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Wimps, Whiners and Crybabies.

I've read thousands of claim files during my 30 years as an actuary. Each year, the profile of the "average" claim seems to reach new levels of absurdity. The United States has become a nation of wimps, whiners and crybabies whose fragile psyche is incapable of accepting responsibility for even the smallest adverse consequence of its actions. Had the collective spirit of self-determination and self reliance in our earliest pioneers been replaced with that of today's "arverage" U.S. citizen, the Jamestown settlement might still be in the blueprint stage.

I don't know who deserves to be more vilified: the bottom-feeding leeches who have made ambulance chasing and perverting the law into an art form; their plaintiffs bar brethren, who by doing nothing are silently condoning this behavior; the jurors who deposit their backbone and common sense at the entrance to the jury box; or the judges who hide behind arcane laws while throwing up their hands in despair saying that they are powerless to do otherwise. It is unfortunate that the idiots who file these outrageous claims generally live long and prosper by receiving huge jury awards so they can spend the rest of their lives propagating more idiots, dolts and morons.

What can be done to stop this internal decay? Where are the Warren Buffetts and Maurice Greenbergs--men who possess the fire, perseverance, financing and public platform to effectively address this issue?

David C. Westerholm

Vice President and Actuary

CNA Insurance Cos.


Old-Fashioned Ethics

I recently read that Mr. Michael Flack, Nationwide's vice president of ethics and business practices, advised employees about avoiding business misconduct and wrongdoing.

Why must an insurance company find it necessary to have a position such as this? My old-fashioned ideas remember bygone days when a man's word meant something. Unfortunately, the profit motive is the all-consuming part of the insurance industry, which has strayed from its original goals of taking care of the insured in the event of a loss. All too often, insurance companies will stonewall and low-ball claims instead of doing the "right thing."

Companies often face negative publicity and pay much more in a lawsuit settlement than they would had they honored an insurance contract. If ethics do not originate with the leaders of a company, they most certainly will not be observed by others. For many years, I worked for a major insurer, both as an employee agent and as an independent contractor. I witnessed and experienced how profit became a priority as opposed to integrity and proper business practices. If business ethics are truly observed and practiced, this industry may redeem itself in the eyes of the public.

Bob Craig

Victorville, Calif.
COPYRIGHT 2001 A.M. Best Company, Inc.
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Publication:Best's Review
Date:Jun 1, 2001
Previous Article:Analyze This.
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