5 things your insurer can learn from Game of Thrones
January 28, 2017
Game of Thrones fans unite! The release of Season 7 of your favourite show is imminent, but if you’re anything like us, July 17 still feels like it’s further away than Castle Black is from King’s Landing!
So, what to do in the meantime? Well, I always like to reflect on how Game of Thrones can be applied to the real world and whether any of the themes and motifs present are actually relevant, or whether, dare I say it, their only value is a means for an escape from all reality. I think we can all agree that entertaining the second option is idiotic… Hell, it’s practically a documentary with, um…. dragons!
So how can we apply our learnings from GOT to the real world? Truth is, there are literally thousands of lessons to be learned, but for the purpose of this article, we have chosen to focus on the lessons that insurance companies, like ourselves, can learn from the twists and turns that take place in the fantasy/documentary/drama/comedy/action/porno/horror show that is Game of Thrones.
Here are five of the stand-out lessons that insurers and “insurees” (like you) can learn from this modern-day masterpiece by George RR Martin:
- The good guy doesn’t always win
Our viewing experience was going along swimmingly until episode 9 in the first season rocked our collective worlds… That was the moment we first learned that the world was not a fair and just place. Ned Stark, the voice of reason and a symbol of honour and righteousness, was “untimely ripped” from our screens and our hearts by a candidate for history’s most deplorable character; Joffrey… For months thereafter, people in the real world would refer to their treacherous bosses as “Joffreys”. Random men on the street could be heard mumbling profanities under their breath at the thought of what the young inbred king had done. Suffice to say, it caused a stir…
Then, just 2 short seasons later, fans that were hoping that Ned’s son Rob would avenge his father’s death, were, once again, left utterly devastated. In an episode tamely named “The rains of Castamere,” we witnessed many, many deaths, three of which were Starks…
So where am I going with this? Well, it’s simple. There are unexpected twists in life that we are just never ready for. That’s why you have insurance. Whether it’s Car, Home or Life cover; Game of Thrones teaches us it’s probably worth having. Sometimes though, your insurer can be more Lannister than Stark and reject your legitimate claim! In fact, this is much more common than you might think.
The 2016 OSTI Annual Report gives us some interesting, but perhaps disturbing insight into the uglier side of short-term insurance. According to the report, up to 27% of rejected claims (by some reputable insurers) are still being overturned in favour of the insured. If you find yourself on the arse end of a claim rejection, the best bet is to contact your provider’s internal ombudsman, as they will generally be able to resolve the issue quickly to avoid any further action.
- A Lannister always pays his debts, but not everybody does…
As despicable and treacherous as the Lannister family is, they have one rare and admirable quality (apart from being eloquent bastards), and that is that they pay their debts. Yes, the show makes it abundantly clear that the “paying of debt” is also a cleverly phrased allusion to their vengeful nature, but for the sake of this “real-world” lesson, let’s focus on actual, financial debts. Insurance companies have a contractual obligation to pay claims when payment is due. If breaking that promise to a customer falls outside the moral code of a Lannister, imagine how terrible it really is.
Unfortunately, this responsibility extends to the customer too. Insurance is essentially the pooling and sharing of risk to make sure that there are funds available when you need them. This concept only really works when everyone plays the game. One of the major legitimate reasons for claims being rejected is unpaid premium. These days, this simply doesn’t fly. That said, if convenience or affordability is the problem, there are many options for getting covered and staying covered wholly online without any hassles, and at a price that you will most likely be able to afford.
Also, there’s this little pet insurance related gem to break the learning for a second:
- Prepare for the Winter, it’s coming
If the symbolism and irony of the Stark Family Motto are lost on you, let us enlighten you once again…
Yes, at any given time outside of actual winter, it is in fact, coming. That friends, is the very nature of the seasons and the rotation of the earth. But, winter’s approach in GOT, is rather a symbolic depiction of the importance of making provision for leaner and more challenging times. Again, in the real world, insurance is what we use to hedge against the shock of a sudden event or loss. If only Ned Stark had taken out Life cover and made it through any applicable waiting periods before his beheading, things might’ve been very different for the Starks…
The other, more literal lesson to learn from this motto is that there are many people among us who are not prepared for the cold that comes with winter. That’s why some insurers put their money where their mouths are and fork out some cold, hard cash to warm the bodies of the less fortunate. A great example of this is the annual dotsure.co.za Polar Bear Plunge in the Garden Route, whereby they partner with charities and sponsors to collect blankets for people and animals who need warmth. Faith in humanity restored.
- Don’t only market to White Walkers
As a prominent South African Short-Term insurer recently found OUT, your marketing activities and product design need to cater to a diverse client base and target market rather than favouring a specific group. In Game of Thrones, the screen time was quite evenly distributed between White Walkers, Northerners, Dothrakis, Crows, Unsullied, Wildlings and many other groups from diverse backgrounds. Hmmm, thought provoking…
- Only Khaleesi is invulnerable to fire
The moment in the first season finale when the Khaleesi stepped out from the flames unscathed and unclothed had every male viewer on earth sporting an uncomfortable half-chub. Unfortunately, fire is dangerous to the rest of us and, as Ford owners, and homeowners in the Garden Route have sadly learned, they can happen suddenly and cause immense devastation. Make sure that your insurer covers you against this peril and that your premiums are up-to-date.
There are obviously more lessons to be taught and avid fans will, no doubt, have been more perceptive than us at finding actual, relevant meaning in the show. All we know is that we can’t wait for July 17th. For now, perhaps we can leave you with this wise quote by Bran Stark from Season 3:
“Hush, Hodor. No more Hodor-ing!” — Bran Stark
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