Your article, “Timepieces,” April 18, 2011, was a heroic and moving piece. Thank you for writing it, but more importantly for sharing it with the National Underwriter readers.
In the competitive world in which we live there is little time taken to remember and to review the human side of life. How often I think of the values we package and sell each day as a financial commodity intended to soften tax situations or to reduce fear of unplanned and burdensome debt situations.
Our business started as a people-sensitive plan of financial help, arising from sincere interests in people’s needs and sprouting from fraternal attitudes which helped create our modern insurance programs. Today it is standard that insurance plans are largely meted out by unemotional institutions instead of the warm and caring early day purveyors of financial assistance to solve problems for people.
In today’s world, many of the latter-day mutual companies have given way to a more solely money-driven way of life. This observation is not meant to critize, for the newer companies are capable of delivering excellent products at a fair price to the consumer. What is different is the corporate culture of our carriers. Many are headed by financial people, not insurance people who are energized by stories like the one you share with us.
These thoughts generate many concerns and issues relative to today’s life/health insurance industry. Thoughts such as why the industry does not consider the aspect of cash flow income to be the major concern of us in our “income society.” We have not been for many years a “saving society.” Why do we not believe a guaranteed income is more important than paying hospital and doctor fees? Why have we decimated disability income insurance to a bullet point under the heading “health insurance?” This is a lecture the world needs and awaits. Why?
Because, according to the highly respected actuarial consulting firm Milliman USA, out of 1,100 life insurance companies in 1975 we wind up with only 26 companies continuing to offer disability income insurance to our consumers. That number has not increased in the intervening six years to the present. Financial people fear risk and they foresee disability insurance as a risk they need not take!
This paradox and the deplorable and insensitive behavior of our few remaining health (medical/hospital expense) companies have given cause to ask ourselves, “Are we so myopic, looking constantly for profits that we overlook the greatness and the goodness our products can do for people and not realize that it is this value that motivates buyers and develops our profits?”
You have a big job, Bill, with many opportunities to help our industry to not lose its way.
W. Harold Petersen
I just got to my office and read your captioned article as I caught up on my reading before becoming a slave to my computer. I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. I lost my father about six years ago and although he didn’t defy the best doctors like yours did, his health issues caught up to him quickly in the last year of his life. Reading your article reminded me that yes, life is precious, and yes, time goes by more rapidly as we get older so we need to enjoy the time we do have.
George A. Whipple
I read your article “Timepieces” in National Underwriter magazine. It really resonated with me. What a wonderful view of life you have.
Mack V. Colt
Your private opinion on public issues does not show through your words. Said another way, what you write has to date been fair reporting of the subject at hand. I guess I kept looking for this from your predecessor and “it” never came through as fair reporting. I use to read his columns more to try and understand his biased nature.
Now, I am rewarded again with “Timepieces” at the end of reading what you wrote took me to remembering certain connections my father and I had, and I thank you for this.
My wife is an international travel writer and photo journalist…….she has had a weekly column in Chicago for going on fifteen years. Living in the same house with her I know what deadlines mean and sometimes such deadlines are not fun. But I know she enjoys writing and it is obvious that you do too.