May 05, 2008
I currently work as an underwriter for a large insurance company. I never thought I'd be an underwriter -- it's one of those jobs that has no purpose outside the institution of managing money and risk. Apart from that institution, it's a rather purposeless profession, much like telephone sanitation.
I decided to go into underwriting because I'm interested in moving up in the company, and getting into the business of the business is the only way to go. The options were either underwriting or claims, and since the folks who I know in claims don't describe their jobs in a positive light, I figured that underwriting would at least be a better experience.
The thing about claims is that you really experience the whole range of human experience. A coworker described a situation where a policyholder was recently involved in a collision which killed a family member. Having to deal with the emotional ordeal of handling such a claim doesn't really sound like fun. Much worse is having the subsequent claim be from a man whose brand new BMW had been dinged, and to hear the guy act as though his world was falling apart over it. It's no wonder some of my friends in claims have come out jaded. People could use a dose of perspective.
Similarly, I wonder if people would spend less time being self-absorbed if our society wasn't so padded by the middle-class illusion. We'd worry less about trying to be comfortable and complaining about the guy in the fast lane driving too slowly if we had to deal with a serious crisis, like the cyclone catastrophe in Myanmar. Thirteen-thousand dead.
A little perspective would do people a lot of good.
Update again: I think I'm going to be ill. Now it's up to 120,000.
The Red Cross estimated Wednesday that the cyclone death toll in Myanmar could be as high as 128,000 - a much higher figure than the government tally. The U.N. warned a second wave of deaths will follow unless the military regime lets in more aid quickly.