Kangasniemi Finland information for tourists and immigrants




If you are a foreign inhabitant of Finland, then here is a story about an insurance company you don't have to contact (unless you can speak Finnish or Swedish).

Two weeks ago we were called by the OP-Pohjola-Group if we would be interested in listening to their offer for an insurance package for our manor, summer house and our vehicles (four members of our family have driving licenses). We already have a good insurance company; but we thought it couldn't hurt to meet with their agent in our village, Kangasniemi.

So this morning we got all our insurance papers together and went to the OP Bank. But they said the agent had an office elsewhere in town. We went there and encountered a young woman behind a desk.
As my wife speaks Finnish, she started off and was asked for her personal information. Then it was my turn. We said that I do not speak Finnish and would give my information in English if that was alright. The woman said "no, here we communicate only in Finnish and Swedish, that is our policy." Aha! So that was an easy decision for us. We got up from our chairs. When we were putting our coats on again she added "did you talk about this with our representative?" Of course we didn't answer and that was that.

Now I looked up their site - and it's in English!

Well... you can make your own decision. They don't want to do business a family of five with many objects to insure, because, although the father speaks English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish and a little Russian, he speaks no Swedish or Finnish yet.

Isolation tactics won't get the OP-Pohjola-Group very far I am sure.

On January 31 2012 I wrote the director of OP-Pohjola-Group, Reijo Karhinen, the following:

Lucien den Arend
Seppäläntie 860

51200 Kangasniemi,

GSM +358 (0)44 264 1212

 Dear Mr. Karhinen,

 We are writing you because we have not been able to get past your sub leaders (personel). It is about the fact that the members of our family of five are all Finnish except me. And that your representative in Kangasniemi let us leave her office after she told us that it is company policy not to speak English – only Finnish and Swedish. We had been invited to come and listen to OP Pohjola Group’s offer for insurance for our Kartano, island, five cars and art collection. My wife gave her information in Finnish and when it was my turn (I do not speak Finnish) the woman/girl, your representative, said (in Finnish to my wife) that she does speak English but refuses to because it is company policy to only speak Finnish and Swedish.

 So last week we had a very active discussion about this on the facebook group IESAF - or International English Speakers' Association of Finland. In more than sixty posts we discussed this problem.

 How can it be that your company name is in English; and your website has English pages, but it is its policy not to converse with a customer who cannot speak Finnish or Swedish?

 And why do I get no answer to my question about this serous problem - posted on your site’s form last week Monday. And why does my wife not get a response to her question, in Finnish, posted one day later?

 Yours Sincerely,

Lucien den Arend and Marjo Heikkinen

 Description: finn_sculpt_logomember of the Association of Finnish sculptors


The next day I received an automated message from his mailbox that my message was not read and was deleted:

Reijo Karhinen deleted my message before reading it.

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lake district

Kangasniemi is situated in the middle of the beautiful lake district of south east Finland