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Faith and the uninsured

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We are blessed to live in a world in which even those who are risk-averse can take chances and enjoy the comforts of having a safety net. 

If people want to go cliff-diving, they can do so, knowing that they have health, disability and long-term care insurance in place. Therefore, even in the worst case-scenario, they have a mechanism to protect themselves and their families.

However, in some deeply observant religious communities, there are people who refuse to take out personal protection insurance, even when they can afford to do so. Many within this uninsured population may have little or no contact with the commercial insurance community and pride themselves on their iron-clad faith. Instead of taking out a policy, they say, “The Lord will provide.” They equate having insurance with a lack of faith.

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“After all,” they say, “if the Lord wants my family to starve, my family will starve, even if I have insurance. Conversely, if the Lord wants my family to thrive, my family will thrive, even if I am uninsured.”

Unfortunately, however, when these humble, pious and faithful individuals face hardships, the results can be devastating. If they face severe illness, disability, or, God forbid, death, their family is left with nothing. The community, therefore, is forced to rally together and try to raise money to help care for those who cannot care for themselves, feed the children and pay the bills.

While it is commendable when members of a community rally together and reach into their savings to help a family, I have, unfortunately, seen this happen repeatedly, to the extent that the community is tapped out and unable to help. At some threshold, the community’s philanthropic dollars are no longer available. The family is left to suffer unnecessarily.

Every child is taught that charity begins at home. Furthermore, the greatest form of charity is to put people back on their feet and restore them so they can achieve their own sustainability. Therefore, instead of a community being forced to launch an emergency campaign to raise tens of thousands of dollars, would it not be wiser if each individual family contributed a few hundred dollars per year to ensure that their family is proactively secure and protected?

Some families in those communities might tell insurance agents and brokers that this kind of activity represents a lack of faith.

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I would argue that it’s not. Having faith does not mean living a life which is blind to the realities of the world. Instead, faith means finding a balance between believing in God and relying upon the skills, tools and resources that God endowed humanity with.

Just as most people would not abstain from food and assume that they can live on faith alone, so, too, the world is full of God’s many blessings and opportunities, and they are there for us to take advantage of. Perhaps insurance was a gift and a blessing that God gave the world, as a means of taking care of ourselves and our families, particularly in complicated and costly times.

Agents and brokers can play an important role in working with religious leaders to reach out to these families and encourage them to consider buying insurance, as an option which is both responsible, as well as compatible with faith in the will of God.