Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Insurance companies in desperate search for a victim

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.


  1. I don't know what the justification is for the outrage here - maybe it's that Caramadre was a stranger interjecting himself into what was an otherwise very personal, very private affair. Or maybe the family felt like he somehow took advantage of their deceased relative. It isn't really clear. However, what is clear is that no argument has really been presented for the outrage. Yet here you sit, calling these people selfish and deserving of contempt. You have no idea how these strangers view and deal with death. You overplayed your argument and crossed at least one line of decency.

  2. I disagree, what these people are doing is injecting themselves into the deceased's private affairs. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you are trying to say, but what I do before my death isn't anyone's business but mine, so too with these people who contracted with this guy.

    And who gets to draw these "lines of decency" anyway? Are you claiming to be, or have access to, some kind of objective moral authority? If so, that's a little out of character, isn't it?

  3. Death most affects those close to the deceased. That usually means family members. I can understand how they wouldn't want some stranger getting involved, especially where finances are concerned.

    Since morality is a purely human affair, an objective source of it really makes no sense.

  4. The only involvement from the stranger was to give the family money.

    This post isn't focusing on criticizing family members, it's criticizing people such as you who are also strangers to those families and insist on getting involved and blocking them from receiving money.

  5. I'm not against what he did. You made that up.

    As for your continued issues with writing, you quoted a family member who used the word "slimy". You then questioned the word "slimy". You then summed up your position by calling the opposition "slimy". If one is to conclude that you believe the family members of the deceased are "slimy", that is your fault. (It's a good thing your aspirations are to remain in journalism. A more professional level of writing is not for you.)

  6. "It is the people who have no stake in this issue that oppose Caramadre and his partners that are slimy and ghoulish."

    Is there a sentence you can point to to back up your strained interpretation, sweetcheeks?

  7. I already pointed out how you designed your post, so that has been covered. I am sorry that you do not understand such simple things. Moreover, you used the exact language of family member to turn around and lambaste people who disagree with what Caramadre did.

    I will give you this, though: Caramadre gave money to people who were soon-to-be-deceased and you promptly spun that as him giving money to the families. Just as with your inability to establish the actual arguments being put forth by Caramadre's critics (such as by the family member you quoted), you failed to establish that any of the money went to the families rather than the individuals directly involved. Good job covering yourself by making things up.

    So let me recap for you since that tends to be necessary given your reading disability: You established three individuals/groups that were involved here: Caramadre, the soon-to-be-deceased, and the insurance companies. If you want to establish a fourth group - the critics who are critics but not the family members who are critics (even though you quoted a family member who is a critic) - it would serve clarity's sake for you to do so prior to your concluding paragraph.

  8. The one thing that keeps me blogging has to be bitter webizens who desperately look for something to criticize, even if it takes the form of melodramatic attempts to turn words into something they are not.

  9. It bothers me very little when you run away now because I expect it.