I heard a story that absolutely disgusted me about a businessman who exploited a loophole in life insurance products to make a profit by filing claims on strangers before they died.
The disgust comes from people who opposed the loophole.
Here's how the scheme worked: Life insurance companies got careless with the rates for their products while competing with each other on variable annuity rates. The requirements were so sloppy that many of the insurance companies didn't check on the health of the annuitant, which is a fancy word for the target of the insurance. Businessman Joseph Caramadre discovered that the person who collects the insurance money does not have to be related to the person who dies, but does have to have their permission to file a policy.
Caramadre's plan was simple. He paid people who were close to death for their blessing to take out an insurance policy on them. They got money right away while they were still alive. Caramadre got the insurance money when they died. Everyone won, except the insurance companies.
Critics, however, are saying Caramadre profited from death.
I say, so what?
That mere aesthetic is being used to smear a clever man who didn't take a dime from the people who died. In fact, he gave them money. They were already going to die, the only difference was that they made a buck along the way.
Of course, no one is going to shed a tear for the reckless insurance companies who ended up footing the bill for Caramadre's scheme. They only have themselves to blame, of course. So with no sympathetic victim, how does one spin the story? It turns out, with weird statements from the families of Caramadre's partners.
"I lose my mom, who is my best friend, my world, and in me, losing my mother forever at the age of 64, you, in turn, profit and get X amount of dollars," says Stephanie Porter, whose mother received $2,000 from Caramadre before she died of cancer. "It's slimy what the man did."
What does "slimy" mean in this context? Her mother didn't lose a single day on this earth and still profited. Caramadre provided a service that aided families at the expense of companies too irresponsible and too greedy to design their insurance products properly. If Caramadre is slimy, why isn't Porter's mother as well?
Critics even tried to play up that Caramadre gained access to the Social Security numbers of his partners when he filed the insurance claims. So what? They sold that information to him and he never used it to harm them.
Caramadre didn't give money to those families out of the kindness of his heart. He did it to make a buck. But really, what difference does it make? Those families profited by participating in his scheme, and in a rational world he would he held up as a modern Robin Hood instead of some sort of ghoul.
It is the people who have no stake in this issue that oppose Caramadre and his partners that are slimy and ghoulish. They value their aesthetic so much that they would rather see the families of the dying deprived of a chance at help paying their bills in a way that does them no harm then witness someone else profit in a way related to an inevitable death. This is a selfish notion that masquerades as concern for others and should be viewed with contempt.