Both terms ‘mormon’ and ‘insurance’ are misnomers used together to describe a type of strategy used by affinity groups to reduce the need for commercial insurance.

Religious groups in particular have tagged this as Mormon Insurance because the early Latter Day Saint movement self-insured its congregations. 

In those early  times, commercial insurance and banking facilities were denied to Mormons.

So-called “saftey societies” evolved and some were called quasi- or anti-banks.  They issued deposit books and tried to circulate their own banknotes.  The United States government and state governments siezed these and jailed religious leaders who operated these quasi-banks.  Eventually, Joseph Smith was jailed and presecuted, eventually re-arrested and martyred by a mob.

Those safety societies remaining were primarily self-insurance mechanisms.  Self-insurance does not rely upon actuarial science,  a discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in the insurance industry.  Membership in a safety society is usually based upon the affinity of the group which aggregates some resources as a hedge in times of need.  When an event or experience occurs members use a form of tithe to provide money.

Unlike a mutual model, the tithe is always a fixed amount and not a general average. Furthermore, the resources that are provisioned beforehand are used for some faith-based purpose normally unrelated to the self-insured events and experiences.

In economics, the inception and operation of these models are understood in terms of the Nash Equilibrium and  the problem of the pareto optimal.  Nash Equilibrium models generally have a poor pareto optimal because of the non-cooperative elements or rules which an individual may change to gain advantage over the other participants.  Economists would say that these models are not efficient.

Nash proposed that enforcement paradigms and participatory rules modeled to address these weaknesses move the pareto optimal towards the positive part of a scale.

Thusly, by the restriction to membership to an affinity or belief system an institution such as a religion can rely upon them as principles, and provide a system of rules whereby a choice not to observe them is merely less beneficial to the group as opposed to a countervailing negative.

Negative influences will be to the detriment of the non-cooperating participant but not the whole group.

An example is the choice to participate. It is always a benefit whereas the choice of nonparticipation requires a more expensive solution to the same problem.  In the operation of the model, the choice not to tithe is available, but results in a lower or zero availability of a solution to non-cooperative participants at some future time. 

Many negative choices may result in the withdrawal of opportunity to continue participation, or cause a restart of the membership at a more expensive level.

On the positive side, loss of membership by one participant will open an opportunity for a new participant.  Also, delay in exercising an opportunity will require a more expensive cost of entry into the model.

Pareto optimal is realized by the group and participants when membership increases within certain limits.  Also,  participants of record the the time of an event or experience bear the expense of the tithe.  The limitations imposed on benefits relate to the numbers of members during cycles.  And, because the tithe is not relative but a fixed amount, increases in cycles require the size of membership to reach established levels.

To see this in operation, an affinity group of 50,000 members may require the aggregation of a $10 assessment to meet a cycle of $500,000.  It makes no difference if the group is larger or smaller than that number of members.  As the rolls expand to beyond 50,000 members the excess is distributed among the recipients of aggregates which were less than $500,000.  At some time when membership increases accordingly and all past cycles have reached $500,000 in aggregate, a new cycle can be established for all future recipients, and this can become $750,000 or $1 million in this example.

Critics assert that actuarial science and a commercial insurance scheme relying upon investors can achieve the same objectives more quickly.  Proponents of Mormon Insurance point to the stability of costs over time and the ability to counter  inflation, loss of purchasing power and currency devaluation, aspects impossible to address economically and in advance using commercial insurance exclusively.

The middle ground in this debate is that commercial insurance in small economic units is prudent while the estate preservation concerns requiring large and expensive economic units can be eliminated altogether. The absence of tax considerations is also important since commercial insurance benfits often become the subject of tax matters.

In difficult economic times, the commercial insurance companies often do not pay against contracts or become technically insolvent.  In good economic times commercial insurance solutions often prove far too expensive and require expensive and constant upgrading over time. 

Self-insurance by affinity groups often never increases participation costs and looks upon a solid record of distributions over time to steadily increase their rolls. Trusting ones friends and brethren seems to be preferred to trusting strangers.


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Leading to Choices is a prototype handbook with a flexible curriculum that may be adapted and customized to suit the diverse cultural, political, and socio-economic needs of women and men around the world. Designed for use in interactive workshops, the handbook includes “Guidelines for Facilitating” that enable the user to create a stimulating environment that promotes mutual respect, dialogue, and collaboration. Leading to Choices has been used in leadership training workshops in Afghanistan, Cameroon, India, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Tanzania, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe. Participants have included women, young girls, and men; Muslims and Christians; and human rights activists, university students, women NGO representatives, refugees, and domestic workers, among others. (140 pages)

 

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Insurers offer buyers a new resource for uncovering vehicles’ hidden histories of theft or damage. It’s a great start, but nothing replaces a good inspection.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau has unveiled an online database into which consumers can plug — free — a vehicle identification number to learn whether a car had been stolen or badly damaged in a wreck, flood or fire.

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Digitizing Books    Part 2

 

 In our recent blog [  http://tinyurl.com/6s4rav  ] we told you about reCAPTCHA and that we wanted to integrate it into our new website during the MWOS 100% Internet Initiative.   Please read that blog and here is the reference article about this wonderful technology:    http://recaptcha.net/learnmore.html

Below is a sample and you can have some fun with it as it drives you into our new Mormon Blogs Portal.  The portal is available to non-Mormons as well while we continue our efforts.  Enjoy!

                                                           

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If you have a WordPress blog, this page is not the same, so register first.  reCAPTCHA really frees up our server resources and automatically changes everything we need changed. 

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