CXIII ON FIGs: ‘Fine Insurance Guys’

By: Publius

FIGs are those guys who make it to the top on the company side of the insurance business. You know the kind of guys we’re talking about – they’re the suits, the hale and hearty, and the people who are sort of in the club.  The news is they’ve committed collective suicide and taken a lot of us with them.

Health & Life and Property & Casualty insurance are quite different but the FIG principles– don’t confuse them with ‘Peter Principles’ of incompetence – apply to both.  Indeed the state of private industry in the United States being what it is, the same FIG principles apply to large companies more often than not.

But this is not about the ‘Peter Principles’ of incompetence.  It’s about the principles of the free society in which we are founded and about the ways in which we act to protect those principles.

Sometimes FIGs get to become FIGs because they are the choice that ‘will do the least harm.’ Other times they are the best corporate politician or the best BS artist. Occasionally, we see a real leader, but sadly, not very often.

So this is the story of how all those FIGs got together acting like pompous lemmings, listened to their short sighted corporate affairs and legislative action officers, and ended it – and by ‘it’ we mean their companies future. You know that stuff that belongs to stockholders but is more often than not treated like a personal fiefdom.

In the heath insurance industry we have seen the results of these FIGs who worry mostly about quarterly results and who have no real principles – the kind of principles Tom Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Haym Solomon, and George Washington had – by which to run their companies. That lack of public principle is one-reason legislators and regulators need to exert so much control over the industry. FIGs focus on their own profit eclipses the needs of the larger community and that is the downfall of their companies. But we digress.

What they have wrought is the advent of Obamacare. This is the short version of how it happened and what the final outcome will be.

The Democrats knew they had to convince everyone of everything. Roughly translated that means everyone gets something except ‘We the People’ who by now are used to and in the habit of voting for those who give us the majority of the hardships along with the responsibility for picking up the tab.

Even the National Rifle Association made itself the recipient of this legislative largesse. It got a few pages in the healthcare law which prevent doctors from putting information concerning gun ownership in patient’s records and a prohibition against increased premiums relating thereto – a section that the administration took back by fiat in an Obama executive order last week.

What the insurance companies thought they were getting was more “lives” to insure and therefore more premium dollars upon which a percentage of profit could be made.  Insurance, as we all know, is the ultimate pass though game.  Therefore, FIG logic holds that whatever the costs of clauses like the waiving of preconditions and keeping your unemployed kids on till they’re 26 are simply passed on through to rate payers – whether individuals, or private or public employers. But the larger principles and issues of how that might affect society and therefore their companies are lost on these Fine Insurance Guys.

So the FIGS got bought [read conned] by the ideas of the left and told their legislators – the people to whom they contribute and sort of own – that it was okay to vote for the new health insurance law.

But instead of more lives the FIGs are getting two things (at least two that we can say in polite company):  They are getting less not more lives to insure as employers such as colleges and restaurants limit the number of hours employees get to work so the new more expensive insurance requirement does not apply.  Of course, this also leaves the employee without enough income to comply with the laws requirement to buy health insurance or pay a fine.  So the lucky voters get the results of their vote – they get no insurance, less income to use to pay for the now mandated insurance, or anything else like food and shelter for that matter, and fined for not being able to afford the premiums which makes having the dough to pay for insurance even less possible. So the government has created more people on the public dole as people with incomes up to $70,000 qualify for financial help. That’s the first thing they are getting.

Worse is the real outcome they are about to see. Obamacare will fail, some say in 2014 or 2015 and then there will come the call of the people – or at least the elected (aka the proverbial more equal people) – the call will come for a single payer system. And Democrats being Democrats and Republicans being Republicans the messaging will work for the Democrats and that means no more private insurance, just like in other socialist countries. And that means the end of private health insurance companies. And that is the second thing the FIGs will get: suicide before they realize it.  That’s what they’ve done to their society and to their policyholders and stockholders. But it’s not only the stockholders who are getting the proverbial shaft. The broker and agent associations were careful to assure their members that would get commissions and so they told their legislators okay too. So yes, the exchanges will pay commissions at least for now.

In the end, commissions will be targeted by the government and used to explain the high cost of single payer government insurance.  And commissions will be removed from the single payer system – like they have been in other countries – under the guise of lowering costs to consumers. 

Short sighted, unprincipled leadership will bite you in the backside every time.

By 2020 all those companies and their million plus employees will be gone. Producer’s income will decrease substantially. Consumers will have no objective advisors.  And our choice of physicians and providers and drugs and other lifesaving devices will be gone too.

Thanks FIGs for your principles.



PUBLISHERS' NOTE: Publius is written by a consortium of writers, sometimes internal, most frequently external. Workers' Comp Executive believes that it has the responsibility to air most viewpoints and welcomes the comments of its community on any subject. Publius does not necessarily represent the views of this publication.