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Who are these Insurance People?

August 7, 2009
Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

When we started the Founders Forum last spring one of the driving forces behind our decision was to “open a window” to our clients, prospects, friends and insurance carriers to take a look at what we do from a perspective that is different than just the typical coverage discussions and industry questions. The idea was to let people know some things about our company, who we are as people and talk about some of the challenges that we and our clients face.

In my segment of our forum, I have talked about everything from coverage, to government run health care to buying insurance on price, and our ever changing challenge of showing our value to our customers. I have even taken on some of my fellow insurers when I have felt that there is an injustice that you, the reader, should be aware of that is currently taking place. I often find it hard to not discuss our political environment even though insurance is spending a lot of time in news these days.

This past week, I heard a false and reckless statement from the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi that I cannot in good conscience let stand. In referring to our industry she said “…Of
course, they have been immoral all along in how they treat people that they insure.”
http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/pelosi-lashes-out-at-private-health-insurance-villians-2009-07-30.html She was referring to the health insurance industry, but this has been a theme that has been coming out of the Speaker for some time.

Here are the facts, according to the US Department of Labor, in 2006, there were just over 2.3 million people working in the insurance industry. This doesn’t take into account all of the associated industries that depend on insurance. According to the Department of Labor, 95% of all insurance establishments employ under fifty employees making up just fewer than 1.4 million small business jobs. www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs028.htm#employ

We are comprised of lower, middle and upper class people. We are all races and we are fathers, mothers, grandparents and friends. We are little league coaches, Girl Scout leaders, church members and community supporters. We process millions of claims each and every day that have spared countless Americans millions in financial ruin. We have been principally responsible for rebuilding whole communities destroyed by fire, hurricanes and terrorism. We make mistakes, but as a whole we are people just like you and we take pride in helping people just like you. We do our best to control costs but in the end we are subject to the underlying cost of the actual claim. Can we do some things better? Sure we can, all industries can, but I am proud of the work we do. Unfortunately the complexity of our business is not always explainable in a sound bite.

My question is Madam Speaker, exactly who among the 2.3 million of us is immoral?

To my regular readers, I apologize for this “soap box” entry and its length.

Thanks for your time!

Chris Garlasco

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2009 10:15 am

    Chris, your blog story, “Who are these Insurance People?” was posted to the Insurance Journal Facebook Fan Page this morning.

  2. August 12, 2009 10:35 am

    Chris, great start but wish you had taken the thread to the next level. Perhaps in a future story…

    I think she might be referring to health insurance execs. I spoke to an ObGyn friend of mine recently. I’m paraphrasing and don’t fully understand all the intricacies, but the essence of what she said seemed to indicate that health insurance executive bonuses are sometimes based on ‘savings’ that sometimes arise from denying claims and yet keeping the Medicare reimbursements for those claims. Do happen to know anything about this issue?

    • Chris permalink
      August 12, 2009 11:56 am

      Bonus’ are directly tied to denying claims. In most companies, they are tied to profit. What the customer gives up in profit, they gain back and more with competition. There is no question that insurance carriers are trying to save money just like any other business, however if you establish a pattern of poor service, its a sure way to lose customers. If the company is commiting fraud, the state insurance office should be made aware it.

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