The concept and practice of insurance originated thousands of years ago and remains vibrant to this very day.
What accounts for its endurance?
Two aspects of human nature explain this. First, we are inherently risk-avoiders. Long ago our ancestors recognized that natural perils cannot be eliminated, but their financial consequences can be mitigated. Ancient merchants, for instance, would pay a hefty interest on a loan that they did not have to pay back should their cargo get lost at sea, and thus marine insurance was born.
This same aversion to risk of financial loss eventually expanded to include people.
During Greek and Roman times, families of soldiers organized “benevolent societies” and established a common fund that paid burial expenses and extended financial assistance to widows and orphans whose breadwinners passed away. This was the forerunner of life insurance, and reveals another important aspect of our human nature, which is responsibility. Without a sense of responsibility, we wouldn’t be at all concerned about the welfare of our loved ones after leaving our earthly cares behind.
An early lesson on responsibility came from my father. Among other things, he got life insurance policies to pay for our future education just in case he would not be around when that time came. Thank God our parents continue to bless our lives to this day.
Nevertheless, I reflected on what my future could have been if my father, our sole income earner, did not survive. Being the eldest of five sons, I would have most likely stopped studying in order to earn a living for the family. I would have unhesitatingly obliged myself to do so, but it would have surely altered the course of my life. How fortunate for us that our dad saw it fit to make contingency plans for a number of “What if” scenarios.
My mother, on the other hand, took on the responsibility of raising us as a fulltime home maker, foregoing her own ambitions of becoming a lawyer. Our parents gave us the freedom to shape our lives because they always thought and acted responsibly.
Perhaps, my decision to build a career in the life insurance industry was predicated by a subconscious desire to emulate their consistent examples of responsibility. What is certain is that my brothers and I place responsibility at the forefront of raising our own families. And since my work is about promoting the advocacy of financial preparedness, I am also able to convey this sense of responsibility to many others.
Risk management and responsible parenthood, therefore, go hand-in-hand. They are inseparable partners for coping with an environment of opportunities as well as threats, of stability as well as unpredictability. The millennial generation even has a word for it – “adulting” – referring to that stage in their lives when they embrace their role as more mature and responsible members of society. Purchasing life insurance for the financial protection of their families then becomes a “rite of passage” signifying transition to adulthood.
The same can be said of many other young people who sacrifice and work hard to support their parents or siblings. Life insurance preserves their legacy. And how about millions of overseas Filipino workers, who endure years of physical separation in unfamiliar environments just so they can be an economic lifeline to their loved ones? It makes sense for them to have life insurance as well in order to secure the family income against a devastating loss of their lives. It would be the responsible thing to do, wouldn’t it?
We practice risk avoidance as well as show our responsible nature each and every day even in the smallest things we do or take for granted, like using the pedestrian lane or holding our child’s hand outdoors. During this pandemic, we wear face masks and observe health protocols to avoid the risk of getting the virus as well as to responsibly protect others. That said, why not go all the way by ensuring the financial peace of mind of your loved ones? Remember this: Life insurance is needed, not because someone will die, but because others have to live.
Responsibility is truly the best policy.
A blessed and joyful Christmas season to all!*