The sick shall be rewarded
insurance man was on the phone. "Good news," said Bob. "Itís
time for your group plan renewal and the increase is only going to be 17
I could hardly contain my happiness.
Only 17 percent! "Nice going, Bob," I replied. "Much better
than the 25 percent increase we had last year. What happened? Did our
insurance company sell one of their shopping centers before
I suppose I was a little too sarcastic.
"Now thatís not nice." Bob answered. "With AIDS and other
major health problems the insurance companies are still having a tough
"What was our return on investment
Bobís tone took a slight dive.
"Well, letís see. You paid premiums of $57,144 and reported and
received $16,435 in claims. Hmm, 29 percent." He paused. "They
should be very happy with you."
It wasnít a surprise. I knew that
once again the employees of our company had failed to get me my moneyís
worth. At staff meetings I would eagerly ask if anyone had been using our
insurance plan, only to have my heart sink as I looked out at a room of
It became so distressing I had no
choice Ė I got my wife pregnant with our fourth child. She understood.
Maternity coverage was indeed a part of the plan and with a work force of
Christian Scientists it was the only way to get my return into double
Yet despite the profit we generated for
our insurance company as a result of our companyís good health, we were
slapped with a 17 percent increase. Bob explained that, obviously, other
companies hadnít fared quite as well as ours.
"Iíll tell you what," he
offered. "Let me run a few comparables and see what I can come up
with. Maybe we can do little better."
I thanked him for his concern, hung up,
and pondered whether to give one of the thousands of insurance brokers who
had called over the years a chance to finally steal Bobís business away
from him. I decided to open it up to competitive bidding.
Fortunately, there was a health
insurance broker lying in my doorway that very moment. I motioned for her
to come in.
"You have impeccable timing."
She looked skeptical. "If youíre
sick I canít help you."
"Believe me." I answered,
"Insurance companies love us. I need a competitive bid."
"Great! What kind of plan are you
That was easy. "One with a good
return. Cheap. Major, major medical. Got anything with a $50,000
"No, but weíve got a Preferred
Physician plan with a $1,000 deductible that might meet your needs. Did
you want dental, also?"
I bared my fangs
"OK, weíll cross out dental. How
about prescription drug coverage?í
I had tried that before. Abysmal
return. "No thanks. Just major medical so that our employees will not
be wiped out financially by something completely beyond their control. Our
government couldnít offer this basic protection, so business must."
I squared my shoulders and thrust my chin in the air. "Itís the
least we can do."
"I admire your civic
responsibility. Anything else?"
"No, just get me the cheapest,
simplest plan you can find, and right away. I want to make a decision by
the end of the week and never think of health insurance again."
She took a copy of the
"census" from our existing plan and left. I called Bob and gave
him the new parameters ($1,000 deductible, euthanasia requirements etc.)
and asked him to get back to me by the end of the week. I didnít mention
any competitive bid possibilities.
Both were very prompt, but only one
could get the account. If it had been close, loyalty to Bob would surely
have won out. But it wasnít close. Well, it was close, but not that
I picked up the phone to give Bob the
bad news. How could I break it to him, this loyal servant for the past
five years? Sure, he had many other clients but this could really break
his spirit. I had never had a complaint about his service. How could I do
this to him?
He answered the phone, the usual
eagerness to please in his voice. "Bob," I said. "Youíre
out. Call me next year at renewal time and maybe you can steal it
Some things are easier than expected.