Not an exact science……#ravenswin

A recent Insurance Journal article reported that insurance industry professionals picked the 49ers over the Ravens at a rate of almost 2 to 1 and that the risk management subset of professionals within the insurance industry picked the 49ers a little over 3 to 1.  Hope they didn’t put any money on that.

So how did the insurance professionals get it wrong?  The easiest way to describe it is to say that football isn’t an exact science.  You can’t predict how those men will react to the pressure of being in the big game or who will get injured, whether a ref will throw a flag or if a coach will make a boneheaded call.

In the end, It looked like the Ravens simply wanted it more.  The 49ers made a dramatic comeback attempt, but it was simply too late.  This Super Bowl will go down in memory for a few reasons:

1.  That fake field goal kick.  If they would have kicked the 3, the guy behind me would have been winning on the football squares pool.  Lets just say he wasn’t happy with the fake kick call!

2.  The lights went out.  What the heck was that all about?  Before it is over with, someone is gonna have some explaining to do.  The TV execs had to be happy with the additional 30 minutes of commercials.  Maybe we can have those after the third quarter from now on.  A halftime and then a 3rd quarter break similar to a 7th inning stretch.  It would give everyone plenty of time to refill their plates with chips, dips and deserts.

3.  The safety at the end of the game.  Where we watched the game, there were a couple or three football squares pools.  With a minute left in the game, folks were already counting their money when all of a sudden the Ravens decided to take a safety.  Much cussing and discussing ensued.

All in all it was a great game with some great food.  Unfortunately, football and deer season are now over.  Not much to do for the next few weeks but count the days until the quest for the monarchs of the Spring begins.

Saban said what?

I am happy to see any SEC team whoop a non-conference team.  However, as a graduate of Mississippi State I am not a big fan of Nick Saben or Alabama.  Love him or hate him, you can’t argue with his success and you cant argue with what he had to say to the press this week:

You know, there’s a tremendous balance between humility and confidence.  And this game is a struggle. It’s a struggle every day. And you’ve got to embrace it every day.  And you’ve got to go out there and try to earn it every day, to be as good a player as you can be. You’ve got to have a tremendous amount of character, confidence, mental and physical toughness. You’ve got to be driven to be the best. And you’ve got to be able to handle success.  I hate to be negative with anybody, but when you people start writing stuff about people that we’re playing that doesn’t give them the proper respect, that’s not fair.  It’s not fair to them, to their players who work hard to earn it. It’s not fair to our players, who need to respect them. And to make presumptions like you all make, it really really upsets me.  It really does.

Kudos to you Mr. Saben.  Your stock just went up a little in my book.

 

“Adequately Covered?”

People and businesses purchase insurance for a number of reasons.  However, I would argue that the primary reason is fear.  After all, insurance is nothing more than a risk control tool.

In the medical insurance context, it is fear of crushing medical bills that may be incurred if there is no medical coverage.  With respect to car liability insurance, it is fear of going to jail for failure to have insurance or fear of another individual taking their assets to satisfy a legal judgment.  For businesses, it is fear of legal liability from injury judgments.  For individuals looking to purchase life insurance, it is the fear of premature death and not being able to support those that survive.

The adequacy of coverage required to protect against this fear varies considerably.  A young single person with no dependents and few assets may decide to purchase the minimum auto liability policy required by their state, may skip life insurance all together and likewise forgo heath insurance (either by choice or by lack of funds).  A business in a relatively safe environment may decide that insurance isn’t needed.

I wouldn’t even begin to try to count the number of insurance policies I have reviewed.  Lets just say it is a heck of a lot.  Automobile, health, life, medical, accident, disability, workers compensation, cancer, critical illness, flood, hurricane, fire, deer camp, boating, scheduled items, event, professional liability and commercial.  That was a mouth full, but I suspect I probably left something out.  In any event, while all of these policies differed greatly as to what was being insured and for how much an event was insured, most of the policies had a couple of common provisions.

First, the insurance company will not pay under the policy if you lie to them or commit fraud in procuring the policy.  For example, if a doctor applies for a claims made policy that will pay for any claim made during the 2013 year, he can’t lie on the application where it asks him if he has notice of any potential claims from 2012.  On a similar note, if a medical insurance application asks about previous medical history and you omit the two heart attacks, cancer diagnosis and bilateral hip replacement you had in the previous five years, don’t be surprised when they deny your claim based on material misrepresentation.  You get the drift.

Second, the insurance company will not pay under the policy for damages expected or intended by the insured.  If you have a commercial liability policy for your business, it will probably provide coverage for the little old lady that is injured when a ceiling tile falls on her head at your store due to a leaking air conditioner.  That same policy probably isn’t going to provide coverage if your store manager shoots a fleeing shoplifter in the back with a shotgun.  In the first example, your employees didn’t intend to injure the little old lady, but in the second instance your employee dang sure intended to injure the shoplifter.

In reading the news this week, I ran across a story about Penn State claiming to be “adequately insured” for their Sandusky liability.  Anyone that doesn’t know about the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky controversy has either been out of country for a few months or has their head in the sand.  In either event, the Cliffs Notes version is that Sandusky worked for Penn State as an assistant football coach for many years.  While doing so, he apparently molested many, MANY young boys.

After Sandusky’s arrest, Penn State hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to prepare an independent report regarding the situation.  You can find the entire report here but the overview will save you the sordid details:

Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and
welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State. The most
powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children
who Sandusky victimized. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never
demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of
Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.

If all of these individuals had knowledge of Sandusky’s actions and disregarded the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims, I seriously doubt Penn State is adequately covered.  In fact, I doubt Penn State will be covered by insurance at all.  According to the news report, the insurer for Penn State (Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance) filed an action last week to deny or limit coverage.  That comes as no surprise given the allegations of intentional misconduct.

Even if the insurance is valid, I do not know how anyone could claim to be adequately covered for a situation where an employer had knowledge of an employee raping and sodomizing young boys, but failed to take any action whatsoever.  Unless there are damage caps in place for Penn State, the potential liability could easily be in the hundreds of millions of dollars depending on the number of victims that come forward.  Then again, liability of hundreds of millions of dollars isn’t going to change what happened to those boys and will be a mere drop in the bucket for a university with a reported $4.6 billion in operating revenue for the last fiscal year and an endowment topping $1.8 billion.

A $7.5M mistake

Most everyone has heard the news that New Orleans Coach Sean Payton has been suspended without pay for the 2012-2013 NFL football season.  The suspension was handed down by Commissioner Roger Goodell along with a $500,000 fine to the Saints and taking away the Saints second round draft pics for this year and next year.  Former Defensive coordinator Greg Williams is banned from the league until further notice.

Are these penalties enough or are they to lenient?  A couple of things come to mind.  Football is an inherently dangerous and physical sport.  However, the fact that it is dangerous and physical does not give a player or coach the right to intentionally attempt to injure another player.

In the practice of law, it is a common theme for plaintiffs to argue that corporations place profits over people. It appears from the information available that the Saints did exactly that.  The Saints valued winning at any cost….even if that cost was a seriously injured opponent. 

Saints fans will say that the punishment is excessive and “football is a tough sport.”  Others will say the league didn’t go far enough and should sanction the individual players involved.  How would everyone feel if this bounty program resulted in a player being killed from a broken neck?  Or what about a player being paralyzed from a cheap shot?

There are rules that prohibit bounty programs in the NFL and they are there for the safety of the players.  When you take the sportsmanship out of sports, you have nothing.  I hate it for Payton and the Saints, but as best I can tell they got what they deserved.  Payton has a year to ponder if breaking the rules and attempting to injure players was worth the $7.5 million in salary he will not be receiving.

—edit Someone sent this youtube video to me after my original post.

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