Column: Roger's Soapbox

Love Insurance: You Heard it Here First

By: | April 9, 2018

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. &

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]