We thought we'd seen it all with last year's devastatinghurricane season, statistically the worst in the Southeast'shistory. Astronomical property loss compounded by countlessdisplacements and — up-until-then — unfathomable human misery andsuffering. What else could happen? A tsunami of epicproportions?

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Exactly.

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With the death toll still climbing at this writing, in acatastrophe of probably immeasurable proportions that literallyshook the earth on its very axis and may change shoreline imprinton a dozen countries, will we ever feel safe on this earthagain?

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It's sad enough that we constantly ourselves and our environmentwith intentional or accidental nuclear holocaust, bad enough thatwe pollute our entire planet and destroy our natural resourcesthrough carelessness and selfish consumption, and disgracefulenough that we systematically turn blind eyes to the suffering ofthe impoverished and sick. These are all situations that we could,if we really put our heads together and humanitarian efforts intohigher gear, alleviate or even eradicate.

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Nature is another kind of challenge altogether. Insured lossesfrom the tsunamis are expected to soar to no more than $10 billion.Operative word here is insured. The actual cost of the losses maynever be accurately determined; and the loss of life will beequally hard to pinpoint. Entire families decimated, and no censusfigures to fall back on for verification.

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In previous disaster scenarios, either natural or manmade, theinsurance industry has always played an important and worthwhilerole in alleviating suffering and aiding in reconstruction, notonly of properties but also of lives. Even in the horrificaftermath of 9/11, we were able to step in, up to a point, andhelp.

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But not as effectively, clearly, or pointedly, this time.Instead, we join the rest of the world on the other side of thefence. We suffer with the stricken in their loss. We joininternational relief organizations, contributing as individuals,large and small companies, huge conglomerates … people just tryingto help and do what we can.

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The insurance industry has no real mandate, no template to helpus determine our place, our responsibility to the stricken. All wehave, collectively and individually as members of the human race,is our conscience. Across the board, across the country, andthroughout the world we are responding, and will continue to riseto the occasion with contributions and other forms of humanitarianaid. And in the small pockets of insured loss, we will again do ourpart on an international level to alleviate the seeminglyinsurmountable suffering of those who are left behind to face theunimaginable – the rebuilding of lives, the re-establishment of aniota of the will to live, the re-creation of hope.

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The Bible states that at the end of the world, the living willenvy the dead. The end of the world is not here yet, at least notthis very day. But many of our brothers on the other side of theworld might just argue against that rationale. For them, theirworld has, indeed, ended. And getting them to once again see abright light may take some doing!

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Many of us prefer to believe that there really is a SupremeBeing, a God, if you will. And maybe this is His or Her way offorcing us to see the light and help us reunite as brothers beforeit's too late. Well, it's a thought, anyway.

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