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Point of Impact

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Some time in early May, between when I was first approached to become the new Editor in Chief of this publication, and when I officially took the job, there was a bad auto accident about a block from my house. What had happened was a minivan was heading down our street, probably a bit too fast, and an SUV cut right across the road from a side street without even looking. The minivan never had a chance; it just T-boned the SUV, which in turn flipped over onto its roof and spun around 180 degrees. The minivan just had its driver – the mom of one of my daughter’s classmates, it turned out. The SUV had a mom behind the wheel and her two kids in the back, one of whom was all of two weeks old.

When the crash occurred, I heard the sound of it and then the unending blare of a horn, and by instinct, I ran outside to see if I could help. By the time I got there, there were three guys franticly trying to open up the flipped SUV to get the baby out. Touching anybody in there was a bad idea, but I knew I couldn’t stop these guys, so I went to the minivan to see to its driver. She had a broken wrist and was in shock, but she was going to be okay. The occupants of the SUV also got away without serious injury, which is a small miracle considering that the infant somehow fell out of its seat during the crash and tumbled inside the SUV as it flipped. By the time the EMTs got there, though, the baby was asleep again. Once the police, fire and ambulances were on the scene, I went back home.

Since then, I have been asked by some of my friends and colleagues from my former position as Editorial Director and Publisher of Risk Management magazine why I would be interested in covering the life and health insurance industry. For me, it’s a bit of a different beat, and to be honest, I didn’t really have a good answer for my friends at the time. I just said what was on my mind at the time, that I was eager for a new challenge, and even more so to work for a publication with the prestige of National Underwriter.

But there’s more to it than that. I thought about that crash while coming into work on my first day here. It occurred to me that both cars were health insurance situations. Thanks to modern automotive safety and more than a little luck, neither car turned out to be a life insurance situation. And fate willing, one day both will become annuity situations. As I grow older, and my youthful delusions of immortality fade, I am only too aware that life can reverse itself in the blink of an eye. One minute, you’re home reading a book. The next, you’re at the scene of a potentially grisly car wreck. There is an entire industry devoted to helping people prepare for those moments, as much as we wish they would never occur. It is an industry I’ve long been fascinated by, and at last, I was given the chance to observe it, report on it, and perhaps in due time, lend it some perspective.

The question then became not why would I want this job…but why wouldn’t I? Thanks for having me. See you next issue.


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