Long gone are the days when “barn raisings” were popular. For those of you who don’t know what barn raisings are check out the link at wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barn_raising
If a member of a farming community lost his barn to fire, the other community members would pool their resources and help that family rebuild. In some cases, it was not voluntary, but required. There are other applications similar where the loss of horses, equipment etc. for one community member would bring the rest of the community together to help. We see a form of that today on social media with ‘Go Fund Me’ campaigns to help those in need of financial assistance after a loss or a medical emergency. A lot of people contributing a small amount each often makes the life saving difference.
People form social groups because there is safety in numbers. As society became more complex the concept of banding together to help people and businesses in their time of loss has evolved. It’s become a financial transaction in a contract of indemnity, which transfers the cost of risk to a third party for a fee. Rather than share time and resources, consumers now pay a premium to an insurance company. In return, the insurance company manages the pool of funds and assumes the risk. Some of us have insured losses and the insurer pays to make us whole, hence the term ‘Indemnity’. Others, who are fortunate enough to have no losses, are secure in the fact that they would be indemnified in the event of a loss, be it property damage or for damages sought as the result of our negligence, alleged or otherwise.
The losses of the few are paid by the premiums of the many.
Insurance rates are currently on the increase for many classes of business across Canada, and consumers are justifiably upset. Many believe it is just another money grab, a way to increase the insurance industry profits at the expense of the consumer. As an insurance industry member, I know how tough it is when costs go up and our income from our business or from our employment is down.
What if insurance as we know it, didn’t exist. Take a look at some facts!
In 2018 Canadian Property & Casualty Insurers (Source IBC Facts Book*)
- Paid $39.1 BILLION in claims.
- They employed 128,300 individuals
- Paid $9.4 BILLION in taxes and levies to federal and provincial governments
- Helped recover $23 Million in stolen vehicles
If insurance didn’t exist, would it still be possible to;
- Get a mortgage on your home?
- Borrow money to buy a new car?
- Borrow money to buy stock and equipment for your new business?
- Lease space for your new business?
- Import/Export and sell goods from/to other countries?
The short answer is NO.
Bottom line is this. The insurance industry and the people in it underpin the economy by financing risk. In any industry there will be dissatisfied customers, people who are confused and need a little extra assistance or education. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A more in depth understanding of how the insurance industry works would be helpful in defusing some of that anger and dissatisfaction. The problem is….. where to begin with that explanation? The rules and regulations under which insurers world wide are required to operate add a significant cost element. A good example is in the automobile insurance segment. Government interference in what has become a political issue has resulted in a tide of red ink. No other private or public business suffers this level of interference in their operations. Return on equity figures for the insurance industry would not be acceptable in any other business facing the same degree of risk. An Example? Nobody criticizes the Chartered Banks for their huge profits.
As mentioned above, a little knowledge is dangerous, and that is because it is often out of context. If you want a little more knowledge that is relevant and tailored to your needs and level of understanding an independent broker is your best option. More important is a broker willing to spend the time to provide you with information that is relevant to you. Heather Cournoyer is that kind of broker. Call me and find out. There is no charge for a consultation!
Overall the majority of individuals serving the consumers are doing their best.
If you want to know more check out my previous blogs: