Insurance and Religious Beliefs15/07/2018
Insurance is one concept that is not well understood by many people, especially those in under-developed and developing countries of the world. Whilst some have heard the term mentioned in academic, business, religious and professional settings, and have a fair understanding of it, others are completely unaware of what insurance is, how it works, and the benefits people stand to derive by buying relevant insurance policies. It is the opinion of this writer that insurance is only fully understood by the practitioners, hence the need to write this article to educate the readers.
Apart from the general ignorance of insurance as highlighted above, a lot of religious people are apathetic towards insurance. Some zealots of a particular religion believe that whatever happen to them – whether good or bad – is the will of God; and so to them, there is no need to seek any form of protection. The main target of this write-up, however, are the Christians, who for whatever reasons, do not consider it important to seek financial protection which only insurance can offer. To these “religious Christians”, whenever they are being “marketed” for any form of insurance product, they would often argue that God is their insurance, and that (evil things) are not their portion. They further argue that there is nowhere insurance is mentioned in the Bible.
Some of these Christians believe that only people who lack faith in God would seek protection by insurance. But insurance does not prevent accidents, it does not prevent theft, it does not prevent fire outbreaks, it does not prevent death, and it does not prevent any other “evil things” from occurring. Insurance is only a means of compensating self, one’s family, one’s business, or other people in the event of a loss, so they can remain financially stable.
What the Bible Teaches About Troubles and Disasters
God never promised Christians (or non-Christians) a hazard-free live, devoid of disasters, troubles or difficulties. In the Bible book of Ecclesiastes 9:11, we are told that “…time and chance happen to them all.” So, whether one is a believer or not, there is always a chance for life to happen. Christians are even enjoined to expect and endure various difficulties as encapsulated in John 16:33; which states “… In this world you will have trouble ….” The book of Acts 14:22 says “… We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God ….” But in the midst of any trouble or difficulty that we may find ourselves, we can find solace in God’s promise that He will not allow us to suffer beyond what we are able to bear (I Cor. 10:13).
Even though the word “insurance” is not specifically mentioned anywhere in the Bible, we can draw from relevant principles in the scriptures that talk about the importance of protecting our assets, the future of our family and loved ones, as well as the necessity to compensate those who suffer a loss as a result of our actions. All of these are what insurance does as will be seen in the paragraphs that follow.
Protecting the Future of our Family and Loved Ones
Having established the fact that Christians are not immune to disasters, troubles or difficulties as proven earlier, taking precautionary measures to protect oneself from the adverse effects of disasters is a principle that is taught by the Bible, God’s own inspired word. The book of Proverbs 27:12 teaches us that “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Buying and maintaining appropriate insurance policies is a means of protecting the future, a principle that is taught in the Bible. (See Proverbs 6: 6 – 8).
Through life assurance, a breadwinner can make provisions for his family’s future well-being, should he die or become permanently disabled. This principle of providing for one’s family is also taught in the Bible book of II Corinthians 12:14, and it says “Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children”. The same principle is also enunciated in the popular Bible verse of I Timothy 5:8 which states that “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”. Proverbs 13:22 says that “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
When it comes to the issue of providing for our family and our loved ones, it is not just about providing everything they need and want NOW, while the breadwinner is alive. Making provisions for their future well-being in the event of the demise of the breadwinner, is even more important. Buying and maintaining relevant life assurance policies is one of the best ways of protecting the future of our family and loved ones. With a life assurance policy, family members that have been left after the death of the breadwinner, can access the monetary benefits payable under the policy to keep life going.
Protecting the Interest of Others
There are also liability insurance policies that protect the interest of other people in line with God’s law which clearly demonstrates that we are responsible for compensating those who suffer a loss or are otherwise adversely affected by our actions. The book of Exodus chapters 21 and 22 are full of general guidelines for many situations in which compensations are required. For emphasis and example, Exodus 21:18-19 state “If people quarrel and one person hits another with a stone or with their fist and the victim does not die but is confined to bed, the one who struck the blow will not be held liable if the other can get up and walk around outside with a staff; however, the guilty party must pay the injured person for any loss of time and see that the victim is completely healed. Exodus 22:7-8 say “If a man delivers to his neighbour money or articles to keep, and it is stolen out of the man’s house, if the thief is found, he shall pay double. If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought to the judges to see whether he has put his hand into his neighbour’s goods”. Maintaining appropriate liability insurance covers help to reduce the financial impact on all parties concerned.
Compliance with Government’s Laws and Regulations
Apart from God’s own laws as cited above, there are also government’s laws in place in different countries of the world that make some insurances compulsory in order to protect the interest of persons that might be adversely affected by the actions of others. Such compulsory insurances include the motor third party insurance cover which is the minimum motor insurance required of vehicle owners before such vehicles can be driven on public roads.
Also in many countries of the world, individuals and businesses are compulsorily required to have relevant insurance policies in place to protect the interests of their employees, customers, and third parties. As long as such laws and regulations do not conflict with the keeping of God’s laws, Christians are to adhere to them. Real Christians obey God, while not disobeying government laws and regulations.
The Benefits of Insurance
Perhaps at this juncture, you may be asking why you need to have an insurance. Below, we have listed some of the benefits of insurance as they apply to individuals and organizations.
- The most important benefit of insurance is the payment of insured losses. An insurance policy is a contract used to indemnify individuals and organizations for covered losses.
- The second benefit of insurance is the management of cash-flow uncertainty. Insurance provides payment for covered losses when they occur. Therefore, the uncertainty of paying for losses out-of-pocket is reduced significantly.
- Insurance helps individuals and organizations to comply with legal requirements. Insurance meets statutory and contractual requirements as well as provides evidence of financial resources.
- Insurance promotes risk control activity. Insurance policies provide incentives to implement a loss control programme because of policy requirements and premium savings incentives.
- Another very important benefit of insurance is the efficient use of an insured’s resources. Insurance makes it unnecessary to set aside a large amount of money to pay for the financial consequences of the risk exposures that can be insured. This allows money to be used more efficiently.
- Insurance facilitates loans to individuals and organizations by guaranteeing that the lender will be paid if the collateral for the loan is destroyed or damaged by an insured event. This reduces the lender’s uncertainty of default by the party borrowing funds.
If you have read this article up to this point, we believe that we have been able to convince you that you need to have some form of insurance to protect yourself, your family and/or your business against the vicissitudes of life, regardless of your religious belief.
Remember, life happens. Be insured.