as the best-known insurance man in
history, although he too made his
name in another discipline.
As a youth, Sanders sold
insurance for Prudential Life
Insurance in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Success led quickly to an executive
position. Sanders was then fired for
insubordination, which makes you like
him all the more. He was, presumably,
more subordinate in his next insurance
In the 1930s, Sanders invented
what was called “home meal
replacement,” selling complete meals
to busy, time-strapped families.
Using what he’d learned in
insurance, Harland Sanders earned
rather more than chicken-feed. He
died in 1980, but lives on as a logo:
the genial, white-haired Colonel who
appears on buckets of Kentucky Fried
What other insurance executive
will ever claim that degree of fame? &
ROGER CROMBIE is a United Kingdom-
based columnist for Risk & Insurance®. He
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hank Greenberg joined the Continental Casualty Company in 1952, three days after returning from
fighting in Korea. He has continued to work in the industry
Anne Rice, who wrote “Interview with
the Vampire,” processed insurance
claims early in her career. Franz Kafka
worked for most of his life in insurance
Brian O’Hara, who built XL Capital
(now XL Catlin) from the ground
up, was a Deadhead, a follower of the
Grateful Dead. Mock not: the pooled
experience served O’Hara more than
Charles Ives was an innovative
American composer who earned
international fame. He was among
the first to combine American music,
European art music and church music.
His techniques foreshadowed many
musical innovations of the 20th century.
Ives spent almost his entire career in
insurance, coming up with creative ways
to structure life-insurance packages for
At the other end of the musical scale,
John Peel became a household name
in Britain for championing alternative
music for almost 40 years, starting in
1967. He earlier sold crop insurance in
A man called Sanders must qualify
For example: you might think that
representing Nelson Mandela in the
Rivonia trial – which cost him his
freedom for 27 years – would be the
highlight of a man’s career. But Joel
Joffe’s more lasting achievement was to
establish an insurance company.
He founded Hambro Life Assurance,
which became Allied Dunbar and
was finally bought by Zurich. Allied
Dunbar was a big deal in the UK, and
not just because it counted me among
its insureds. Joffe became Lord Joffe
of Liddington, a name of which P.G.
Wodehouse would have been proud.
Tom Clancy worked as an insurance
broker before writing his first novel,
“The Hunt for Red October,” in 1984.
for the subsequent 65 years.
Brian Duperreault, who now holds
Greenberg’s old job as CEO of AIG,
went into insurance in 1973 after
deciding against becoming a professor
of mathematics. He has only ever
worked in the insurance industry.
It might take a lifetime’s experience
of insurance to run AIG, but not
everyone labors in the fields of insurance
for life. It’s a profession, like journalism,
that can be learned before starting a
career in something different. Equally,
others work in non-related disciplines
before making the move into insurance.
All of which means that a surprisingly
disparate group of people have worked
in insurance during their careers.
All Bow to the
BY ROGER CROMBIE
BY NOAH SKILLIN
With the ongoing attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, one key argument against the ACA is that
the mandate for all individuals to have health insurance
with the coverage strips Americans
of their right to make a personal
decision. But is it only personal? Should
individuals have the right to refuse
coverage and go uninsured?
On paper in a zero-sum world, the
answer to this question is easy. If you
want to take the risk of not having
health insurance, who is to stop you?
Presumably individuals can weigh the
cost of having coverage against the
chance of needing medical attention
and determine if they wish to forego
However, it’s not that simple. When
others go without insurance, it not only
comes at a cost to society, but also to the
individuals who have elected to pay for
Do I Have a Right
to Be Uninsured?
insurance, as well as the businesses that
provide it to employees.
Many argue that the lower-cost
options under the ACA come with high
deductibles that require patients to pay
significant fees. While it is true that
there are high-deductible plans, note
that a primary feature of the ACA is to
ensure that preventative care is available
to all Americans, deductible free.
In other words, any insured person
can seek treatment for preventative
or wellness benefits, such as annual
physicals. These visits often uncover
issues early on, when they are more
easily and affordably treated. However,
when an individual is uninsured, they
are unlikely to seek treatment for
seemingly minor issues. Often, these
issues are exacerbated if they are not
The end result may be much more
serious and costly emergency medical
visits. In addition, with the rise of
vector-borne diseases, such as Zika and
others, when the uninsured do not seek
treatment early it can lead to more rapid
spread of the disease throughout society.
When the individuals experiencing
serious medical conditions increases,
that can lead to full hospital and
emergency room beds and increased
waiting times for ambulances and
A healthier community is important
for the economy. If workers are sick,
they either miss work or work while
impaired, decreasing their productivity.
The healthier they are, the more
productive and thus the stronger the
There are also real costs that may be
passed on to insured individuals. Since
the passing of the Emergency Medical
Treatment and Labor Act in 1986,
emergency departments are federally
mandated to treat patients regardless of
insurance or ability to pay for treatment.
When an uninsured patient comes to an
emergency room, he or she receives the
same treatment as an insured patient —
and these are often the costliest as they
are, by their nature, serious events.
When a patient is unable to pay,
there is little recourse for hospitals to
recuperate funds for the treatment
provided. This in turn can lead to higher
fees and increased insurance costs for
those who are insured, in addition
to taxpayers funding this through
Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Patients without insurance cost the
health care system billions each year.
The American Hospital Association
estimated that hospitals in 2015
provided more than $35 billion worth of
While it may seem like a personal
decision to buy insurance or not, the
choice has serious consequences. &
NOAH SKILLIN is the COO and a founder of
Risk Cooperative. His focus is on leading
the marketing, compliance, systems and
IT for a global risk and insurance advisory
firm based in Washington, DC. He is an
experienced risk management practitioner
holding PMP and CRM designations.