Insurance Academy

3 Reasons Thanksgiving Dinner is Better Than an Insurance Policy

By | November 24, 2020

It’s my normal M.O. in this blog to write a policy language, holiday edition this time of year, but this year I’d like to shift gears.

For those who hate change or get hives at the idea of change happening, I’ll pause here so that you can either go read something else or find the antihistamine.

All better? Good.

In this year when many of us are asking our family the question, “Who wants to get together for Thanksgiving?” I want to offer you a few thoughts in that vein.

I know that where you live may be different from where I live and I know that your family dynamic is going to be different than mine, so the first thing we have to get settled is the question. Who is getting together for Thanksgiving? It’s an important question to ask because none of us wants to get someone else sick nor do we want to miss out on our family Thanksgiving traditions.

You need to make sure that you and your family discuss it. Have an honest conversation about who wants to get together and who wants to opt out this year. If you can’t bring your whole family together the way you want to this year, make sure that you include in your plans ways to visit together. You may have a zoom call or group FaceTime. You may drive by and say hello from a distance as needed. Whatever the case, make sure that you and your family connect the best way possible for Thanksgiving. Whatever it looks like, make it happen.

Please, make it happen.

With that out of the way, I’d like to continue this post and give you three reasons your family Thanksgiving dinner is better than an insurance policy.

There’s always someone to laugh at.

It’s important to laugh. I once read in a book that laughter does good like medicine. This is one of those years when people haven’t laughed enough. Most of us are still fuming that we can’t watch any Peanuts specials this year because Apple TV has the rights to those shows and we aren’t sure if we can access them. Some of us aren’t sure what channel Apple TV is on.

If your family is anything like mine, and I can’t imagine it isn’t, there are people that you invite to the family Thanksgiving gathering just because they make you laugh. There are many reasons to invite the person that makes you laugh. OK, most of them revolve around the fact that they make you laugh. Alright, all of them revolve around the fact that they make you laugh.

  • Some people make you laugh because they can’t help but say and do naturally funny things. Your mother usually gets after you about laughing at them, but you have to admit, mom. That was funny.
  • Some people make you laugh because you know they will say that one thing that will set off your uncle and when he goes off, it’s a one-way trip to Funny Town. You know, you have that cousin that’s super liberal and that uncle that’s super conservative. Those conversations are bound to be too funny to miss. And your mother will give you that look for laughing, which is even funnier. It’s a funny two-for-one.
  • Some people make you laugh because they’re just naturally the life of the party. They live to make people laugh. You never get in trouble for this one, but you still get to laugh so it’s totally worth it to invite that one.

You can’t eat an insurance policy.

As much as I use the term digest to talk about taking apart an insurance policy doesn’t mean that I actually eat the thing. I would assume that there is no nutritional value in eating a paper insurance policy, not to mention the ink that’s on it might just be something that will kill you. It’s even less nutritious if you receive your insurance policy the way most people do, electronically (actually most personal lines customers probably don’t remember the last time they got even that, so there’s that.)

Meanwhile, at the Thanksgiving table, there are so many great things to eat. I don’t know what your family does, but mine knows how to eat. Here’s a sample of the things that we often see on our Thanksgiving table.

  • We usually have either turkey or ham. Don’t judge. It’s our table. I’m not judging your tofu replacement for turkey. I hope you enjoy whatever protein finds its way to your table.
  • There are a variety of side dishes from mashed (whipped) potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cornbread dressing. My all-time favorite though, came by accident when my wife heard me rave about a cranberry-orange compote we got one year. She now makes real cranberry compote to go along with the cornbread dressing. No. I don’t eat the jelly stuff in the can if I can avoid it.
  • That about covers that.

I’ve never come across the insurance policy that conjured up visions of a meal thoroughly enjoyed by friends and family quite like a Thanksgiving meal does. Again, I cannot put gravy on my insurance policy and eat it. No amount of cranberry compote makes an HO-3 delicious.

No one remembers an insurance policy 10 years later.

Thanksgiving creates visceral memories. They aren’t just memories you remember, but you feel them. They come back to your mind and the emotion of the day comes with them.

I can remember the Thanksgiving I spent in Bosnia and a few others like it. The Army did a wonderful job making a dining facility look festive and there was food everywhere. It was good to eat a meal and laugh with friends and compatriots. I still remember the feeling we all had. There were some people we wished we could see. We enjoyed the food and the company, but none of us would trade that meal for a homecooked meal surrounded by family.

There are others whose memories come back with a flood of emotion. Thanksgiving is a time when family reconnects. Sometimes, there are people that you wish were there. Sometimes there is an empty seat for someone that won’t be coming back. Sometimes there is a family ritual that takes you back 20, 30, or more years.

I’ve read a lot of insurance policies in my time and none of them have caused such a reaction. I don’t sit with a business auto policy and laugh about the time that I was reading it at my desk two jobs ago. I don’t pull out the old versions of policies and think back to the good old days when they were so much more straight forward. I read them. I study them. I try and remember how they work. They don’t change my life.

Insurance policies are great things in their context, but not nearly as great as sitting around the table with your friends and family, putting aside all of the junk of the year, setting aside your differences, and raising a fork, spoon, or glass and wishing one another the best for the year to come.

May you and yours have a wonderful, blessed, and memorable Thanksgiving.

About Patrick Wraight

Patrick Wraight, CIC, CRM, AU, is director of Insurance Journal's Academy of Insurance. He can be reached at pwraight@ijacademy.com.

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