Thursday, December 17, 2009

Creativity Disability Insurance

As a viable part of the global economy, should folks with creativity related jobs be provided an insurance system against creativity disability?

By: Ringo Bones

Picture this scenario: a very lucrative crime fiction writer whose works so far – lets say 20 of them – managed to crack the top 5 of the New York Times bestseller list, eleven of them even reached the number one spot. Not only that, his or her books managed to become a required reading of every major law enforcement agency around the world – akin to Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October becoming a required reading for US Navy’s cadets-in-training. Thus making the writer a veritable cash cow. Then imagine our writer out of whim joining some “maverick” Evangelical cult that made him or her no longer able to write those gristly but fictional ways of committing murder. Thus resulting in the loss of his or her multi-million dollar a year livelihood. If this happens, what does his or her financial estate do? Sue the cult or collect some form of insurance?

Even though there might have been a legal precedent with regards to this scenario, as of late, I’ve been too lazy to check out the current US Supreme Court docket about legal and / or financial liabilities when it comes to persons affected by creativity disability. Especially if creativity is the main source of livelihood of that person in question. But the question now is, is some kind of creativity disability insurance economically viable enough to be underwritten by today’s insurance providers?

After checking on existing insurance policies on offer, I think for it to be economically viable, creativity disability insurance could be modeled after occupational disability insurance. Unfortunately, occupational disability insurance – also called permanent health insurance – is quite a complicated subject that often grabs the news headlines upon claims refusals. Your typical occupational disability insurance policy provides the policyholder with a source of income in the form of disability benefits when the policyholder is no longer able to perform substantially all of the material acts of his or her occupation, as designated in the policy. Should disability benefits also be applicable for those working in the creative fields like novelists and songwriters?

But it can easily get complicated from the point of view of the disabled – even the creatively disabled – claimant. Imagine the claimant having a firm belief of the Protestant Work Ethic and has a moral perception that receiving easy money is morally reprehensible. In other words, the claimant wants to retain the ability to engage in a sure form of employment while collecting disability insurance benefits. Might this prove in the end to be economically essential, in which the insurance company could make a creativity disability insurance with such proviso at a much lower premium – thus making it widely available?

Returning to the scenario I’ve mentioned, could this be resolved or eased by the existence of some form of creativity disability insurance; or is the existing civil court systems around the world could easily handle this as a “mere” torts and damages compensation settlement case? Given the rarity of such cases, its safe to say that I don’t know – yet. Maybe, the only really viable solution to this dilemma is for anyone who works in the creativity fields to become more empowered with the assistance of their friendly neighborhood broker in selecting the right insurance products. Thus, enabling them to make appropriate decisions with respect to benefit design, understand the policy’s wording and how it will impact them in the event of a claim arises.

1 comment:

May Anne said...

Isn't Tom Clancy used to be an insurance salesman? Anyway, insuring or even providing an equitable compensation for something as intangible as one's creativity could be a contentious issue - let alone formulating a creativity insurance policy that is equitable for both the policyholder and the insurance company.
To cite another example; imagine Vladimir Nabokov undergoing psychiatric counseling for his alleged paedophilia. Could this have deprived him of the ability to write Lolita? After all Lolita allowed me to have an eating-disorder-free teen-hood. Or maybe he is just an unabashed Nietzschean that no matter what society throws at him he just gets stronger.