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As it had been for last 10 years, this February also, I abhorred writing a fat cheque to my insurance company. I hated the agent who had sold me those policies and almost made a fool out of me. Yes I always felt that he duped / robbed me by selling these policies and just for the sake of saving taxes I had to pay so much as premium. I never wanted to learn from my MBA class of financial accounting on managing risks.

Social SupportNot just that, I have received N number of calls from so called WHO, which asks for funding heart, eye, kidney etc surgery of a baby boy or a girl. These calls have always been met with a cold no, or suggesting that I have assisted in other such causes or “I am a DND registered customer why are you calling me?” These calls sound spurious so there are interesting crowd funding support system such as – Watsi, Ketto Milaap etc.

Recently, one of my family member had to be admitted to hospital and undergo a surgery. Thankfully, this person was covered under insurance. I realized the value of insurance. I revisited the concepts of insurance. Insurance is distribution and transfer of risk. In our case, we had been paying premium for last couple of years (during this time it looks as if the amount is gone in vain). Eventually, we needed this risk manager to take charge.

What insurance companies do is pooling and redistributing of risks. It sounds very weird. What pooling of risk means is going to many people covering them under insurance at a premium by charging some money. This premium amount is invested in different investment instruments. Whenever someone amoungst the insured faces the risk (under which the insured is covered), insurance company pays the amount as per their terms – this is called as redistribution.

I am healthy, so for me it is a “cost” I know I wont fall sick and I am also sure that I wont die sooner, so why pay this premium and get covered for something that is not going to happen to me? This is the point young people ask themselves. But you never know when you need such assistance. There are circumstances when you may need such help. I drive safe, what is the guarantee the other person wont jump signal and bang my vehicle?

I am not trying to sell any insurance. I am here to explain a very interesting concept that we all do support each other when we buy an insurance. If I do not and would not need that money, I am sure someone else in the pool is going to be benefited by the money which I have helped create – interdependence!

This concept of interdependence is not new to me or to Indian philosophical system. The Buddha talked about it as one of the lessons – Interdependent co-arising. In fact when I was reading about insurance I came across this (source Insurance Regulatory Development Authority India) –

In India, insurance has a deep-rooted history. It finds mention in the writings of Manu (Manusmrithi), Yagnavalkya (Dharmasastra) and Kautilya (Arthasastra). The writings talk in terms of pooling of resources that could be re-distributed in times of calamities such as fire, floods, epidemics and famine. This was probably a pre-cursor to modern day insurance. Ancient Indian history has preserved the earliest traces of insurance in the form of marine trade loans and carriers’ contracts.

Is not it an interesting thing? That we support each other even without knowing and help ourselves too. The challenge comes when insurance companies reject your claim and money and greed becomes primary focus instead of helping someone in need even after covered under insurance. This blog post is already very long, so I hope reader will understand the challenges in this industry and greed seeping in the system.

Image source – http://excusercise.org/social_support.htm