P/C Executives Encouraged to Be Optimistic Amid America’s Challenges

October 25, 2010

An executive of a national insurance company trade group told insurance CEOs and senior executives that America faces a struggle between two competing visions for the future – a choice between a free market system and an expanded federal government.

David A. Sampson, president and CEO of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), highlighted the theme of the 2010 Annual Meeting theme, “Politics and Private Markets: The Uncertain Path to Prosperity” today in Colorado Springs.

The association leader encouraged about 1,000 insurance executives at the conference to be “cautiously optimistic as America is a hopeful nation.”

Sampson said that despite the widespread private sector anxiety over America’s future, the weak economic recovery, and the policy uncertainties out of Washington, America has always been exceptional.

“It’s easy to forget the good times during times of adversity, but we need to remember that our unique experiment with democracy has produced greater prosperity for more people than any other system in the history of civilization. Although the term has become somewhat politically incorrect, historically this was known as: ‘American Exceptionalism,'” said Sampson.

“Polls consistently show that when given the choice between a free market economy, even with its severe ups and downs, versus the alternative, well over 60 percent of Americans want the unique American experiment of upward mobility and prosperity.”

Sampson said that “some leaders are using this current economic crisis as an argument against the free market system,” and said that business leaders must consider “how a seemingly straightforward business decision is viewed in the highly charged political, economic and social environment in which we live.”

He argued that only the private sector can create prosperity and the government’s role should be limited.

“Government should create the conditions for civil society to flourish and the private sector to innovate. Government should provide a safety net for when people try and fail. Government should uphold the rule of law and the sanctity of contracts so that businesses and consumers feel confident in the future. But government cannot create prosperity. It can only redistribute wealth.”

Sampson encouraged the property/casualty industry to remain a bastion of stability.

“We help businesses and individuals create wealth and prosperity. Without a healthy property casualty industry, the private sector would not be able to take risk. Our industry must continue to deliver on our commitment to policyholders, including those who want to start new businesses, buy new houses or cars, or hire new workers. By doing, we will help return the economy to its former strength,” he said.

PCI has more than 1,000 member companies, writing $180 billion in annual premium, or 37.4 percent of the nation’s property/casualty insurance.

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