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[In February's 2006 issue, we looked at the diverse nature of American society and the disparity between the new generation of young people who are so technologically linked to each other that individualism has suffered, compared to the poor of the same generation who can barely function in the modern globalized world. How these various aspects of society will affect the insurance industry remains to be seen.]

We in the claim business are going to be encountering an increasingly diverse cultural mix of insureds and claimants. Consider that in 2004, there were 1.6 million Islamic people, 1.5 million Buddhists, and 1.1 million Hindus living in the United States. So-called minorities already represent 40 percent of the population of the state I live in, and better than 50 percent in a handful of other states. Having spent a considerable time in Los Angeles over the past few years, I find it fascinating to see how that cultural and international society has learned to live with a multilingual mixture. I don’t speak much Spanish, but even a few words of greeting make life a richer experience when a lot of the hotel and restaurants, gas stations, and other services are populated with speakers of this language. Americans need to learn other languages, not resent the fact that foreigners speak different ones.

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