Our world is definitely different than it used to be. Flashback to fifty or even one hundred simple years ago, it was a very different place. We didn’t have complicated things like workers compensation insurance for home health care or car insurance. We barely had cars at all or the idea of pooling money for the collective good of the general society. These ideas, however much we take them for granted today, had to be fought for and developed over decades of other ideas that had built up for other, previous centuries. It wasn’t easy, either. Though ideas aren’t physical they tend to have inertia of their own and can stick around well past their expiration date if no one bothers to question them. They can sit and sit and sit, crowding the intellectual space for other ideas that might make life better for everyone. Like the aforementioned workers compensation insurance for home health care, these new ideas can sound scary and complicated but really they are simple and work well for everyone involved. Let’s take two big steps back for a second and lay out a more structured narrative to start thinking about the development of these ideas.
- Home care workers and the concept of insurance
Cari is a woman who lives in Winnipeg near the outskirts of the city. She’s a simple woman who enjoys simple things. She likes BBQs in the summer and hiking in the winter. She likes it when it snows and the snow lands on the front of the windows in her house and makes little soft falling sounds. She is also incredibly perceptive and notices the little emotions that people always fail to hide. Cari has been like this all her life and, back when she was a teenager, she decided to put this skill to proper use as one of a team of home health workers who work deciding on the rates of home health care workers compensation insurance. She often visits the homes of other home health workers and gets to know the ins and outs of their lives before heading back to her team to talk to them about it. She’s very good at what she does and everyone knows it but, upon reaching her thirtieth birthday, she begins to wonder. What is insurance, exactly? How did this field come about? In essence, she begins to wonder how exactly it is that this idea became so mainstream.
Understanding insurance in general
Cari reasons, rightly, that we didn’t start off with things like workers compensation insurance for home health care or home care agency insurance or even home health business insurance in general. We barely started with car insurance when car’s first started to become a necessary item for standard American life. Cari reads up on the subject and realizes that, to some extent, the insurance industry began in the late seventeenth century and early eighteenth centuries when large scale industrialized jobs became the norm. People were working longer and different hours then they were before when all of the jobs were primarily agricultural. It was a different world and, for this different world, people needed a different conception of safety. It wasn’t good enough anymore for people to simply work the fields and take whatever injuries came to them. Factories were dangerous, after all, and had a wide assortment of health hazards. So what did they do about it?
The different species of insurance
First, they started with unions and basic work insurance. This ensured, pun intended, that if they were were hurt on the job they’d receive some sort of money when they couldn’t work. After all, it hurt the factory’s reputation if this wasn’t the case. But the process of insurance didn’t stop there. While it took a few decades to catch on, people began to realize what else this idea could actually be used for. They began to dole it out in other areas of life as well. This, in essence, Cari learns, is how we developed things like workers compensation insurance for home health care. It was all a long process of guaranteeing people’s safety.