This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Monday, January 30, 2012

An Editorial (Jan 29)

(Posted Jan 30, Piste)

I have become acutely aware of two things that seem to function much better in Mexico than do their counterparts in the US.  One is the way in which automobile accidents are handled and the other is the way in which the petroleum industry is handled.  Let’s start with automobile accidents.

When one is involved in an automobile accident in Mexico, the police respond as quickly as they do in the US.  However, unlike in the US, the matters involving insurance are handled very fast.  The involved parties immediately call their respective insurance companies who send an adjuster directly to the scene of the accident.  The adjusters arrive very soon after the telephone call is made.  Undoubtedly, there are a lot of independent adjusters operating in Mexico. The involved vehicles may not be moved out of the roadway before the adjuster arrives unless ordered by the police.  

Once the adjusters arrive, they ask each party for their version of what happened, fill out forms, take a lot of photos of the damage, talk to the police, and then the two (if different insurance companies are involved) adjusters put their heads together and decide which party is at fault and which insurance company is responsible for the costs.  The at-fault party is normally required to pay the insurance deductible amount for the “innocent” party.  “Your” adjuster even determines the shop to which your vehicle should be taken (driven or towed) and negotiates with the shop for the repairs.  It’s all over (except for the actual repairs) within an hour or two, maybe even less.  It doesn’t matter what day of the week or what time of day the accident occurs. 

In the US, the police respond to the accident, interview the involved parties, fill out forms, and issue a citation to the at-fault party.   You may not notify your insurance company for hours, usually not until you are back home.  Maybe not until the next day.  The insurance company will then arrange for an adjuster to contact you by phone.  The adjuster may not do so for a couple of days, depending upon how busy he is.  He will then make an appointment at a convenient time to inspect your vehicle.  He will probably do the same with the other party.  You may even be required to obtain a copy of the accident report from the police, which is not usually available for at least 24-hours, perhaps longer in some jurisdictions. In other words, it can take days for the matter to be settled in the US.  As to the repairs, it will be up to you to find a shop in the US to handle the repairs and they may require you to pay something up front unless they have arrangements with the insurance company.

The second thing that the Mexicans do better than the US is how they handle the petroleum industry.  Simply put, they own it.  There is only one company, Pemex. Fuel is only sold at Pemex stations, which are everywhere.  Most are new, all are very clean.  Best of all, the prices are the same all over.  About one dollar (US) per gallon cheaper than in the US.  No one seems to be complaining about the government control of the petroleum industry. 

Most Pemex stations are big and have easy access.  Most have separate diesel pumps and convenience stores located with many of the stations.  There is no self-service.  A uniformed attendant pumps the fuel and, unless you are in a semi or motorhome, will usually clean your windshield.  I even saw an attendant washing a customer’s tires at one station.

I suppose that insurance procedures could some day change in the US.  But I will not live to see such a change in the petroleum industry.  Our government will never own the petroleum industry as in Mexico.  Unfortunately, our government is owned by the petroleum industry and a reversal of roles is not likely to occur, ever.

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