Is the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association uncomfortable with risk?
In a reply to my January letter to Donald Gulioen, Chair of CLHIA, their lawyer, Mr. Zinatelli stated, “There are serious risks associated with life settlements …” (see March 20, 2015 post below). This seems to me just a way of avoiding my questions.
So I have sent another letter to Mr. Zinatelli (see below) in an effort to open up a well-reasoned conversation with CLHIA. I have questions, they – supposedly – have answers. I am proposing that we meet and have a full and honest discussion about life settlements and what they mean to seniors around the world and could mean to Canada’s aging population.
The life insurance industry is all about risk so I assume the CLHIA has an abundance of evidence to support Mr. Zinatelli’s claim that life settlements are a “serious risk,” and that they can compare such risk to the risk in sectors such as medical, financial, pharmaceutical and technology.
Crossing the street is a risk but we do it all the time. We put in place the proper rules, regulations and protections to mitigate the risk. So for CLHIA to simply claim that life settlements are a serious risk without supporting evidence and cross-industry comparisons is a vacuous statement aimed at avoidance.
Avoidance is a cover
When an industry or business avoids tough questions you can be sure they’re avoiding change. Or worse, covering something up. It’s axiomatic that asking the right questions uncovers old baggage and fosters new ideas and drives innovation and change. Most businesses know they must change to grow and survive. But not all – Arthur Anderson, Enron, Worldcom, Lehman Brothers, Target, et al. Of course some, like AIG, avoid answering to anyone because they are “too big to fail.”
So where are the answers – for Canadian seniors?
On behalf of the Life Settlement Association of Canada (LISAC), I am advocating for Canadian seniors and the questions I pose deserve answers not only for seniors but for all Canadians who own, or will buy, life insurance.
Although Messers Gulioen and Zinatelli have not yet answered my questions, Mr. Zinatelli did pick up on my suggestion to Mr. Gullioen that I would “welcome” a discussion on these important matters. So I propose that we do exactly that.
Let’s begin the conversation
Through Mr. Zinatelli, I request that the CLHIA and the Life Settlement Association of Canada (LISAC), which I represent, meet and begin an open dialogue about the merits of changing provincial legislation so that a well-regulated life settlement industry can be established and offer a valid, financial alternative for Canadian seniors.
I sent this email to Mr. Zinatelli on April 13, 2015 and I await his reply.
I must confess that both the brevity of your response and comments on behalf of Mr Gulioen do not surprise me. As I mentioned in my blog of March 20, 2015 (http://hereliesyourmoney.com/blog/ ), the CLHIA “ducked my questions.” Of all my questions, you answered none.
You said in your letter, “There are serious risks associated with life settlements.” Well that just raises more questions. What risks? Can you be specific? Can you provide factual, supportable evidence? How extensive are such risks?
Of course there are risks; life is fraught with risks. Crossing the street is a risk. People buy life insurance because of risk. But people measure risk and decide on the best course of action. So I ask: Regarding life settlements, has CLHIA measured the “serious risks” they refer to and compared those risks to the benefits – benefits to policyholders, not the insurers? And how do such risks compare to other consumer risks in the financial, medical, pharmaceutical, technology sectors? Risks are mitigated by well-regulated industries.
Also, let me be clear. I do not suggest that life settlements be “promoted” in Canada (your word), rather that life settlements through a well-regulated, secondary market be an option provided to Canadians, just as they are in other jurisdictions around the world.
As per your suggestion, I would welcome, at a mutually convenient time and date, a full and open discussion on these matters that are, indeed, most important to Canadians.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Leonard H. Goodman