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  • Writer's pictureChris Burand

Finding Humor

Sometimes I just have to find some humor.

Have you ever wondered if some material percentage of insurance executives attended a Monty Python marathon and left thinking they had a attended a management training program? If you Google, “Monty Python management training course” you will see somewhere near 2.2 million results! So maybe it’s possible and based on the ridiculous statements I’ve been seeing, I’d say this conclusion is almost guaranteed!

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For proof, consider their famous “Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge” skit. I recently read a response from the top executives of a company that said something to the effect of, “We know that language is in the contract, but don’t worry, we won’t actually apply it. Just pretend it is not there because that language does not follow our intent.” What? Wink wink, nudge nudge. You know what I mean!

Why can’t the contract simply state the actual intent? Is this not what a contract is supposed to convey?

I recently asked a carrier that had an exclusion which made the policy basically illusory why they would sell a worthless (to the insured) policy. The response was that they did not intend to actually enforce the exclusion. WHAT? Do you mean I should simply take the carrier’s word for it that they won’t enforce the contract?

I saw another example where the underwriter advised they would never enforce the exclusion. Awesome! Unfortunately, underwriters don’t adjust claims so that was a worthless promise. Even then, what happens when that underwriter leaves? If the carrier does not intend to enforce the contract, then eliminate the contract and save everyone the hassle.

I recently saw a program that advertised it was fully funded. Reading between the lines, it was only fully funded on a reimbursement basis. Technically, maybe this is correct, but what is implied is not what is reality. This is a real wink wink, nudge nudge moment with the program sales guy saying, “This is fully funded [wink, wink]. And no worries, it’s an A rated carrier [nudge, nudge].

I had a claim where the policy read, “…including but not limited to…” My claim was excluded because the adjuster read the policy, “…limited to…” When I asked how she could leave out the “but not limited to” language, her response was, “because that is the way I read it.” I don’t know if this meant she had a reading disability, was simply illiterate, or had orders to deny legitimate claims.

Insurance is the sale of a contract that transfers risk in return for a premium. The contract should be clearly written and clearly convey the intent. If the intent is not properly conveyed, rewrite the contract. If the contract is not to be enforced, eliminate the contract.

These kinds of actions and decisions create unnecessary expense and tarnish the industry’s reputation further. And what’s more, this is completely unnecessary. It’s kind of like the old saying about really smart criminals, “If they’d just spend that time on legitimate pursuits, they’d be a huge success!” Quit figuring out ways around this or that and simply do the job right the first time! Or if there’s a mistake, the second time.

The next time you hear someone say, “That is not really what the contract means.” Ask them to describe what it actually means and if a contradiction exists, ask them to fix the contract. If they refuse, ask them to put in writing what the contract actually means. If they won’t do that, ask why you should trust every single person in their company currently and forever in the future to interpret the contract the way you are saying it should be interpreted. And if they won’t answer, ask if they went to the Monty Python management training school. Then in the next soft market, move the book.


NOTE: The information provided herein is intended for educational and informational purposes only and it represents only the views of the authors. It is not a recommendation that a particular course of action be followed. Burand & Associates, LLC and Chris Burand assume, and will have, no responsibility for liability or damage which may result from the use of any of this information.

None of the materials in this article should be construed as offering legal advice, and the specific advice of legal counsel is recommended before acting on any matter discussed in this article. Regulated individuals/entities should also ensure that they comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

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