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.
Almost 3,400 years later, economist
Nicholas Barbon and 11 associates
established the ;rst ;re 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 ;nest insurance brains.
You cannot begin to understand how
humble I am, to quote the President.
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 ;nding 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 ;rst.
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 ;y in this
ointment: The policies, which I
suggested be called loverage TM, have
been declared somewhat, well ...
OK, completely illegal by the China
Insurance Regulatory Commission.
Deemed more akin to gambling
than insurance (a ;ne distinction),
these policies are “fake,” the
Commission stated on its website,
adding: “These love policies … will be
eradicated sooner or later.”
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
ROGER CROMBIE is a United Kingdom-based columnist for Risk & Insurance®. He
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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BY ROGER CROMBIE