The Gift of Insurance

CAC Specialty CMO Doug Turk reflects on the gift that is the insurance industry, seen through the plots of popular Christmas movies: whenever a claim is paid an angel gets its wings.

(Image credit: Kira auf der Heide/Unsplash.)

As we come to the close of the year, we once again have the opportunity to watch holiday movies. From “A Christmas Carol” to “Elf” to “It’s a Wonderful Life,” we are surrounded by themes of redemption and second chances, of opportunities to right a wrong, of magical alternatives to start again and to learn from our mistakes. These universal themes of changing the past and giving people the chance to continue their lives with new knowledge and perspective exist in each of these holiday narratives. For me, it is exactly like insurance. Yes, I did just write the word “insurance.” I ask you what other product allows companies and people to be made whole, to protect them when there is a loss, and enable them to continue forward with better knowledge and insight? It is the ultimate product of second chances, changing the past, and finding redemption; it is just like a holiday movie! Now, you may be skeptical about this connection, and it may be my decades of insurance or too much eggnog that is clouding my judgment, but provide me a moment to explain how and why insurance follows these classic holiday movie themes.

First, insurance provides companies and individuals the ability to navigate unpredictable circumstances without the constant fear of these events causing irreversible damage. Think George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when there is a run on the bank. In the movie, his friends and customers come to his rescue, protecting his balance sheet so he doesn’t go out of business. For companies today, insurance is George Bailey’s customers protecting the assets when something unpredictable occurs so the business
can continue to operate. Remember whenever a claim is paid an angel gets its wings.

Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and Karolyn Grimes in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). Source: American Telefilm Associates/Wikimedia. (Click to enlarge.)

Second, Insurance provides a comforting shield to allow an organization to focus on making strategic decisions without worrying about potential risks. Think of Jamie Bennett (Colin Firth) in “Love Actually”: he faces his fears, learns a new language, and moves to a strange location because he falls in love. It’s the same as a company that falls in love with an idea, decides to take a risk, or goes in a different direction—insurance provides the backstop. Insurance allows the risk to be taken. “É muito bom quando o sinistro é pago rapidamente.” (It’s great when the claim is paid quickly).

Third, Insurance gives the gift of bouncing back from a bad situation. Think about the movie “Elf.” Buddy the Elf doesn’t let anything get him down, he is unflappable. His ability to bounce back and enjoy what he is doing is legendary. Now, think about Mary, a theoretical CEO. Insurance allows her to bounce back quickly, not only preserving the financial stability of the company but also maintaining its operational continuity, reassuring clients, stakeholders and employees. Insurance allows Mary to think like Buddy
the Elf.

Finally, Insurance is a caretaker for clients that protects their interests. Just like the Conductor in “Polar Express,” who knows where the train is heading and takes care of the passengers based on their individual needs and does a good job of representing the needs of the children to Santa. Just like the conductor, the broker knows how to stamp the ticket, when to serve the cocoa and, in the end, ensures that clients are safe and sound, steering them away from any risks on their journey.

So, I return to where I began, as you sit and watch your favorite holiday movie this year, as your hot cocoa steams from your cup, you feel nostalgic and you wipe a small tear from your eye, just remember that it is all, in the end, just like insurance.

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Doug Turk // Doug Turk is the Chief Marketing Officer and is responsible for the development and implementation of CAC Group’s global marketing strategy across all business units and regions. Prior to joining CAC, Turk served as the Head of Revenue at Coalition. Before his tenure with Coalition, he held various senior positions at industry-leading firms. He served as Chief Marketing Officer at JLT Group, playing a pivotal role in the senior leadership team that spearheaded the expansion of JLT Specialty USA. His career also includes nearly a decade at Aon, where he launched several strategic initiatives to expand the company’s regional presence in the Western U.S., cementing its position as a frontrunner in Western markets. Turk is one of the co-founders of altumAI, an InsurTech firm that collects and analyzes worker data to develop cost-effective solutions for worker health and safety. He holds several patents for insurance-focused technology and is a published author on business strategy and technology. His diverse experience and deep industry knowledge make him an invaluable asset to CAC Group’s executive team.

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