Schadenfreude is a wonderful German word from a culture and country not known for its linguistic delicacies. Defined as a “malicious joy in the misfortunes of others,” it literally means damage-joy.
Schadenfreude will be high among the advisors and agents reading about the following situation, especially those who’ve experienced mind-numbing audits and investigations with a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” choice of outcomes.
The Baltimore Sun recently reported that the Maryland Insurance Administration has “cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years by failing to properly collect taxes on insurance premiums.”
The paper claims the failure is tied to the botched procurement of an online payment tool implemented in 2012—a process largely controlled by a single employee who has since been referred to the Maryland State Ethics Commission for possible violations of state ethics laws.
The Sun said that the employee, who was not identified, “influenced virtually all aspects of the procurement and implementation” of the payment tool, the audit found. The tool, in turn, lacked a built-in system of checks and balances to ensure payments from and refunds to insurance companies were correct, Thomas J. Barnickel III, the state’s auditor at the Office of Legislative Audits, told the paper.
“Not only did they handle the procurement wrong, but it adversely impacted their operations,” Barnickel said in an interview. “It’s a double whammy, really.”