God and Insurance Politics: Discuss!

“If this is your second day here, Bob, that’s good in a way because we’re gonna get a lot of calls to put in claims from alleged storm damage.”

“Well, storm damage is storm damage, isn’t it? A tree goes down and hits the house, Act of God, right?”

“Bob, civilians define ‘God’ differently than insurance companies. Let me show you a picture of ‘God’ here at our company. Here, take a look.”

“It’s mirror. I don’t get it.”

“It’s you, Bob, the Insurance Agent is God. We sell policies that cover ‘…and accidents that constitute Acts of God.’ But there’s no definition of God in the policy and no legal definition of God exists because no court could ever define God, so we define God on an incident–to–incident basis.”

“Then you could deny anything.”

“No, Bob, better than that, we can deny everything. Last week, a woman called claiming Hurricane Sandy caused a huge old maple tree to hit her roof and damage her kitchen. She wants a wall repaired and a new stove.”

“How could you say no to that? The hurricane was big news, people are still recovering. Hell, I’ve got to rebuild a section of fence at my house.”

“Think, Bob…..how do we know how old that tree was? Did that old tree, that has withstood hundreds of storms in its life, really get taken out because of this one storm?  Maybe it just dropped dead of old age as the storm approached and she misinterpreted it as falling from gale force winds.  Now I ask you, Bob, which is more likely?”

“Frankly, the winds took it down, I would think.”

“But you can’t know for sure. I’m the God of her policy and I think that tree died of old age, a predictable event and therefore not an ‘Act of God’ as defined in her policy.  You see, Bob? No pay out, no, we hate to say the ‘S’ word around here, but no Settlement. Remember, the job of the insurance company is to collect premiums, not pay…the ‘S’ word.”

“But that’s why people buy insurance! To help pay for repairs or replacements.”

“No, Bob, people buy insurance to feel better, to feel confident that they are prepared for whatever comes. We sell good feelings, Bob, good feelings. People read the policies, they read everything that’s promised, they get that happy, peaceful look, it’s a beautiful thing, Bob. Makes me get misty eyed every time I think about it.”

“Yeah, but they feel that way because we sold them a safety net against disasters and catastrophes.”

“You say disasters, I say dividends. You say catastrophes, I say cash flow.  It’s all how you look at it, Bob. We sell the policies, they buy peace of mind. They make a claim, we deny it, then we have peace of mind. It all balances itself out. One big circle of life.”

“I’m God?”

“That’s right, Bob, you’re God to whomever calls to make a claim.”

“So, if I’m God, I can say yes or no?”

“Well, a little more no than yes.”

“Uh-huh, like 60% no and 40% yes?”

“More like 99% no, and 30% yes, we are a company that cares, says so in all the brochures.”

“You can’t have 99% no and 30% yes.”

“That’s tomorrow’s lesson, Bob, insurance mathematics. It’s not the same as what you learned in school. We bend mathematical constants to fit our advertising goals.”

“And we can do that because we’re gods?”

“See, Bob? It all works together….it’s a beautiful thing.”


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