We all can remember where we were the day those planes hit the two World Trade Center buildings. I was actually working for a firm you may remember called Dean Witter, and was literally on the phone with someone in Trade Center Two an hour before the plane hit that tower. Like a lot of people, I had friends and colleagues die that day, so every September 11th, I always take time to reflect on what was, what happened, and what we should learn from that horrible event.
I think it’s time for the annuity industry to learn from what happened before, during and after 9/11, and how we can apply those best practices to the annuity brand. Please don’t be offended by the 9/11 correlations because they are needed to emphasize the importance of what can be accomplished.
Expect the unexpected
As someone who actually worked in Trade Center Two for a short while, there was not one day that I thought those buildings could fall. As I frequently ate lunch at the Top of The Tower Restaurant (the top floor of the Trade Center), it never crossed my mind the horror that could happen with those huge structures and the people inside.
Just like two planes flying into the World Trade Center seemed unthinkable, we have to ask ourselves as an industry what potential threats may be coming our way? What’s the unthinkable that can happen to the annuity industry? Is it specific carriers going under? Is it the eventual backlash of bad annuity Internet advertising? Is it a class action lawsuit of some sort that we can’t fathom? Is it the current new ownership or yet to arrive new players in the annuity world?
The basic breakdown on 9/11 was the security and screening at the airports where the terrorists got on the planes. Where is our annuity security breakdown? Stop and think about that for a second, and you will be surprised with the immediate answers that pop into your head. We have to expect the unexpected, and do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn’t happen. At a minimum, we need to beef up our “annuity security.”
Play offense, not defense
Since the 9/11 tragedy, our country has not suffered that type of large event. Yes, we have had a few random idiots take their shot and do minimal damage, but our political and military leaders can be proud that they have kept our country safe since that dark day. The war against terrorism is daily and unrelenting to say the least.