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Column: Roger's Soapbox

Love Insurance: You Heard it Here First

By: | April 9, 2018 • 3 min read
Roger Crombie is a United Kingdom-based columnist for Risk & Insurance®. He can be reached at [email protected]

True innovation in the insurance industry is exceedingly rare. Over thousands of years, only a tiny number of individuals have left their mark on history. Hammurabi, for example, whose Code (c. 1750 BC) was the fons et origo of insurance as we know it.

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Almost 3,400 years later, economist Nicholas Barbon and 11 associates established the first fire insurance company. Around that time, Edward Lloyd’s coffee house on Tower Street began to beget the great London agency that bears his name.

In the U.S., Benjamin Franklin popularized and standardized the way insurance operated. More recently, Hank Greenberg built a small-life company into the mighty AIG.

And now, to the ranks of these spectacular achievers is added another great name: mine. I stand revealed as one of the finest insurance brains. You cannot begin to understand how humble I am, to quote the President.

Love insurance policies have proved popular, newspapers have reported. A policy costs about $40 a year. One such guarantees a cash payment and a small diamond to those who marry between three and 13 years after the policy comes into force.

In this very space, in 2004, I wrote about the lack of insurance to cover the risks of love. You can insure against the cost of a heart attack, I wrote, but not the pain of a broken heart. I suggested Side A and Side B coverage. Side A: You insure against falling in love and all the consequential damage that might ensue. Side B: You insure against not falling in love.

Covered events might include romantic catastrophe, I wrote, such as coming home and finding your sweet baboo in bed with the Boston Bruins. Double indemnity, in case you fell in love with twins.

Just 14 years later — the blink of an eye in the history of this industry — comes news that the Chinese are writing love insurance. 2004: Boy, did you hear it here first.

Love insurance policies have proved popular, newspapers have reported. A policy costs about $40 a year. One such guarantees a cash payment and a small diamond to those who marry between three and 13 years after the policy comes into force.

There is but a single fly in this ointment: The policies, which I suggested be called loverage™, have been declared somewhat, well … OK, completely illegal by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

Deemed more akin to gambling than insurance (a fine distinction), these policies are “fake,” the Commission stated on its website, adding: “These love policies … will be eradicated sooner or later.”

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Bang! goes my reward. As an Englishman, I was hoping for a title and would have chosen to become the Duke of Earl. But, apparently, anyone can stop me now.

The Bible, at 1 Corinthians 13:4, says: ‘Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.’ To which we must now add: ‘Love is not an insurable risk.’

Ultimately, then, in the rolls of the insurance greats, I shall rank alongside not Hammurabi or Franklin, but Larry from accounting or maybe Jack, third runner-up for salesman of the year.

Like them, I shall never stop dreaming. &

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession: Curt Gross

This director of risk management sees cyber, IP and reputation risks as evolving threats, but more formal education may make emerging risk professionals better prepared.
By: | June 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

My first non-professional job was working at Burger King in high school. I learned some valuable life lessons there.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

After taking some accounting classes in high school, I originally thought I wanted to be an accountant. After working on a few Widgets Inc. projects in college, I figured out that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Risk management found me. The rest is history. Looking back, I am pleased with how things worked out.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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I think we do a nice job on post graduate education. I think the ARM and CPCU designations give credibility to the profession. Plus, formal college risk management degrees are becoming more popular these days. I know The University of Akron just launched a new risk management bachelor’s program in the fall of 2017 within the business school.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

I think we could do a better job with streamlining certificates of insurance or, better yet, evaluating if they are even necessary. It just seems to me that there is a significant amount of time and expense around generating certificates. There has to be a more efficient way.

R&I: What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?

Selfishly, I prefer a destination with a direct flight when possible. RIMS does a nice job of selecting various locations throughout the country. It is a big job to successfully pull off a conference of that size.

Curt Gross, Director of Risk Management, Parker Hannifin Corp.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

Definitely the change in nontraditional property & casualty exposures such as intellectual property and reputational risk. Those exposures existed way back when but in different ways. As computer networks become more and more connected and news travels at a more rapid pace, it just amplifies these types of exposures. Sometimes we have to think like the perpetrator, which can be difficult to do.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

I hate to sound cliché — it’s quite the buzz these days — but I would have to say cyber. It’s such a complex risk involving nontraditional players and motives. Definitely a challenging exposure to get your arms around. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll really know the true exposure until there is more claim development.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

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Our captive insurance company. I’ve been fortunate to work for several companies with a captive, each one with a different operating objective. I view a captive as an essential tool for a successful risk management program.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I can’t point to just one. I have and continue to be lucky to work for really good managers throughout my career. Each one has taken the time and interest to develop me as a professional. I certainly haven’t arrived yet and welcome feedback to continue to try to be the best I can be every day.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

I would like to think I have and continue to bring meaningful value to my company. However, I would have to say my family is my proudest accomplishment.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

Favorite movie is definitely “Good Will Hunting.”

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

Tough question to narrow down. If my wife ran a restaurant, it would be hers. We try to have dinner as a family as much as possible. If I had to pick one restaurant though, I would say Fire Food & Drink in Cleveland, Ohio. Chef Katz is a culinary genius.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

The Grand Canyon. It is just so vast. A close second is Stonehenge.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

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A few, actually. Up until a few years ago, I owned a sport bike (motorcycle). Of course, I wore the proper gear, took a safety course and read a motorcycle safety book. Also, I have taken a few laps in a NASCAR [race car] around Daytona International Speedway at 180 mph. Most recently, trying to ride my daughter’s skateboard.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

The Dalai Lama. A world full of compassion, tolerance and patience and free of discrimination, racism and violence, while perhaps idealistic, sounds like a wonderful place to me.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

I really enjoy the company I work for and my role, because I get the opportunity to work with various functions. For example, while mostly finance, I get to interact with legal, human resources, employee health and safety, to name a few.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

I asked my son. He said, “Risk management and insurance.” (He’s had the benefit of bring-your-kid-to-work day.)

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]