What 25 Years in Insurance Has Taught Me!

Today is my 25th anniversary in this, the insurance business. I still very much enjoy the business (I don’t say I love it any more). During my tenure in the business I have learned many, many things about people and life in general. Had I not worked in insurance, I don’t think I would have learned a lot of what I have about people (I feel sorry for those who have never worked in insurance).

Below is a list of things I have learned over my career. Feel free to add your own perspective in the comments – I might just learn something from you.

  • Crazy people don’t know they are crazy. Stupid people don’t know they are stupid. And crazy stupid people are really messed up (they are usually the “know-it-alls” in the office).
  • No insurance carrier is guaranteed to survive – regardless of its prestige or rating.
  • Insurance people who understand insurance no longer run the insurance business; lawyers and accountants do – and sometimes actuaries.
  • Only good lawyers realize they don’t know everything about the law – and nothing about insurance.
  • Someone who truly understands insurance can explain its concepts in simple language. The person with no idea how it works masks their ignorance with $10 words and legalese.
  • There is ALWAYS more than one possible answer to a coverage question. One is just more correct than the others based on the particular situation.
  • Only “newbies” know everything about insurance.
  • The graveyard is full of irreplaceable people (producers, underwriters, consultants, etc.)
  • Regardless of how much I (you) know (or think I (you) know) about insurance, there is always MUCH more to learn.
  • When you stop learning, you stop improving.
  • If it’s not in the manual, it ain’t gonna get written.
  • Ignorance and apathy are rampant in the insurance business. Ignorance can be fixed; apathy is fatal.
  • Without insurance, our country does not and cannot enjoy the standard of living we do.
  • If you are not fascinated by and passionate about insurance, do something else (please).

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Michigan laws make it tougher to sue employers in workplace deaths

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — It’s been two months since Wanda Holbrook was killed on the job, but her husband still doesn’t know exactly why it happened.

Bill Holbrook has been told a final report from the state agency investigating the 57-year-old’s death is expected to take three to four months.

Holbrook tries not to think of Wanda’s last minutes trapped in robotic machinery that left her with such severe head injuries the funeral home recommended a closed casket.

Even if her employer, Ventra Ionia Main, is cited for her death, Holbrook doubts he’ll take legal action against the Ionia automotive supplier. It would be too hard to win under Michigan law, he has been told, although he retained an attorney.

“They are really tough cases,” said Nelson Miller, associate dean of the Grand Rapids campus of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

The Workers Compensation Disability Act prevents negligence claims against employers and coworkers across the country, in exchange for providing benefits to workers or their families in the case of injury or death.

However, in other states, employers can be sued for “recklessness” causing death or injury. In Michigan, it must be proven that there was an intentional effort to harm a worker.

If there is legal action, it is often taken against a third party that made, installed or serviced a product used in the workplace that caused or contributed to the injury or death.

It is also tougher to qualify for benefits here, said Miller, adding that the Michigan Legislature has been tightening the compensation laws. Injured workers who qualify for workers’ compensation receive 80 percent of take home pay and coverage of medical bills, while a flat amount is awarded for workplace deaths.


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