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The human turmoil behind insurance

Murder has been committed for it, in the worst of human tragedies due to selfishness, total greed, and vicious, sociopathic disregard for the human suffering of the victim(s) and the families left behind.

Ensuring protection: insurance is needed to cover multiple types of risk (Image from pixabay.com)

Suicide has tragically been effected, sometimes to provide “caring for the remaining family members.”

Larceny in the heart, then implemented through deception (and criminal conduct) has resulted in phoney claims and catastrophic property damage.

It has been embezzled, borrowed from, proceeds to beneficiaries disputed and litigated over, while some, just hate to pay for it.

The premiums from the business of insuring have generated some of the largest cash “floats“ in modern finance, all representing accumulations of major liabilities of other people's money (that is, belonging to individuals and businesses) at least, until a contract terminates.

It is one of, if not the longest-tailed business models seen today, with liabilities for prepaid premiums on the management of risk that may encompass holding patterns of 60 or more years, while imbuing the caretakers of such massive financial accumulations with the protection against greatest risks of loss.

It requires one of the broadest bodies of knowledge for the professionals who are employed in this spectrum of any business or industry operating today.

Insurance professionals, both on the risk management side, and the claims specialist side, must be familiar with, and specialists in, fraud, crime, terrorism, war, kidnapping, counterfeiting, general and esoteric investment vehicles, geography, nuclear, oil, and other energy sources, climate change, weather, crops and livestock, solar oceanic resources, space and stratosphere dynamics technology, politics, economies, finances, military and industrial complexes, war, manufacturing, service providers, legal, tax, medical and pandemics, governmental infrastructures, human psychology and behaviour, all things social media, reputational chaos, and encompassing all salient supporting knowledge, facility with math, coding and cryptography, chemistry, biology, genetics, physics, geometry along with the rest of natural sciences, artificial intelligence, nuclear, digital and fiat currency, fin technology and more.

Insurance: the business of insuring risk and its probability of occurrence. Often thought of as boring, not needed, or a necessary evil, it is anything and everything but. It is part and parcel of the modern insurance industry whose implicit model is, “if the event can be foreseen, projected, risk-calculated and managed, we can insure it — for a price”.

There is no doubt that insuring for risk is a complex sophisticated process, however, the original premise of coping with risk starts out with defining what risk is:

There is risk in so many, many areas:

• Living

• Job loss

• Debilitating illness

• Relationships

• Family disruptions

• Health

• War

• Physical conflict

• Theft

• Finance, loss of investments risk

• Death

• Terrorism

• Robbery and bodily injury

• Cybersecurity

• Business interruption

• Contract default

• Investing risk – more than 40 categories here alone

• Taxation and non-compliance risk

• Product liability

• Property & casualty

• Mortgage and credit

• Libel, defamation, reputational risk

• Nuclear, natural catastrophes

• Earthquakes, fire

• Windstorms, hurricanes

• Space and satellites

• Regrettably, pandemic fallout

• And many, many more

The big question that delineates some risks from others, is, what is the probability of the event, and is the risks insurable? Some risks, - particularly, those of the heart in relationships – are not insurable.

Insurance represents some certainty as a hedge against an uncertain world so that we, as individuals and businesses, may in the course of our lives, purchase insurance to ensure some certainty against the “what ifs in life”.

Next month:

Risk choices and what they mean. Five simple choices – from the consumer, an individual, a family, a business, etc.

• You can keep the risk

• You can transfer the risk

• You can share the risk

• You manage the risk

• You can avoid the risk.

Excerpt from Held Captive : A History of International Insurance in Bermuda by Catherine Duffy, AIG ,Bermuda Country Head, page 4.

“Tiny and remote, Bermuda has always lured the unsuspecting and then allowed them to grow beyond their wildest dreams. This book (Held Captive) explores that fascinating story.

“Perhaps because of our isolation Bermudians have always been very resourceful and as such have become astute in business

“Bermudians have of necessity kept themselves responsive to worldwide events and consequently, they have learned to think globally rather than parochially. With not much local industry, Bermuda has managed to reinvent itself again and again to keep up with the times.

“Instead of lying down and accepting defeat whenever they met with ’failure’, the business leaders, politicians, and people of Bermuda have always pulled together and worked together and so come through together, even in difficult times.

“Islanders must by nature be risk takers. The late William Kempe, former partner of Appleby, Spurling & Kemp, one of the original front runners who brought international business to Bermuda, noted that quality, ’Bermudians have been imaginative enough to take what’s in the offering because it took imagination, courage, and innovation to allow us to move through the ages of piracy to shipping to agriculture to tourism and now to international business.’”

Stay tuned for all about “the Great What If’s in Life”!

Segments of Risk, Insurance and Relationships on the Island of Bermuda (Book Two of the Bermuda Islander Fundamental Financial Planning Primer Series) a basic, but also a comprehensive look at Bermuda’s lifeblood industry re/insurance juxtaposed with the personal and business management of risk in every-day life, will be featured on the last Saturday of each month. Complete Publication to be launched in fall 2021.

References

Fundamentals of risk and insurance, Emmet J Vaughn & Therese M Vaughan

The What Ifs In Life – excerpted from a Metropolitan Life Insurance Company ad, featuring Snoopy.

Martha Harris Myron, CPA JSM, a native Bermudian, is the author of The Bermuda Islander Financial Planning Primers, international financial consultant to the Olderhood Group International, and financial columnist to The Royal Gazette. All proceeds from these articles are donated to the Salvation Army, Bermuda. Contact: martha@pondstraddler.com

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Published April 24, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated April 23, 2021 at 4:09 pm)

The human turmoil behind insurance

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