood home even after all these years. The mailbox meant something back then. Letters home from Dad on military duty or work travel, birthday cards from family and friends, and letters from Grandmother. Often, letters were ripped open and read before I ever reached the carport. Sometimes a bit of translation might be needed from Mom or Dad to help read words written by an aging and less-than-steady hand.

And not to lament the technology today that allows us to talk instantly with someone across the world, there’s still something a bit special about receiving a handwritten note in the mail. It means a little more, maybe, that they took that extra effort, that extra time. All the letters are filled in – no texting shortcuts, so luv is love, u are you, and lol is laugh out loud. Those kind of notes I can drop into my keepsake file, to where I occasionally turn and flip through notes scribbled by daughters, parents, friends; such sentimental journeys have a knack for pushing away the hard edges of life. (Okay, I know I can print out an e-mail or text message if I wish to keep it – and I often do!)

All this said, it caught our attention at work a while back when we received a handwritten note in the mail. It was a kind note, and insurance companies aren’t exactly accustomed to receiving lots of love letters in the mail, being that we are usually characterized as villains. For the record, we ‘villains’ at TRH Health Plans today cover more than 190,000 Farm Bureau members and pay out daily an average of more than $1 million in claims payments to doctors, hospitals and other providers.

But this particular note was a thank-you note from a member, thanking us for insuring their family and for ‘staying true in trying times.’ Covered by our health plan for several years, they chose us ‘because of rate and benefits … the most bang for our money.’ Maybe we should hire them to guide our marketing efforts, because they captured perfectly what we have sought to do as a service company of the Tennessee Farm Bureau.

We have all been in the midst of a long debate over a national health-care reform law, much of which has focused on the government – and not its citizens – making decisions about what should be covered and not covered by certain health plans. Much of what we’ve done as a company in the past year has been in response to a dramatic change in the law, not in response to what you our members have suggested.

For nearly 65 years, TRH has made available to members a variety of health plans, for individuals, for families, for senior citizens, for small employers. To do so, our focus has been very narrow: to offer as wide an array of benefits as possible, for as many members as possible, at rates that are as affordable as possible. That means we’ve never tried to offer health plans with extremely rich benefits, because most of our members can’t afford that. They want a reasonable plan that will also protect them if a catastrophic health situation occurs.

It truly is about the most bang for your buck. It has always been our belief that you should be free to make your own choices in a competitive marketplace. So thanks for choosing TRH Health Plans, or, if you haven’t, come by and see us at your local Farm Bureau office, call us or visit our website, or even write us a handwritten note. We’ll be sure to read it.

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