Democracy is Like House Insurance

Every year when it comes time to pay my house insurance, I take my policy in to the agent and we go through it to make sure I’m not wasting my money. It’s a smart move, going to your service provider and saying, “What’s my best deal?”

But every once in a while I do a more careful check, and say, “Forget the cost. Am I really insured for anything that could happen? Has something in the world changed so I need to improve my coverage?”  And that is not a time for shortsighted penny pinching. It’s a time to look ahead a few years and try to predict what my needs will be.

Yes, it might cost me. You can’t get better insurance without paying for it.

How do you Pay for Democracy?

In terms of democracy, we pay by giving up a little bit of our freedom in order to make sure everyone else has the same rights and protections we do. It takes a certain amount of empathy. We see someone in trouble, and we say, “What if that was me?”

We have been buying from the FPTP Insurance Company for years. They’re an OK outfit, guaranteeing a 40% return. But we’re getting suspicious that they’re making a lot of money out of our premiums, and that 40% payout isn’t looking so good anymore.

We look around and see a couple of our neighbours’ houses on fire, and we say, “Maybe we’d better up our insurance.”

And the Prop Rep people come to us and say, “We can give you a 50% return.”

We have a right to say, “What is it going to cost us?”

And it might cost some of us. It’s a matter of risk assessment. Some of us may have to give up a bit of the freedoms we have in order that everyone can have a better deal. But those of us that give up some will get the same freedoms, should we ever need them.

The people that have been underinsured for years are going to benefit the most. Some people have been paying too much for their insurance and haven’t been getting any coverage at all. If you say, “What if that was me?” you might want to extend coverage to them, too.

So reassess your exposure. This is a chance to up your insurance coverage.

What Will it Cost?

It turns out most of us can up our coverage at little cost to ourselves because most of the added cost – in many cases all of the added cost – is going to come from two places: from a better organization of the fire protection system, and from the immense profits your present providers have been pocketing. The present providers are understandably upset, because in order to stay competitive they are going to have to lower their rates and take a smaller profit. My heart bleeds.

If you are one of those stingy people who are always saying, “What’s in it for me?” then you probably won’t like the change. But if you have the ability to look at your house, then watch the evening news and say, “What if it was my house that burned down?” then you go out and buy better fire insurance.

Election Time

When an election comes around, there’s nothing wrong with asking the various parties, “What’s in it for me?”

This is Not an Election Campaign

Some people have trouble saying, “What if it was me?” in the political sense. And they need to. Look to US and Ontario. There are some major house fires going on. The next one could be us. If you don’t believe that, you’re sadly naïve. Insurance is purchased by people who understand that bad things happen to good people, and especially to foolish people who don’t prepare for emergencies.

People in the Interior are the saddest case of all. They know they have poor coverage, because they’re farther away from the fire station. But their FPTP insurers are telling them “Those guys are going to raise your premiums to give better protection to all sorts of other people,” and for some reason they’re believing it. They don’t realize that they will be beneficiaries of the improved system.

The Bottom Line

Democracy is like insurance in another way. The larger pool of customers you belong to, the more secure you are because it spreads the risk more. Pro Rep is a way to increase the pool by 10%. Sounds to me like a good buy.


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