Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Getting Religion

God gets the blame . . . insurance companies pocket the money . . . homeowners are up the proverbial creek without a paddle.  So goes the so-called “acts of God” the exclude insurance companies from having to pay when a natural disaster occurs.  According to the dictionary an act of God is “an event that directly and exclusively results from the occurrence of natural causes that could not have been prevented by the exercise of foresight or caution; an inevitable accident.”  Most insurance companies pretty much keep religion out of their business . . . if you have ever had to deal with one you understand what is being said . . . that is, until there is an actual natural disaster that wreaks havoc.  Then insurance companies suddenly find their religion and cry out, “Acts of God!”

Acts of God . . . which keep them from quickly making payment or even revoking payment on all the claims that come pouring in.  Acts of God . . . as they jack up the price of insurance policies after a natural disaster.  Acts of God . . . as they cancel a policy or refuse to renew it when policy holders actual attempt to collect on what they have paid for.  Acts of God . . .

I think God gets tired of being blamed.

Our area of Montana got nailed with quite a storm in mid-May with hail as big as golf balls beating the hell out of just about everything.  Made a mess out of a lot of homes and property . . . millions of dollars worth of damage.  The big town’s newspaper states that there have been over 40,000 claims made on the damage that was done in that one storm.  Last year there was a similar storm with similar damage.  The year before that was a big flood and even more claims.  Seems that not only was this part of Montana getting beat up, so were the insurance companies . . . all that hail was beating the hail out of their triple digit profits.  So, they got religion . . . invoked the acts of God on everyone by either severely raising the policies or canceling them by refusing to reissue the insurance when the policy expired.  After all, these were acts of God . . . acts of God allow insurance companies not to have to take responsibility . . . gets them off the hook and cuts the losses.

In our area . . . and across the state . . . the religious motives of the insurance companies has been to be slow in responding to the claims . . . in paying the bare minimum in coverage . . . in canceling policies . . . and, in jacking up the cost of insurance for everyone.  This did not sit well with a lot of the people it effected . . . many were shocked at having their policies canceled after many years of paying in for insurance that they never used.  Of course, insurance companies do not see this as a way of recouping losses . . . no, they see this as good business practice.  As one insurance executive stated: “There’s been some storms come through the area.  You have had some adverse exposure.  We look at past claims experience to determine future risk.  This is not intended as a way to recoup past losses.  It’s rather a reflection of the increased risk.”  In other words, insurance companies want to cut their losses and make sure they don’t lose any more profit on down the road.  Besides . . . it’s an act of God.  Religion sure feels good.

One exasperated individual argued that his insurance policy could not be canceled because of an act of God.  The insurance companies argued that it had nothing to do with it being an act of God . . . but that the companies have the right to not renew policies over issues like claims.  Don’t make a claim and you won’t lose your insurance . . . kind of defeats the purpose of paying all that extra money for insurance doesn’t it?  Besides, what the policy states it won’t cover as acts of God, the company will sell an exclusive policy just for that specific act . . . flood insurance is a separate and extra bit of insurance one gets to pay for if he or she wants coverage from floods.  Having religion the insurance companies did what any religious entity would do . . . it turned it back on those in need and started canceling and raising rates. 

I don’t think that God appreciates carrying the blame for these so-called acts.  In fact, I really do not think that God has anything to do with these so-called acts . . . they just happen.  As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, “Poop happens.”  Natural disasters just happen.  I do not think that God looks down from the heavens and declares that a certain place needs to be shook up a little by sending down a tornado.  I don’t think that God does that.  There have been places a lot more deserving of the havoc of a natural disaster than the little communities that have been hit so far this summer . . . for example, an act of God would be cleaning up Washington, D.C.  But God doesn’t do that . . . at least I do not believe that God does that.  I don’t think that would be an act of God.

But . . . always the big but statement . . . if all of these natural disasters are truly an act of God, why do we lament so much over them.  If these are truly an act of God shouldn’t we the faithful buckle up and deal with it . . . accept it as God’s will . . . try to figure what we did to deserve it and then work really hard to avoid doing it again?  I mean, if these natural disasters were an act of God, wouldn’t it be unfaithful to not just accept the consequences and move on?  If it is God’s will . . . so be it.  Have a little faith, surely there was some reason God dropped that golf ball size hail all over our cars . . . probably because we bought foreign.  I do not think that God is such a vindictive sort of a deity . . . God would not do this on purpose.  These are not acts of God . . . so, let’s quit blaming God.

In our society we have a problem with religion . . . we seem to think that it a sort of pick and choose sort of deal . . . we pick and choose when it is to our advantage whether we are individuals or some big time company.  As I stated earlier, it is amazing that there is nothing too religious about dealing with an insurance company when it comes to purchasing a policy . . . it is all legalese.  There is nothing too religious about an insurance company, but it is amazing how quickly insurance companies find religion when it comes to moral obligations involving big payouts.  Religion is found when the wallet gets squeezed . . . acts of God are invoke, and responsibility is thrown out the window.  It is amazing how often companies and individuals hide behind religion to avoid moral obligations.

Insurance companies no more found religion than one can squeeze blood out of a turnip . . . they found an excuse to protect themselves and their profits.  They did not respond with empathy . . . they did not respond with acts of kindness . . . they did not take care of those who were in need . . . they walked on by the other side of the road.  If insurance companies had truly found religion there would not be increases in the policy rates, not would any policy be canceled.  As the song goes, “They will know we are Christian by our love, by our love”.  In other words people will know we are religious by how we respond in these times of natural disaster . . . did we respond in love.

God doesn’t deserve the blame, but is handling it quite well.  God is also watching . . . watching to see how the children of God respond.  Through acts of caring and love, God is revealed as a living presence.  Maybe someday insurance companies and others will actually get it . . . maybe they will find religion.

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