Column: Roger's Soapbox

Dealing With Destruction

By: | August 3, 2016

Roger Crombie is a United Kingdom-based columnist for Risk & Insurance®. He can be reached at [email protected]

With so many American movies and TV series featuring superheroes, I asked a friend: “What’s next? Insurance Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?” Proud of that, I was.

“No,” he said, not laughing, “it’s called ‘Powerless.’ ”


Starting next year, the NBC series “Powerless” will show “how an insurance company deals with the destruction left by DC Superheroes.” DC Comics, Marvel’s older rival, is the home of Superman, Batman and dozens of other superheroes. describes “Powerless” as “a workplace comedy set at one of the worst insurance companies in America — [which] takes place in the universe of DC Comics.”

Actress Vanessa Hudgens plays Emily Locke, “an insurance claims adjuster who loves her job because she gets to help people.” In the first episode, Graeme Duffy plays a Crushed Car Owner. My intelligence doesn’t reveal if the car or the man was crushed.

Note: “One of the worst insurance companies” suggests that there are many bad ones out there. Locke “loves helping people,” presumably unlike all the other claims adjusters, who don’t.

Given the economic clout of the major insurance companies, it might be prudent for them to buy the series from NBC and destroy all copies.

Not to worry, though. How long can the show last? I mean, really, a show about loss adjusters cleaning up after superheroes? “I’m sorry, Mr. Trump. Yes, your casino was largely destroyed. No, we won’t pay. Maybe, you should sue Superman.” How do you make a TV series out of that?

The Batmobile would be uninsurable, even though it is garaged beneath a mountain.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Trump. Yes, your casino was largely destroyed. No, we won’t pay. Maybe, you should sue Superman.” How do you make a TV series out of that?

Bruce Wayne’s major medical would cost as much as Gotham’s city budget, since he’s forever being pulverized.

Wonder Woman’s airplane is invisible, and who’s going to insure that? “You say the damage is invisible, Ms. Woman, but your claim is $227 million?”

Green Lantern is out of luck: no one has offered lantern insurance since electricity was invented. Aquaman can’t buy flood coverage; his home is always waterlogged. Etc.

These guys blow up entire planets. Luckily, no one has written whole of planet since Pluto was decommissioned. It would take years to estimate the cost of building a new planet, let alone finding financing at anything below 12 percent.

On “Powerless,” Phil from actuarial will not be able to calculate premiums faster than a speeding iPhone. Nor will major superheroes such as Batman or Superman be featured. It’s about the powerless, the staff of an insurance company, a feeling some of us know well.

“TV Guide” offers a slightly less interesting synopsis of the show: “A woman who works for an insurance company gets fed up with the many superheroes living in her city.”


Imagine the pitch: “There’s this woman, JB, she works in insurance, see, and she’s fed up.” What self-respecting TV mogul would buy that?

The whole thing is preposterous, for a thousand reasons. The only one that need concern us here falls into the category of full disclosure: The TV shows will be filled with bad insurance jokes, putting me out of business.

Oh, and by the way, later this year, Ben Affleck stars in a movie called “The Accountant,” about a bookkeeper with superpowers who … sigh. &

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