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article imageThe Real Tearjerker: Salaries of Insurance Company CEOs Slashed Because of Subprimes

By Paul Wallis     Apr 11, 2008 in Business
Break out the violins. Hurricane Katrina didn’t do as much damage to insurance industry CEO salaries as the subprimes. The poor leeches, er, I mean folks, have had their salaries cut by an average of 20 per cent. Some may not even get bonuses.
Op-Ed: Now- Before people start dousing themselves in petrol and setting themselves aflame to protest the injustice of it all, and the terrible burden of poverty being inflicted on these saintly people who are still making at least six figures a year, let’s look at this rationally.
If not paid huge amounts of money for removing any possibility of possession of cash from the human race, insurance CEOs would group together and build shabby barrios in Manhattan and other underprivileged parts of the world.
They might start wearing suggestive garments, and showing a bit of fetlock, while cruising the dumpsters and other exotic locations.
They might take up mammalian practices, and walk erect, on two legs.
After all, we’re talking about the industry which has done so much to make any form of profession or property ownership the equivalent of having six extra children.
The health industry would have to pretend to have a rationale for its costs, if not for the insurance industry’s heartrending need to inflate its profit figures during reporting season. Imagine the chaos.
Car and house insurance would be affordable, even for the living, if not for the selfless, nay, personality-less, efforts of the insurance industry.
Modern morality would be a farce of shameless eating and perhaps even bathing, if the insurance industry didn’t manage to keep people away from their money so effectively.
Poverty would be impossible, for some people, if not being charged huge amounts for insurance.
Bloomberg explains:
“Boards are holding CEOs accountable for $38 billion of subprime losses by slicing their salaries and bonuses by an average 20 percent, according to regulatory filings from companies in the S&P insurance index. That compares with an average 8.2 percent increase for the CEOs in 2005, when directors excused them for $41.1 billion of costs from Hurricane Katrina, the most expensive disaster in U.S. history.
``Fewer and fewer companies are willing to pay bonuses in a bad year,'' said Richard Furniss, an executive compensation consultant at Stamford, Connecticut-based Towers Perrin, who tracks insurance companies. ``There's too much liability, too many red faces, and too much bad publicity for the directors if they do that.''
Oh, sob, sob. Might have known it had nothing to do with performance, or checking out what those damn securities were doing. It’s because it looks bad. That explains everything.
It’s a bit like pedophilia in schools, where parents are paying to have their kids molested. Boards pay any old collection of executive freeloaders… unless it looks bad.
This is where the executive culture, or Trash In Suits, as some of us prefer to describe them, has got America.
A career in corporate masturbation, or playing with your securities, is usually more rewarding than this. You do nothing but manipulate your stock options, ride your network, and retire after 5 or 6 years with a nine figure pacifier.
The insurance industry, globally, has been a consistent cost driver for every other industry and social sector on Earth.
If, for some reason, we can’t give them a Nobel Prize for that, there must be something we can do for these martyrs.
Of course…
We could give them some nice mansions in New Orleans, preferably where people can take day trips from their trailers, and go and view them...
And feel inspired…
Now, if you’ll all stand, we’ll sing that wonderful old song, “Nearer My Premium To Thee”.
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