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Life Health > Life Insurance

Unhealthy skepticism

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It was less than 48 hours after the 9/11 attacks when a friend of mine suggested to me that the U.S. government was really behind it all. Ever since, one cannot research Sept. 11 without coming across a flood of commentary from the so-called “9/11 Truth” movement, which questions every official explanation of the attacks and substitutes explanations of its own. Why? To support the pre-conceived fantasy that 9/11 was really a hopelessly large and convoluted government plot to generate support for some other plot just as large and convoluted.

Calling 9/11 an inside job is like saying the British Crown engineered the Boston Tea Party so it could justify sending more soldiers to the Colonies. It just doesn’t make sense or stand up to any informed scrutiny, and neither does the 9/11 Truth movement. These conspiracy theories are insulting tripe fueled by people unwilling to accept 9/11 for what it really is: the act of a few brazen terrorists upon a nation that did not take their threats seriously enough until it was too late.

There is a wealth of information to be had that supports the official explanations of 9/11, but it would seem that Truthers either don’t bother with actual research or they simply dismiss obvious explanations as part of the conspiracy. If ever there was a deep, dark rabbit hole of circular logic, it is 9/11 conspiracy thinking.

Sadly, there persist some falsehoods about the insurance aspect of 9/11, also. One is that WTC 7 was intentionally destroyed in order to collect the insurance on it. This theory overlooks a lack of contract certainty on said coverage, and modern claims management practices, which both relegate the insurance angle to the realm of poorly written paperbacks.

A more disturbing legend is that no life insurance money was paid out on 9/11; that the insurers claimed a war exclusion on every policy. This too is the folly of ignorance. Life insurers paid some $2.7 billion in death benefits to the families of 9/11 victims, accounting for nearly 7% of the total insured losses from this event. To say the industry did otherwise gives in to the wrong-headed notion that the industry’s default motivation is to defraud its policyholders. It also shows laziness, as the life payouts from 9/11 can be Googled easily.

The truth is, in the aftermath of 9/11, life insurers delivered to grief-stricken families the evidence that those they lost cared enough about their families to see to their financial well-being. I cannot imagine it was easy to deliver those checks. I suspect more than a few of them were delivered by hand. Each one was a reason for the industry to be proud of su

pporting our people—citizens of the greatest nation on the face of the Earth–at a time when they sorely needed it.

I cannot remember 9/11 without getting upset. I get through it by thinking of the humanity we saw from our fellow Americans on that day forth. It includes first responders who ran toward danger when all others ran from it, citizens who helped their fellow victims at the moment of truth, and our brave military that relentlessly hunts the criminals behind this attack. But it also includes the quiet succor of the life industry, which would be more outspoken about its deeds, had it not chosen discretion over vanity. There is much about 9/11 we should not forget. Let’s add that last detail to the list.


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