Yesterday's New York Times featured an article by Ron Lieber ("Good Luck Getting Private Insurance for Unemployment") about an entrepreneur who wasn't lucky enough to run his idea by S.L. before starting his own private unemployment insurance business. The article mentions that this entrepreneur, an insurance industry veteran named John Hartline, started his business in the Spring of 2008, only to have his reinsurers cut him off a year later:
Mr. Hartline said his reinsurance provider, Munich American Reassurance, forced him to stop writing new policies in April of this year.
Why? It turns out that the biggest problem with private unemployment insurance is something that industry insiders refer to as adverse selection. That is a fancy way of saying that the people who take out this sort of policy are the ones most likely to need it.
S.L. could have told him that, and saved him a lot of money and time. Sometimes the best thing a trusted mentor can do is tell us when we have a bad idea.
Update:: Cheryl was nice enough to mention a previous post, "Hedging against Job Loss", in the comment thread of the NY Times article mentioned above.
Another Update: S.L. adds this comment via e-mail:
Munich Re-Insurance Co. is one of the oldest, largest Re-insurance operations in the world.
Amazed that Munich had to wait a year before they took action. Probably after experiencing large losses.