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It is a subject that plagues the claim adjuster daily: how much is pain worth? This is, surprisingly, an ancient issue, one that hangs heavily over 21st century C.E. as well as the 21st century B.C.E. — 4,000 years ago. It affects the financial industry, including those Wall Street millionaires who made big bucks “advising” investors to stick their money in ventures that advisors should’ve known were not up to snuff.

Does all of the pain or damage that the insured or claimant alleges really exist? Is the value being assigned realistic? How much depreciation is fair? How can the policy language be used to make things turn out better for the insurer than the insured? What is “dishonest,” and what constitutes sharp business practices?

“A legal obligation is not the same as a moral obligation,” wrote Raymond Westbrook in his article, “Good as His Word,” in the May-June, 2009 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. “There is a formality in the law, especially the law of contracts that sets it apart from the dictates of justice.”

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