Ethics and Insurance

If you’re lucky enough to have a Persian rug in your home or office then, if you’re like me, you’ll often find yourself following the meandering design and letting your mind wander, wondering at the beauty and craftsmanship of it all. I’ve been told that a Persian rug must have a flaw if it is to be deemed, according to proverb, perfectly imperfect and precisely imprecise.

The need for the rug to have an intentional and slight imperfection is derived from the belief that God is the only perfect being. Although these ‘mistakes’ are deliberate, the rug does serve as a reminder that we are all imperfect and, predictably, prone to making mistakes.

Apologising for any harm that mistakes may cause is, of course, key to getting any relationship back on track. It’s even better to try to avoid making the mistake in the first place and definitely worthwhile to avoid repeating the errant behaviour again.

Owens McCarthy’s employees have recently spoken to each other around the topics of mistakes, harm and #Ethics, in the context of the Golden Rule. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus summarises the whole of the Old Testament in a single phrase: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

It is sometimes called a perfect duty, in that everyone can apply the rule in a different situation or environment. The concept is not exclusive to Christianity, however:

ISLAM – No one of you is a believer until you desire for another that which you desire for yourself. from The Hadith

JUDAISM – What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour; that is the entire Torah; the rest is commentary; go learn it. from The Talmud

HINDUISM – Do not to others what ye do not wish done to yourself…This is the whole Dharma. Heed it well. from The Mahabharata

It’s not necessary to have a belief in God in order to understand the message in the Golden Rule and to see the potential benefit in it.

Those of us who are passionate about #Insurance can easily talk at length about what an incredible product it is. As Policyholder Advocates we have seen Insurance perform near miracles at times, helping people piece their family lives or businesses back together after a traumatic loss.

We can all agree that Insurance needs to be protected from those who, without cause, might seek to take advantage of it. But, when policyholders are at their lowest ebb, how should we treat them and their #claims? Sometimes it’s difficult to connect the complex concepts discussed at business ethics courses with everyday challenges. Maybe we shouldn’t only rely on regulation, audits, training and codes-of-conduct to convince us to do the right thing. Instead, and on a simple level, all of us who work within the Insurance industry might consider approaching our clients with the Golden Rule in mind.

John O’Donoghue – Managing Director

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