April 11, 2015

Trust, betrayal and insurance companies


“People work together when it suits them. They’re loyal when it suits them. Love each other when it suits them. And they kill each other when it suits them.” Game of Thrones.


It hurts when someone betrays your trust…

 We all know how it feels. A betrayal leaves a mark in your soul. How could that happen? Your world comes tumbling down.

 We spend weeks re-living the act of betrayal. Remembering every little detail. Wondering how the other person could do such a thing. Not knowing when (and even if) we can trust someone again.

And why should we? What’s the point of trust, anyway? Why leave yourself vulnerable to someone who can take advantage of you? Isn’t it better to live without trusting anyone? Isn’t it safer that way?

 Maybe it is. The same way it is safer to live without ever leaving your house. But it’s not very practical.

 Trust has to be earned, same as respect. But if you do not trust anybody, then they have no chance to earn your trust.

 Think of insurance companies. An insurance company has to trust you, otherwise it won’t be able to do business with you. But it doesn’t know who you are when you come to see an insurance company first. Yet hiring a private investigator is not an option either – too expensive. What to do?

 Well, an insurance company has to assume you are trustworthy. To a point.

 It won’t assume you are a hopeless driver right from the start. It will give you an “introductory no-claims bonus’. It’ll grow if you stay away from accidents, but will be taken away as soon as you have a bump.

 Why not take a page out of an insurance company’s book? When you meet someone new, trust them. But not with more than you can afford to lose.

 If you give no trust, you can’t have a relationship. And if your “introductory” trust is betrayed, it’s a small price to pay for knowing you can’t trust someone. Because the sooner someone betrays you, the less damage they can cause. And there is always more damage to cause…

 So, whenever my trust is betrayed, I am actually glad because it could happen later in the relationship.  A lot of the times I give out trust just to test whether the other person will abuse it. A bit like a gun with blanks in a movie. A very useful trick!

A quick bonus at the end of my post. There’s a book I read on generating trust. Helping the other person trust you. It’s one of the best books I ever read, and an interesting read.

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  1. Masha

    Who told you insurance companies worked on trust? As far as I know, they work on statistics.

  2. Tigran Arzumanov

    An insurance company places people in ‘buckets’. A 40 year old female is less likely to have an accident than a 18 year old boy racer. So the price of the insurance premium will different, and exposure to risk will be less as a result. We don’t hold statistics in our heads, but we can make judgments too. A teenager chatting with friends in a dark alley and asking to borrow your phone as you pass by is less likely to give it back than a 60 year old woman in a well lit street. So you can refuse the teenager (although that carries a bunch of other risks that may come as a consequence) or try to control the exposure by saying you can make a call for him and say whatever he needs to say. But the essence of the transaction is the same. Both you and an insurance company expose yourself to potential damage by assuming the other person is genuine (and not looking to report the car as stolen and sell it for parts). So any relationship needs to be based on trust and is a form of betting – and ideally you shouldn’t bet more than you can afford to lose, and not be heartbroken if your bet doesn’t win once in a while.

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