August 29, 2010
I am an investor. I am also a licensed insurance agent. I have been licensed 47 years for Property/Casualty and 36 years for Life/Health insurance in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
I have watched the history of the part the insurance industry has played in the current debacle creating confusion in the minds of the buying public. I watched companies selling security products adding insurance agencies in the 1970ís. I have watched the banks and S&Lís buying insurance agencies in Virginia Ė first it was legal, then it wasnít, then it was.
Until we separate the insurance industry from the banking and security industries, the confusion will continue. There are conflicts of interest that politicians donít wish to acknowledge.
I have no fear of anyone from either industry soliciting my clients because I provide a relationship and service the agencies owned by banks donít want to provide Ė they donít want to hire or pay for quality agents. I do not think it is in the public interest for banks to control businesses of any size through their monetary power, which I have seen first hand from two of my former clients. If the client is in that much thrall, our relationship is not material and I just replace them with someone who understands why they donít want all their eggs in the banking basket.
The situation with what happened to AIG would not have happened if the holding company was not allowed to own insurance companies. The ďToo big to failĒ would not have happened. And then Goldman Sachs qualified as a banking institution to qualify for TARP funds. Should never have happened.
It is not too late to untie this Gordian knot. It would take the right people, but they exist.
Margaret B.(Betsy) Collins, CPCU, ARM, CBIA
Collins Insurance Services, Inc.