Thursday, June 3, 2010

When Insurance Becomes Personal

I apologize for not posting anything last Thursday or this Tuesday. My Mom passed away last Wednesday, and blogging wasn't something I felt up to.

In a way, it reminds me of what went on a couple of years ago, when firestorms were ravaging southern California. Two of our marketing reps had to evacuate their homes as the flames grew dangerously close, and a third was packed and ready to go. I spent the days tracing the fires relative to their homes as best I could with the assorted available maps and news reports. Thankfully, all three made it through all right.

That said, for that period of time insurance was no longer a matter of policies and premiums, claims and everything else that goes into this business. It was a personal matter. These were my co-workers. My friends. They and their families were hustling off to shelters, leaving their homes behind with no idea if there would be a home to return to once the fire had moved elsewhere. It wasn't that I was any less sympathetic to our insureds who did lose their homes. But as I said, now it was personal.

Sometimes, we in this business need to step aside from the mechanics of our profession and remember what it is we're providing. We're here not to prevent the blow when bad things happen to good people. Rather, we are here to lessen its impact. We can't prevent the pain. But we can make it go away faster.

In a post a while ago I quoted from some of the winning essays in our scholarship contest. Something I didn't mention was the information contained in a letter of recommendation that accompanied one of the winning essays. The essay itself was top notch and would have a winner regardless. But as to the letter, it was deeply moving.

The school counselor who wrote it spoke of a student who was suddenly orphaned in her freshman year and was now being raised by her grandmother. Yet despite this, she refused to give in to self-pity, driving herself to be the best student possible despite having every reason imaginable to bitterly pack it in. She didn't. She didn't quit.

We all have our times in life when we unwillingly find ourselves part of the unfortunate fellowship with others who have suffered even as we suffer. An insurance company can't prevent that from happening. But what we can do is do our jobs with heart as well as mind, providing a service to others. The day will come when each of us will need a hand up, or comfort and support. If we resolve to take care of others even as we ourselves wish to be taken care of when it's our turn, we're doing the right thing.

Which is a very good thing indeed.

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  1. We have some amazing youth! Great article, thanks.


  2. My condolences on your loss.
    I really enjoyed your blog this week, specifically the last paragraph with its heartfelt emphasis.
    Keep up the terrific blogging. EJS

  3. Jerry, I am so sorry to hear of your loss-this is the first time I have gone to any kind of blog-I know how old fashioned of me-and then to read sad news-my prayers are with you and your family

  4. Jerry,Sorry for your loss. Send my condolences to you and your family.

    I am enjoying your blog and learning something about it. Thank you.