No. 584



The American patriot and statesman, Samuel Adams (1722-1803), once said, "He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, which had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections."
To be sure, this quote or statement was made a long time ago, but guess what? Man's basic nature has not changed. Wherever opportunity presents itself for selfish gain, there will be those who are more than willing to take advantage of it.
My nature is never to bash anyone unjustly or otherwise, but as you know we have a moral and ethical crisis in America today that should be discussed in both private and public forums. In most cases, we can't deal with a problem until and unless we get it out in the open or, as we say, on top of the table.
A few months ago I got a press release from the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) encouraging me to make my readers aware of a survey conducted by the insurance industry. The organization just referenced is a watchdog group of the insurance industry.
According to this group, Corporate America is still not doing enough to clean up its ethical mess and a recent poll indicates that 60 percent of Americans believe corporations have done nothing to fix the problem. With on-going corporate scandals continuing to arise from Enron to WorldCom to Martha Stewart and most recently to Freddie Mac, the insurance industry believes it's high time someone did something about it.
While former Enron President Ken Lay is no longer with us, the bitter taste still lingers in the mouths of thousands of Enron employees who lost most or all of their life savings. Two years after the scandal broke, and a year after WorldCom declared bankruptcy, 92 percent of Americans say corporations must do more to improve their ethical behavior, with 56 percent saying corporations have done nothing to clean up the mess, based on the results of a nationwide Harris Interactive survey.
I am pretty perceptive, and here is the reason I believe this press release was sent to me. Today while there is widespread use of the Internet for researching and purchasing other goods and services, 79 percent of Americans say they do not go online to research life insurance and 88 percent do not purchase life insurance over the Internet. Wonder why? The answer is simple. In most cases, life insurance is not something people voluntarily buy; it's something that must be sold. As a life insurance salesman told me one time, "You have to strike while the iron is hot," and it's pretty hard to heat an iron over an impersonal computer screen.
While I could be wrong, the implication by the insurance industry is that the ethical meltdown by Corporate America is creating distrust on the part of consumers who will not purchase something as personal as life insurance over the Internet. While some people may purchase life insurance over the Internet, it's still a face-to-face business where a salesperson must sit down with a prospect, explain the cost and benefits of the policy and work for a company that has a long-standing record of trust and stability.
As I think about what I have been sharing, I realize that many of my readers are elderly people who are not prospects to purchase life insurance, but I am here to tell you that when more and more of our citizens have no morals and no ethics, it affects every last one of us. When we don't teach our children and grandchildren morals and ethics, by precept and personal example, and they wind up in jail or prison, or can't get or keep a job, every person in our country, in one way or another, pays the price.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")