Readers Call Bobo Columns: On Target Or Off The Mark

To the Editor:

Jack Bobo has, at times, annoyed me with his opinions and mystified me with his logic. However, the column entitled “How to Destroy a Field Force–and Perhaps a Company As Well” in the Jan. 13, 2003 National Underwriter is “dead solid perfect.”

How many actuaries and investment officers treat the premiums field people sweat to produce as anything other than money that simply shows up at their home offices? Rarely do I encounter any of these folks who have an appreciation–much less understanding–of the “peak and valley” income vagaries of an insurance sales career or the crushing disappointment of losing a big case. It is not necessary that they like or love field people. They should, however, respect us for doing jobs they shrink from–and would fail at if they tried.

Of course, the insurance business needs good actuaries, investment officers and executives–they have completely different skill sets from agents. But it also needs quality agents. Good home office people appreciate and respect their agents for doing a difficult job under difficult circumstances. And agents return that respect in even greater measure.

George Hutchens, CLU, ChFC
Hutchens Brokerage Group Inc.
Tampa, Fla.


To The Editor:

I was disappointed to see Jack Bobo jump on the “tort reform” bandwagon, especially with his example of an attorney “friend” pocketing 30% of a judgment that was a “slam dunk.”

The first problem is that, like doctors, lawyers have utterly failed to police themselves to any meaningful extent. The number of lawyers disbarred or the number of doctors losing their credentials is scandalously small. If lawyers are filing frivolous cases or doctors are finding their malpractice premiums skyrocketing, they might first try weeding out from their colleagues the crooks and dummies.

My wife and I personally went through what we thought was a “slam dunk” medical malpractice case involving the astoundingly unnecessary death of our 16-year-old daughter. We endured a year of gross mistreatment by the carrier and then finally settled for cents on the dollar simply due to exhaustion, our attorney taking one-third of course.

The second problem is all the bogus “examples” of lawsuit abuse circulating in the press and on the Internet. Visit www.snopes.com for a thorough debunking of the most infamous cases, for example, the guy who set the cruise control on his new motor home, went back to the kitchenette for coffee and successfully sued the dealer for injuries sustained in the wreck. Its a total fabrication thats been around for over 20 years.

Let me assure you that sufficient hurdles are already in place to discourage litigants. In fact the system is already downright abusive to legitimate claimants. Any system that is absolutely abuse-proof will therefore become absolutely abusive to those it is intended to serve.

Gary Duell, ChFC, MBA
Happy Valley, Ore.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, February 10, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.