I’ve always used the motto of the Three Musketeers, “all for one and one for all” as the informal motto of our family; because there are three of us and it was another way of saying, “we’ve got each other’s back in case anything ever happens to us.” So it’s fitting that while I was brainstorming ideas I decided to use this phrase in order to design a process that prevents anyone from slipping through the cracks and facing financial calamity alone. I’ve always thought that if I think hard and long enough (thinking is free after all) that an idea of mine will eventually, “stick” to the wall like a perfectly cooked spaghetti noodle, long enough to attract someone’s attention so eventually we could all change the world together – and take care of everyone in the process. So here goes:
I stumbled across the idea of using a, “reverse lottery concept” as a type of group insurance policy to protect anyone from financial calamity in today’s society – without relying on the government. Typically, lotteries are successful because millions of people put in a single dollar so a single winner can, “win it big” – for the saying goes, “you can’t win if you don’t play.” What if we simply reversed the concept and instead of a chance to win the jackpot, we were able to keep families from losing everything due to a financial calamity in their household? We all know that the single loss of a paycheck, an accident or a storm can cause complete financial disaster for our neighbors – whether in Maine, Florida, Iowa or Oregon. In some cases traditional insurance can cover the shortfall and repair the damage, but in other cases there are few outside avenues of support. Typically, families and relatives are sometimes limited in the support they can or will offer; bank loans are not always approved; unemployment benefits run out after a certain period of time; insurance only covers so much; charities can offer only temporary aid; and disability benefits can be hard to obtain even with legitimate reasons behind them. So how can this plan help anyone in a different or better way?
My concept is a modern adaptation of the early Christian concept of, “communal living” where everyone worked to be able to eat and everything was shared in common among the 1st Century Christians. I don’t suggest that we all go back to living a 1st Century Christian lifestyle, but instead create a 21st Century modern adaptation where everyone pitches in to help their neighbor – even if your neighbor is a thousand miles away in another state. The concept doesn’t replace any traditional insurance mechanisms that are in use today, but instead provides a layered or tiered plan of coverage which acts as a last chance safety net – and doesn’t rely on government support. My plan would require a membership organization where risk is spread across many policy holders; the more members the less risk is involved for any single person or family. The goal of this organization would be to protect its members from financial calamity, so protection would be layered in-depth to cover as much risk as possible for everyone. Members would pay monthly policy dues on a graduated scale so that members of all financial backgrounds would be able to obtain coverage; because to, “opt in” to this plan means that you accept the premise that assisting others is a higher calling than just covering yourself and your own family.
The next step would be to ensure that all members owned traditional insurance policies for medical, dental, life, accident, flood, home, auto and umbrella coverage. The first line of defense for any member would be their own personal insurance policies to deal with the immediate issue at hand in the best manner possible for a complete resolution of the problem. This first layer of defense provides a traditional insurance defense that covers most situations that a member might find themselves in; but we all know that there are circumstances where traditional insurance policies fail to protect families from financial calamity – holes in the safety net that entire families can find themselves falling through. Members of this organization would pledge to support their fellow members through their combined membership dues, assisting any member that finds them self in a financial situation that goes beyond the traditional insurance policy.
If a household loses an income – or two – and unemployment insurance runs out; if an accident, natural disaster or disability occurs that is not severe enough to trigger an insurance or disability payment; if a medical issue arises that requires the financial resources that few people could ever expect to pay in a single lifetime – then the group would be able to step in and aid that family in their time of need so that they don’t succumb to their financial difficulties. Through monthly membership dues and policy premiums members would commit themselves to, “back stopping” each other so no member family would need to suffer financial calamity alone. In this way all plan members, “would have each other’s back” and create a membership community where the saying, “all for one and one for all” was more than just a slogan or an advertisement; but a way of life and a commitment from one person and one family to another – leaving, “no one behind.”
Now take the membership concept and expand it to cover our entire nation coast-to-coast, covering every single person in the country; with the attitude of, “all together, win together” – with members accepting a graduated payment scale so a single mother in Chicago with four children can opt-in for coverage at an amount that she can actually afford. This way our nation, and potentially the entire world, would have the opportunity to see the end to the types of misery and suffering that financial calamity can cause within a single family or community – and we can change the world for the better because we actually live the saying, “all for one and one for all.”