Sunday, October 7, 2018

Insure THIS!

I found Chapter 14 (on “Weird Insurance”) of Ben Orlin’s delightful volume “Math With Bad Drawings” to be one of the most fun (of so many). It falls within an overall section on probability, and describes several non-standard insurances I’d never given much thought to. One of them he calls, “Oh No, My Employees All Won the Lottery” Insurance. We’ve all read stories in recent years of employees at a workplace banding together to purchase many tickets in some multi-million dollar lottery and then if one person wins, splitting the proceeds… and, then turning in their job resignations en masse.  As Ben puts it, it’s “like some kind of natural disaster” for the manager/proprietor of such a business. Oy.

Ben goes on to report that “In the 1990s, over a thousand British businesses invested in the National Lottery Contingency Scheme. If your staff won the jackpot, insurance payouts would help to cover recruitment, retraining, revenue losses, and temporary labor.

Ben also points out that the employer could potentially self-insure by simply joining the employee pool and being one of the winner recipients (of course that assumes the employees even let the boss know what they're up to: "hey Boss, we're all joining together to win the lottery and quit this blankety-blank, friggin' workplace!").

…And if that’s not weird enough for you, shortly thereafter comes a section on “Alien-Abduction Insurance” :)  [...where Ben reports that a British company that sold 37,000 such plans hasn’t made a single payout yet (go figure!), and one of the managers involved says, “I’ve never been afraid of parting the feeble-minded from their cash”... so much for British understatement.]
Yeah, insurance is an interesting, creative business (selling you something you hope to never have to use).

Anyway, Ben’s book is a chuckle-a-minute, so if you want to insure against boredom, get it!
[The sections on probability and statistics constitute close to half the book and are especially fantastic, but the entire volume is a joy ride!]

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