As the year unfolds, questions on a variety of subjects arise, opportunities are uncovered (and sometimes missed) and issues start to work their way to the surface. But more often than not, there is not enough material about which I am familiar enough to write a full column. Therefore, I would like to use the last column I wrote in 2004 to briefly lift up a few such items.
A good case in point is the controversy surrounding the actions of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and a couple of state insurance commissioners. I am not very familiar with the property and casualty business and its nuances and do not know how you go about “rigging” a bid in a very competitive market, so I will not comment on that aspect of the issue until I learn more. However, two questions regarding this affair do come to mind. First, the targets of the alleged misdeeds are major corporations. These are professional buyers, many with risk managers skilled in designing coverage and analyzing bids. It is hard to believe this kind of buyer of insurance could so easily have been duped or disadvantaged.
Given the track record of one of the commissioners and the buzz regarding Spitzers political ambitions, one has to ask: Is there really an important issue here or is it primarily about politics? It strikes me as sad when political ambitions have to use straw men to advance their cause.
But like it or not, we are a favorite “whipping boy” for people advancing all kinds of causes. I recall an instance some years ago when I was invited to be on a conference call with a Los Angeles radio talk show host. The host bombarded the other participant and me with the most outrageous questions imaginableanswers to which were either impossible or subject to misinterpretation. During an ad break, we complained about the ludicrous nature of her questions, to which she just laughed and said, “If you cant bash insurance, who can you bash? Defend yourself if you can.” I hung up and dont know whether the other participant continued.
In the department of missed opportunities, I would rank among the highest the failure of agents to utilize the National Quality Award in forging stronger ties to their clientele. The NQA is awarded by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and LIMRA to agents whose business enjoys a high degree of persistency. NAIFA makes available announcements of an agents qualifying for the NQA, which can be mailed to clients and policyholders.