From Dave Davis: “My lunch mate sends me a joke every morning (which he receives from a friend who is an executive at one of the major advertising agencies in Chicago). Here’s the latest …
“Three buddies die in a car crash. They immediately find themselves at orientation in heaven. During this introduction, they are all asked: ‘When you are in your casket and friends and family surround you in the mortuary, what would you like them to say about you?’
“The first guy says: ‘I would like to hear them say that I was the greatest doctor of my time and a terrific family man.’
“The second guy says: ‘I would want them to say that I was a wonderful husband — and a fine school teacher who made a huge difference for our children and their future.’
“The third guy says: ‘I would like to hear them say … LOOK! HE’S MOVING!’”
A.T.: And speaking of car crashes, let’s talk a little about auto insurance reform — about which you should be furious, because so little has been done, except in Michigan (which for 25 years has had it nearly right).
Here’s a little idea from an enterprising Farmers Insurance agent in New Mexico whose name I have temporarily misplaced — oh, no! — but it’s a good little idea. His idea is to modify the proof-of-insurance card your insurer sends you. He would add a small perforated tear-off section that has printed on it all the information you need to exchange when there’s an accident.
Think about it. It’s raining, it’s dark, you’re late. You’re in an unfamiliar part of town, you only have a pencil and the point’s broken, cars are honking or whizzing by dangerously close to you — and the other person is not necessarily someone you’re thrilled to be spending time with. Perhaps she’s screaming at you, perhaps in a language you do not immediately recognize, perhaps gripping a tire iron. Is this a good time to be trying to remember the information you need to get? To give? No. And now, with this little perforated stub, you don’t have to. You simply tear off the Accident Information Card, hand it to the other person, motion for her to do likewise, get it (checking briefly to see that it matches the description of the car) — and, if it’s a minor accident to which the police are unlikely to respond, off you go. Even if the police do come, it’s easier and faster for everyone.
Two years ago, this fellow — Tom Gregory, that’s his name — sent me the idea wondering how he could get companies to adopt it. Farmers, his own company, had ignored him.
I suggested he send the idea to Progressive, among others — because they are progressive. And here we are two years later and, guess what, Progressive did it! They’ve added a tear-off Accident Information stub to the bottom of their proof-of-insurance form. Knowing how the insurance industry operates, now that Progressive has adopted it, others will follow — in about 30 years.
Thursday: Some Bigger Ideas