In the popular view, the two words above–intimacy and insurance–are about as related as dogs and cats. Yet, in the Nov. 27, 2006, National Underwriter, columnist Jack Bobo made this observation: “Because of the intimate relationship between life insurance and the indemnification for the loss of a human life, the (life insurance) product is afforded special considerations under the law and in society.”
Bobo’s article was about life settlements, but those particular words bear scrutiny all on their own.
The words reminded me of how dynamically the personal insurance coverages (life, health, long term care, disability, etc.) intersect with key moments in people’s lives. Moments like birth and death, accidents and illness.
The insurance is not the intimate thing, of course. The feelings and personal experiences are.
Yet, if the individual owns insurance that covers the particular life event, the insurance is most definitely intimately involved. It will pay the doctors and hospital, help families support themselves after the death of a loved one, etc.
In the past decade, this aspect of insurance has not received much attention at industry gatherings nor in trade publications (including NU). Instead, the eyes are glued on market share rankings, sales statistics, tax issues, expense factors, fees, compensation, policy design, lawsuits, legislation, pricing, claims, and on and on.
When love and loss, hope and healing do get a mention, the topics invariably come in as filler. An award is received. A pat on the back is given. A moment of silence is offered. But few explore the tender moments. Few examine how advisors cope with a client’s pain. Few discuss the client/customer service exchanges where raw emotion is open and aching.
Maybe this is because the intimacy issue is a given. After all, industry people know, or should know, that insurance pays the doctor bill, the death claim and the monthly disability income. They know insurance provides support services, care coordinators and back to work programs.
But maybe the reluctance to discuss these issues is also because industry folk are more comfortable looking the other way–at the business of insurance, not at the intimate relationships involved.
Is this any way to grow a business? No.