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Local & Global Economic Forecasts, Demise of Commissions, Taxi vs. Ride Sharing

Posted By Thom Young, February 14, 2017

Happy Ground Hog Day—Global and Local Forecasts

Since the fat, privileged rodent named Punxsutawney Phil apparently found the day too nice to run back into his burrow, this scientific process of long-term weather prediction has determined that winter will not soon be over and spring 2017 will not arrive earlier than normal. One wonders if good old Phil has some scientific equipment down in the ground that is giving him some confidence that the earth is in fact warming at an ever increasing pace. Hard to say, but it’s a safe bet he’s not watching Fox News!

Regardless of the bulletins from Gobblers Knob Pennsylvania, the real scientific reports clearly show that the past two years have been the warmest since we’ve been keeping records. Sceptics keep challenging the conclusions: the data is limited and inconclusive, the time frame of the measurements is limited, other variables are at play, etc., etc. Even considering these concerns, the information those of us in the risk management business have to analyze gives us a basis for concern. Regardless of statistical variances and the inconclusive outcome of an analysis, the probable outcome is significant enough to demand that we develop a plan to mitigate the risks.

Actuaries around the globe are already using predictive loss formulas for rate adjustments responding to the variables in losses predicted by models allowing for global warming. Reserves are being established to provide for severe weather losses. Reinsurance treaties are being negotiated for catastrophic losses using rate allowances for increased incidents of hurricanes, tidal surge, and changing weather patterns that produce more frequent and more severe weather systems. Loss ratios that are better than predicted continue to generate significant ROE for the insurers as a whole, which continues to keep the marketplace very competitive for most classes of business. In a strange way, even with the upward actuarial adjustments for increased loss, the expanding insurance marketplace is producing competitive benefits for consumers. I believe we will continue to see this market producing a positive outcome until a very severe catastrophic loss occurs.

Fairly accurate predictions about the performance of the insurance industry are not that difficult to make using the information we have from historical results and predictive modeling. The math is not that difficult and recorded variances can be explained. However, one uncertain variable needs to be identified and qualified in any discussion about economic performance, that being the economic performance of other industries and sectors. Globalized trade is as important to the economic returns in our industry as in any other.

Our world has become so interdependent on the delivery of goods and services that no economic unit can survive on its own. Reinsurance arrangements today transfer risk for losses all around the globe. For example, the Fort McMurray catastrophe had a global effect. Homeowners not only in Canada but also in cities on every continent are seeing a portion of their homeowners premium set aside to cover the insured losses in Fort McMurray and a little extra for the possibility of another Canadian community going up in flames. Likewise, when Australian brush fires destroy a community, the Santa Ana winds blow wildfires through the suburbs of Los Angeles, or even the French Riviera sees communities in flames, we all become part of the risk transference. Through the risk transference and sharing facilities of reinsurance, even a homeowner in Red Deer contributes premiums into the pool that funds the payment of those global claims.

I was recently at a seminar discussing the evolution of business models and how they are affected by disrupters. This term seems to be the new buzz word for those people and situations that force situations to change and adapt, often for better outcomes. Corporate emphasis has for a long time been focused on finding team players and implementing systems that support the status quo, but research seems to show that the evolution of successful strategies often comes from those who “think outside of the box” or “challenge the norms.” While many successful business people have long known this strategy to be productive, the concept is making the rounds as a new business model. Certainly, the discussion above regarding predictions of a continuing stable market for the insurance business is focused exclusively from the perspective of the “norms” challenging our business. Continuing and new situations such as the effects of climate change are being dealt with in the normal way. The best laid plans can always be disrupted by irrational and unexpected factors. Such disruption must be considered in light of the current economic and political events unfolding in our world today.

Outside of the capital in play in our business to meet the reserve requirements set out by the insurance regulators, this money isn’t always in play as cash waiting pay claims. Funds for all kinds of developments and investments are sourced from the funds managed by insurers until such times as they are needed to pay claims. These are managed in a balance of liquidity and security to generate much of the “investment income” that supplements the results of the underwriting profit or loss when determining income for our insurers. Disruption in our economy can have devastating effects on the insurance industry. As we saw most recently in 2008 and other times in recent history, the decline in the value of investments as a result of the failure of capital markets can very quickly see insurers trying to line up their business written with the capital values they are holding in reserves. This shedding of market share is the primary cause of a hard market. Hard markets and soft markets are never a good thing for our business. Every investment manager hopes for stable markets moving in predictable directions, either up or down.

Turning to the 800 pound orange gorilla in the room for a moment, the calamity that may come about by the disruption of international trade agreements and the removal of regulatory oversight of the finance business is what’s keeping the financial managers that I know up at night. The threat of 20% or 30% tariffs imposed on trade networks that have evolved to remain competitive in the new global supply chains and markets should concern everyone. This kind of disruption will not be good for anyone, particularly the USA, and failure of the American economy would be devastating to all of us. At the same time, the exit of Great Britain from the European market without bilateral adjustments with the whole of the EU will no doubt tip international trade on its side as well. The times are changing and my fingers are crossed that the reality of fair balanced cooperation for the good of us all will eventually be the reality we get in the end. So far the consequences of irrational disruption seem lost upon the man who thinks he’s running things down south. The wakeup call will no doubt be loud and confusing when it comes.

The Demise of Commissions?

Want to work as a true broker? No set commissions? Our associates in the life insurance business are facing a new challenge in regards to the way in which we are remunerated. A number of people hold the belief that agents should be allowed to charge a fee for service for their work with no set compensation percentage on the value of the amounts the client invests (see “The Higher-Cost, Higher-Service Future of Investing Advice"). The threat to ban commissions is real. On January 10th, 2017, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) published CSA Consultation Paper 81-408 – Consultation on the Option of Discontinuing Embedded Commissions (Consultation Paper) suggesting the need to transition to a direct pay arrangement, where the investor directly pays the dealer’s compensation. Such an arrangement certainly would resolve the disclosure issues that always seem to arise, but would it make any difference in the long run? How would this work in the General insurance industry? This discussion has come up many times over the years about the insurers quoting their product on a net basis and leaving the broker to add commission to the bill. General insurers often start talking about this when a hardening market puts price pressure on holding market share. The thought is that, if the insurers have to forego revenue to remain competitive, the broker should too. I’ve never really seen the sense in that argument, but then I’m a broker at heart!

The life insurance agent’s main lobbying association Advocis isn’t taking this proposal sitting down. Advocis has launched a digital campaign targeted at both financial advisers and their clients. Financial Advice for All is a micro-site that outlines the issue of banning commissions and how it will affect Canadians. I wonder how General insurance brokers and agents would feel about the challenge of this kind of regulation affecting their business.

Thinking of Buying a Taxi?

Following along with the topic of business disruption and the effect on norms, the taxi business certainly seems in dire need of adaptation to the competitive pressure coming from Uber. Recently in Las Vegas, I learned that many taxi drivers are participating in the Uber model along with their regular taxi business. Either the meters in the taxi or the Uber app is collecting the money. Vegas Taxi drivers are notorious for scenic routes and special shortcuts to pad their fares. Uber seems to be keeping everyone honest. Those less technically proficient in the use of apps on their phones are stuck with the taxi meter. Those with the Uber app are getting directly where they’re going at a fair price with the tip included.

I don’t think that buying a taxi business would be a bright idea these days. I’ve written many times about the livery business and the manner in which it has evolved. The advent of Uber and Lyft has reduced the taxi business to something more like a bus service for moving large groups of people from specific locations or sectors to other sectors. The individual looking for a lift home or to a function from home is not looking for a cab service anymore. Uber is cheaper, more reliable, and more pleasant to use than any taxi ever.

I was introduced to Uber in Ottawa when we were bouncing around the capitol lobbying on behalf our industry. I had ridden to town in a cab from the airport. The cab was filthy, the driver was indifferent, and between texting while driving and using his hands-free function to have a loud discussion with an equally loud associate, he left me very unhappy with the transportation experience. At one point I wished to ask him a question about the route he was taking and ended up trying to yell over the discourse going on in the front. When he did give me his attention, he had no idea what I was asking him anyway.

The normal fare for a shuttle from my Phoenix house to the airport is $70 plus tip. Taxis are reluctant to come as far out as the urban setting where I live but will take me from the airport to my house for around $100 plus tip. Uber recently picked me up in a very nice, clean, four-door car and delivered me to the airport for $37.85, tip included. Hard to see the shuttles and the taxis staying afloat for long with that kind of price competition.

A survey by Angus Reid shows the consensus is that the Uber guys should be subject to the same rules and regulations as the rest of the livery business. Properly qualified drivers and equipment are expected by the consumer. Uber says this isn’t a problem.

In Closing

This is the second edition of Young’s Stuff for 2017. I hope you’re finding it enjoyable and thought provoking. Share your thoughts and open dialogue with all who are receiving it. Feel free to post in the blog link on the IBAA website or on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. I’m always looking for feedback and ideas. The direct email link below comes only to me..


The opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of IBAA.
Comment on this post below or email Thom Young privately. Thom also encourages suggestions for topics.


Tags:  business disruptors  capital reserves  catastrophic loss  commissions  global economy  global warming  life insurance  orange gorilla  reinsurance rates  ride sharing  transfer of risk 

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Federal Lobby and National Insurance Education Standards—Strength in Unity

Posted By Thom Young, June 10, 2016

A Report from the Capital

This past week I participated for the first time in the annual Insurance Brokers Association of Canada lobbying efforts in our nation’s capital. Once again, we focused on maintaining the status quo in the upcoming parliamentary review of the Bank Act. Currently, banks are able to compete with brokers so long as they separate their insurance operations from their banking operations. Under the current regulations, they are restricted from offering insurance products out of their branches and restricted from advertising their banking products with their insurance products. The Bank Act comes up for review every five years, and the influence peddlers called lobbyists work very hard to convince the lawmakers to produce regulations that favour their competing business plans and interests.

This year, the task is particularly onerous for both sides of the argument. Last year’s election results produced the largest turnover of MPs in several decades, so many of them are receiving these messages for the first time. This freshness can be an advantage as these people are just as diverse as our population. While you may think that their political stripes set the baseline for their opinions, I have found in my years of talking with political representatives that most are willing to hear you out and listen to your thoughts on the topics. Granted, they may have preconceived opinions. Nonetheless, most are doing their best to learn about the issues while finding out what being a representative of the people is actually all about. Getting to talk with newly elected members of parliament is a golden opportunity to present a good case for your cause that will not only influence their perspectives but will also stimulate discussions and debate within their caucus. The challenge to get an effective message on behalf the insurance industry to these people is coordinated by IBAC and delivered by volunteers from insurance broker associations from all across our country.

This year, we had nine people on task from Alberta and were very well received by everyone we met. Our message was brief and concise: our concern continues to be that, if banks and other credit-granting institutions are allowed to retail insurance from their branches, the public will be unfairly coerced into the purchase of insurance products. If the products are offered at the same time a loan is granted, the inference that the loan is conditional on acceptance of other services deters consumers from assessing the comparative value of the product for their circumstances and puts the insurer at an unfair advantage. If the bank doesn’t directly sell the products required to mitigate its loan risk, then consumers (or their brokers) are more motivated to shop for the best product. Since 1991, the banks have been restricted from selling insurance products from their branches, and the evidence shows the consumers well served by a competitive insurance marketplace. We’d like to see that competition continue.

My personal observations of the process were very positive. I’ve been to the Hill more than a dozen times in my life: as a child, a student, a soldier, and often just as a tourist. I recall a visit with my grandfather when I was very young. He was good friend of John Diefenbaker, and I was given what I thought of then as a very boring tour of the place by these two old fellows. I still recall some significant insights imparted to me then that remain in my mind today, especially the point that this is the people’s house and no part of it should ever be unavailable to the people. While some of our freedoms have been necessarily impeded as a result of the need for security (as evidenced by the bullet holes in parts of the building), parliament remains a very open place available to anyone willing to suffer the indignities of the countless security check points. I’m not really complaining about security though. The only downside of the lobbying was the amount of walking needed get to the appointments. It seemed we would just finish a meeting in the Justice building on the west side of the Hill and the next one would be at the East Block and then back to Justice. The timing and location was dictated by the people we were meeting with and not scheduled with our convenience in mind. Accordingly some 14 or more kilometers were recorded in the process by my group.

I found all of the MPs we met with to be interested and glad for the information we imparted. I was most impressed with the Senators we met. As to the issues and our concerns, they very much aware of the discussions and asked the most intelligent questions. Perhaps I’ll have to rethink my opinion of this institution as it does appear that good work is done by many of them regardless of the aberrations that we constantly hear about in the media. Recent changes to the manner in which the Senate works were also explained to me, and I was genuinely convinced that these people want to fulfill their constitutional obligations. Now they are freed from the yoke of political affiliation, they may well able to live up to their intent. Perhaps that’s a topic for a future issue.

Outside of our issues, many of the MPs we met with enlightened us with the concerns of their constituents. I was asked many questions about the impact of the assisted-dying legislation on the life-insurance business. Of topical concern, of course, were the recent fire losses in Fort McMurray. Most of the people we were talking with are following the media coverage. Expiry of the mass evacuation coverage was mentioned several times, as was the industry’s response to the proposed rezoning that would restrict rebuilding in certain areas in order to secure a proper fire break. We able to answer most of the questions, although they showed that much confusion still exists. Flood coverage was raised in almost every encounter we had. Many wanted to discuss the challenges in coverage variances and availability where it’s needed. These discussions left little doubt that our industry and what we do is very important to these people!

Hill Day was a great experience and, if you ever get a chance to go, don’t miss it. The strength and power of participating in a national association is an awesome thing to experience. Meeting with other brokers and discussing the common issues that concern us bonds us with a purpose. While we all compete with each other as we sell insurance, we also face the same disrupters to our business. As a group, our voice is loud and clear. Individually, we have only local influence that won’t protect us from the national challenges we share.

On the Topic of National Standards, What about Education?

Insurance is insurance is insurance, right? I think I could walk into an office in any country in Europe, build on the knowledge I have obtained in my years as an insurance professional, and find myself in very short order apprised of the small differences in the wordings or intent of the coverage offered to the public. I know I can read an insurance policy from England or the U.S. and interpret the coverages and limitations provided by it. In my career, I have completed the review of a number of different wordings originating in other countries that have become available in our Canadian market. I know I can determine in short order the differences in automobile coverage between all the Canadian jurisdictions and provide an overview to clients that would be sufficient for their understanding, albeit limited by the short notice. Where I don’t know the differences in coverage between Alberta and anywhere else, I can find them out quickly and report them accurately. I know I’m not special or different from many other insurance professionals who have not only acquired the body of knowledge needed to answer questions but also acquired the ability to learn and report on topics about our craft. We are always learning and, even without the regulatory requirement to demonstrate an effort each year, those of us who wish to remain competitive spend much more time learning to respond to our markets’ need for answers to questions than we are ever accredited with CE credits.

For a couple of years now, as a member of the General Insurance Council of Alberta (GIC), I’ve been working on educational issues and reviews of educational materials. It was determined a number of years ago that the licensing examinations had fallen behind and were not testing on changes in forms and coverages in use in our industry and that, with the regulatory changes in Alberta providing for three different levels of licenses, new examinations had to be prepared to address the expected Level 2 and Level 3 hierarchy of knowledge. The consequent changes proved to disrupt the process of getting people licensed as Level 1 agents and advancing them to Level 2. As a result, industry pressure on the regulator saw both the materials used to study for the exams and the questions used in the exams reviewed, reworked, and adjusted. The process is a long one involving competing educational interests and the mandate of the regulator to ensure the public is well served by intelligent and proficient general insurance brokers. The issue was not just that the exams were too hard. The study material has also been challenged as perhaps inadequate.

The process of reviewing the material used to study for the exams, preparing curriculum design documents, and preparing new exam questions that match the new curriculum has been underway for quite some time. The educators are still adjusting their course material so their students are well prepared for the exams. The process isn’t over yet but is well underway. My intent here is not to focus on this progress but to comment on the standards and, in particular, the criticism that the standards set by the Insurance Institute courses and the CAIB program are not relevant.

For quite some time now I’ve been trying to track down the origin of these challenges, and I’m distressed to learn that most of it seems to be coming from our sister association members of IBAC who have their own educational programs and who apparently see themselves as competing with the national program. They believe that the national program is lacking in content and in need of an update. Granted, our GIC committee’s very thorough content review of both the CAIB program and the CIP program did find a number of parts in need of updating, but we also found in both programs that the material referenced in the curriculum design documents (the content informing the examination questions for the license levels) was all adequately covered, with the exception of the specifics of automobile insurance in Alberta.

This discontent with the national education programs concerns me greatly. The influence it has with regulators in other provinces filters into our communication with our and other regulators through the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators and, in particular, into our communication with the Western Provinces Council of Insurance Regulators. The view that the national programs in place are lacking and insufficient both to learn from and measure equivalencies to the licensing standards has created havoc. As you may remember from a blog many months ago, our committee presented its work on equivalencies to the GIC, which recommended to our government that CIP and CAIB designation holders be granted equivalencies for each level of licensing in Alberta. The response from our regulator has been to tell us it may take a year or more before the government will address this issue. Reasons for the delay include the change in government, among other similar issues, but I have also been informed that the validity of the equivalencies is being questioned at the interprovincial meetings of the regulators.

I find it very strange that any provincial entity would want to undermine the validity of a national program provided by its parent association. Certainly, provincial qualification and licensing courses that meet the burden of content for passing a provincial examination are valuable, but the value of a professional designation that has national recognition can’t be discounted. Do we want to see the letters showing our professional achievements suffixed in brackets with our provincial abbreviation? I don’t. Where a provincial association sees a part of the national program in need of review or update, the inclination should be to fix it and to see the nominal cost of that fix as a contribution to betterment of the profession, not an inconvenience caused by the national organization’s failure to get it done in as quick a fashion as desired. For the record, the CIP and CAIB programs are constantly under review, and volunteers like me are actively involved in rewriting the parts that need updating. Don’t let anyone tell you that process isn’t ongoing—it is!

In Closing

I may be stepping on a few toes with this issue. It’s been a while since I took on as controversial a topic as this, but I am saddened to see our lack of unity. It devalues the status of those of us who have put in the time and effort to get a professional designation that, through the national efforts of IBAC, is recognized from Vancouver to St. John’s as a standard of excellence in the delivery of General insurance! We also look like a bunch of kids arguing in a candy store when the regulators meet to deal with our issues.

The opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of IBAA.
Comment on this post below or email Thom Young privately. Thom also encourages suggestions for topics.


Tags:  assisted-dying legislation  Bank Act  building codes  CAIB  Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators  credit-granting institutions  evacuation coverage  flood  Fort McMurray fire  General Insurance Council  Hill Day  IBAC designations  licensing courses and exams  Licensing Level 1  Licensing Level 2  Licensing Level 3  life insurance  property coverage  Senate reform  Western Provinces Council of Insurance Regulators  zoning bylaws 

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Uber Insurance, Fair Risk Distribution, Political Correctness, American Politics

Posted By Thom Young, March 29, 2016

Uber Isn’t Above the Law

It wouldn’t be a blog without some comment about Uber. As I’ve often indicated in the past, the laws regarding the operation and use of livery vehicles in urban areas clearly define vehicles for hire. While many have repeatedly referred to the unique manner in which the Uber ride-sharing works, it is a taxi service by another name with unlicensed individuals and automobiles operating outside of the current rules. Recently in several Canadian jurisdictions, and of particular note to us in Edmonton and Calgary, the municipal authorities have bent over backwards to somehow accommodate the Uber approach to moving people around for a fee. In each case, they’ve attempted to change the rules not only to allow Uber to operate but also to ensure that it operates with the same standards of equipment, driving experience, and insurance as taxi companies. These equivalencies have proven to remove the Uber advantage, though they haven’t seemed to deter Uber from operating (even though Uber has claimed to have removed itself from some jurisdictions). The result has been urban sting operations run by bylaw enforcement officers and an increase in the number of people being charged for operating a taxi service without a license. While the fight isn’t over yet, the more things change, the more they seem to remain the same.

Ensure you let your clients know that the insurance restrictions on the use of their private-passenger vehicles do not allow them to operate as vehicles for hire. They need to know that doing so will place their coverage at risk in the event of an accident, and their material misrepresentation in the use of their vehicle on the application will probably make them a poor risk from then on. Stay tuned, this discussion isn’t over.

Fair and Equitable Distribution of Risk

Modern technology continues to improve risk selection in every facet of the insurance industry. In the life and group benefits side of our business, the ability to analyze the predisposition of an individual to incur a certain kind of medical event that influences morbidity (disability) or mortality (death) has reached the point that the percentile of accuracy for some things is approaching 100%. In our industry, risk selection is a primary component in the competitive success of our product pricing. If a potential claim can be avoided in the company’s underwritten pool, then the members of that group (the insureds) benefit through lower premiums and the managers of the pool (the insurers) benefit through better returns on capital invested to sustain the group. What appears to be a win-win situation at first glance is, however, more complicated for those who form the group with a certainty of a claim. These people become uninsured or are pooled with higher risk insureds and create the opposite effect on the performance of those pools. Higher premiums occur for the insureds and lower returns for the insurers.

For insurance to work, the transference of claims cost to the group has to occur in a fair manner. While many may dismiss ethical concerns from the risk-selection process, the sharing of claims costs for high risk groups has beneficial attributes in the normal marketplace. Automobile insurance is a particularly good example in which those with very poor driving records are still able to obtain at least the statutory insurance coverage necessary to operate a motor vehicle on public highways through a pooling of high risk drivers in the Facility. All insurers operating in the jurisdiction participate in the pooling and subsidize it with capital and cash contributions. Of course, they also share in the distribution of any excesses that occur. This pooling ensures that everyone can get insurance. Without a facility association for Life, Group benefits, or Property and Casualty coverages, it is possible to become uninsurable for these classes of coverage. The industry has no requirement to serve the public should individuals be identified as “high risk” for any reason.

Apart from the government-mandated catch-all that the Facility provides to ensure that everyone who is legally required to have insurance can obtain it, the highly regulated automobile insurance structure also defines the nature of the groups that people are put into for premium calculations. Within reason, automobile insurers can select who they wish to insure, but they cannot reject providing coverages to people who qualify for the posted classes or create rates based on new criteria and information outside of the rating parameters set out in the regulations. When auto insurers start to use new criteria to select risks without getting the criteria approved, the regulator gets quite annoyed and, as we saw in Alberta, will implement reforms to ensure the public isn’t unfairly selected against in the underwriting process.

My original intent in this story was to point out once again that underwriting predictions are increasing in accuracy due to the ability to analyze the data and define the insureds into increasingly selective groups based on predictions of loss. This accuracy is great for making profitable inroads in the marketplace. Being able to select those who have a lower predictive chance to have a claim creates a huge competitive advantage in the marketplace. The trouble is that the service of insurance is about covering claims, not about avoiding claims or avoiding the people who are likely to incur claims. If data defines those who will not have claims to the extent that the risks are almost certain, risk management procedures will remove many individuals from the insurance pools. This loss in premiums increases the loss ratios. The end result is increased premiums for those who are going to have claims. Far too often, the underwriters believe their goal is to eliminate claims through selection. However, the insurance process only works when enough money is charged to pay for our costs of doing business, including a fair return on investment to our shareholders and paying the claims incurred by the people we insure. Finding the average risk is the purpose of underwriting, not identifying the lowest risk. Without the good risks contributing to the pool, the price of the coverage becomes unobtainable, and without the bad risks driving claims against the pool, the need for coverage at all becomes debatable. Balancing insurance pools with these competing realities is going to become harder and harder as our technology allows us to select the risks without consideration of the average.

Clear as mud?

Politically Correct?

How many differing opinions can dance around the point of a pin without offending the dancers? I’m a big fan of a pluralistic perspective. In terms of social decency, that means you’re welcome to your thoughts and I’m welcome to my thoughts. While my tolerance of your perspective isn’t required, my respect for your right to them is.

The term “politically correct” has been attributed to a number of sources. Most recently an email has been circulating referencing discussions between President Harry S. Truman and General George McArthur using the term in organizing the surrender of Japan to the Allied Powers at the end of WWII. Like most of those stories, this one is untrue and puts General McArthur in a poor light. The history books show McArthur was more concerned and aware of the cultural issues in those negotiations than anyone. Wikipedia documents the use of the term in English writings from the 16th century: “In 1793, the term ‘politically correct’ appeared in a U.S. Supreme Court judgment of a political lawsuit. The term also had occasional use in other English-speaking countries. The term probably entered use in the United Kingdom around 1975.”

My issue with the manner in which the term is most often used is that it suggests that being polite and respectful to others who hold different views on any number of topics is a fault or imposition. These disparaging implications suggest, “I’m being civil and respectful only because the majority considers it necessary, not because I am.” That’s quite a disingenuous point of view, isn’t it?

Certainly, we don’t all have to agree on everything and hold utopian ideals. Vigorous debate and discussion with elevated passion and even vitriol enlarges our minds. In the end though, after both perspectives are presented, we need to go our own way respectfully hoping that others will join us and agreeing to disagree!

The American silly season is in full swing. Sanity seems to have been set aside in that political contest, especially on the conservative side of the aisles. Somehow attacking the premise of being politically correct has become equated with an attack on flawed ideology. Making outrageous statements against people based on their heritage, culture, gender, and other preferences seems to be garnering support from the body politic within the conservative movement. Suspending human rights and violating international treaties that govern proper behaviour in conflicts all appear to be getting a majority of support and are reported on particularly by the conservative media as the new way of doing things.

Clearly, only part of the story is being told here. As usual, the more outrageous the news, the more it gets played for our attention. In reality, the majority of people continue to believe that being correct is more about proper behaviour than it is about political interaction. As we will soon see the American contest of wills on the political front come to a four-year conclusion this November, the success of a politics of bigotry, hatred, and fear will become evident in the outcome. I’ve little doubt that the winners will be more inclined to favour the pluralistic view than what we’re hearing in the press these days. As a long-time conservative, I am hopeful that I can wear that moniker without being compared to the nuts that claim to speak for us.

In Closing

The Easter weekend is almost over. Running my own family resort has been fun this year but, I must say, busy and a little stressful. Spring break always has been like that for us though. I hope the Ishtar bunny brought you many treats and that you enjoyed the holiday from whatever perspective brings you joy. I am now going hiking on the Apache trail!

The opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of IBAA.
Comment on this post below or email Thom Young privately. Thom also encourages suggestions for topics.


Tags:  data management  ethics  Facility Association  group benefits  insurance regulation  life insurance  livery business  politically correct  ride sharing  risk distribution  risk management  statutory coverage  taxi regulations  Uber 

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