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Underwriters, written under is not nice

Is it just me or are there others too who feel that there is a sudden glut of insurance related ads on TV? Every time I switch on the telly there is someone trying to peddle a ‘policy,’ trying to cash in on my fears or misplaced emotions for my child. So what does it prove? I watch a lot of TV. No, insurance companies are cash-rich to spend on crazy ads, since there is no chance of them wasting their money on insurance policies.

Sachin Tendulkar mocks at someone wanting to open a bookshop. What is the connection with insurance here? Beats me. Perhaps it should have been in the cricket match that followed it.

Somewhere else, the idea of insurance is sought to be driven home with an old chap trying to get off a train on his own, refusing a hand proffered in help. Again, I didn’t get the logic, which I presume should be inherent in it. Elsewhere, a husband and wife talk in ersatz serious tones about the need to cut down on household expenses as he had superannuated from work. After a succession of confusing exchanges, he shows her tickets for Singapore. Cue: Happy faces and laughs. Thanks to insurance. So this immediately begs the question, what does ‘superannuated’ mean. Well, it is a word that is used as a show-off when there is a perfectly acceptable and, more importantly, easily understandable description ‘retired’ to mean the same. But superannuation is something that the insurance industry seems partial to. So that in itself tells a lot about the industry than I possible could come up in the remaining length of this piece. But I promise you that I will think up something on the way to justify my idea, which, as you would have guessed by now, is something that I am not still not very sure about.

But how can anyone be sure about insurance? How does it work? Rather, does it work at all? How is the premium on insurance calculated? The last question is easy to answer.

Think of an amount that you believe that you are worthy of and hence insuring against. If it is ‘x’ rupees, you have to divide it by the number of people you know in life and add all their ages together and subtract by the marks you scored in biology even though you studied in commerce stream. Now the thing to do is to name the value you have got as ‘y’, since it is what those who teach algebra (by the way, isn’t algebra an insidious way to impose English through mathematics?) keep telling.

Now you have to multiply ‘x’ and ‘y’ and immediately get a matching headache and go to sleep. When you wake up, think of a fresh four digit number, this will be the amount you have to pay. Don’t try to tell me that there is no logic in what I have written, as if there is some logic in the way premiums are actually cooked up. I had four different insurance marketing personnel approach me recently. Three of them were from the same company, and each one quoted a different premium for the same policy. How? Well, my guess is each one had a different kind of headache that morning.

Why would anyone want to insure himself? I can understand some logic in trying to safeguard, on an assumed prospective basis, your valuables like car or jewels or Rambha’s thighs or Pamella Anderson’s …well I leave it your imagination though she herself hasn’t left anything to imagination . But why put a notional amount against yourself, and presume that it is your value on the day you croak?

Sooner or later, you are certain to meet your maker. But why pay up to a company in between? If you think that it will salvage something for your family in the event of you kicking the bucket untimely, then think again.

The process of encashing an insurance policy has almost forced many living persons to wish that they were dead, and made dead persons feel that they were alive to kill the insurance company in question. Insurance companies are generally strict and stringent and don’t part with the money unless the dead person himself or herself comes and tells that he or she is indeed dead.

Also, don’t for a minute think that investments on insurances can fetch you tax cuts. What you think as what you saved from being washed away by the tax man is what you eventually cough up as premium, which, as it emerges, is actually another way of paying the insurance company’s tax.

You may still turn around and ask, if insurance is such a stupid thing would there be so many companies entering the field? Well, my gut feeling is that these insurance companies have all been started only to escape from other insurance companies, and perhaps give more chance to make money for Sachin Tendulkar, who, in case if it has not occurred to you at all, is one person who doesn’t need any insurance policy at all.

(This is an old column of mine)


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