World Cup- A Bad Pass

 Jul 12, 2018 12:00 PM
by Marcel Strigberger

There was a bad pass made at the World Cup…by insurer Allianz SE.

Before this iconic event some retailers offered large prizes as promos if the German team won the cup. They wanted Allianz to cover these potential payouts. Allianz however was so sure Germany would win that they declined the coverage opportunity. The German team was knocked out of the event by South Korea, resulting in Allianz losing out on oodles in premiums.

I believe the reason for declining coverage was that Allianz was not quite sure how to draft the insurance application. They did not know what questions to ask. And so, after thinking about it, using my years of experience dealing with insurers, I suggest Allianz could have made an intelligent informed decision by submitting a questionnaire similar to car, life, fire and other insurance products, as so: questions.


1) Did you also get another insurance company to cover the event? How are they betting? We’re curious.


2) To your knowledge, over the last 6 months have any of the German players had a change in beer brands?

3) Please describe the team’s family history, going back two generations. Within the past 3 years, how many goals did each of their grandmothers score?

4) When a high flying ball crashes down on a player’s head, does he say:

a) Ouch;

b) @#%#*&^; or

c) Ya! Goot!

5) How tall is the team’s goalkeeper:

a) Greater than 9 feet tall;

b) 7-9 feet tall;

c) Less than 7 feet tall.

If you answered “c”, this application will be remitted to our special, “no way this shrimp can make a save” underwriting team as your policy will be rated for a higher premium.


1) Did any of the players receive 3 or more yellow cards from the referees in the past six months?

2) Have any of the team’s players been suspended by their coach? If the answer is yes, note under “details” the extent thereof. Being timed out and sent to the clubhouse corner for more than 10 minutes counts.


1) Of the team’s games, what percentage is business and what percentage is pleasure?

2) In one year, how many kilometres on the field does the team run?

(Note- you need not include the goalkeeper)

3) Will there be any pooling? ie. Do you expect any of the players to carry a team mate piggyback?

4) Do the players wear all season Nikes?


1) Does the goalkeeper intend to leave the net unattended for more than 7 minutes?

2) How close is the team’s residential quarters to a fire hydrant?

3) Referring to question 2, does the team have a dog mascot? If the answer is yes please note under “details”. A Chihuahua does not count.


1) Do any of the team members smoke tobacco, sniff snuff or risk antagonizing the referee by chewing garlic?

2) Do any of the players engage in sky diving, scuba diving or bullfighting. If the answer is yes, please disclose under “details” whether to your knowledge any of them intend to enter the stadium dropping down with a parachute, holding their breath or wearing red shorts.


Please note that all of these questions must be answered honestly, fully and completely, failing which Allianz may deny coverage. Yes, all questions are relevant, including that part about the grandmothers.

If any of the team players are from Quebec please also complete a form “Q-123 le soccer.”

As you can see it would have been very simple for Allianz SE to protect itself and attract all those handsome premiums. They could have called me for this priceless world class World Cup advice. As is often the case, the devil is in the details.

However I do feel sorrier for those retailers. Now given Allianz’s refusal to insure, those retailers are tainted as they must disclose in future that they were once denied insurance coverage. Bummer!


Let’s Play Ball...Assume the Position

 Jul 9, 2018 10:00 AM
by Marcel Strigberger

     The greatest job in the world is to be a police officer. Specifically I am referring to the cops who serve at sporting events and enjoy the game while getting paid for this strenuous effort.

     I’m an avid baseball fan and I can’t help but notice the handful of privileged lawmen enjoying the perils of their profession at the ballpark. Their worst downside perhaps is stepping on some sticky dried up Coke.

    My question then is, how does a police officer get this assignment? Is it seniority? I doubt it as I often see younger officers there. Probably these officers were saints in their previous lifetime and they have returned now to be rewarded to a life of living out everyone's childhood fantasy. Perhaps one of them was originally a passenger aboard the Titanic who helped others get aboard life rafts. Eventually his soul returned to earth and Providence rewarded him. The angels upstairs had a chat:

     "Gabriel: What do you say we return this guy as a cop and send him to the Rogers Centre. He deserves a cushy, soft, fun job doing nothing and getting paid for it.

      Raphael: O.K. Gabriel, it's either the Rogers Centre or the Senate."

      On the other hand maybe there is an element of skill in the position and the officers actually practice and compete for it. I am thinking of the officers at Blue Jay games. In front of each dugout you have two officers seated watching the game. They clap and cheer with the rest of us. Once the half inning is over they stand up and turn around and scowl at the spectators. Once play resumes they sit back down and continue to enjoy themselves.

      The element of skill here is obvious. They must demonstrate the undisputed ability to be able to sit through a half inning and then get up instantly, do a pirouette around and scowl. It's really in the face. They have to look mean, like a cross between Jaws and Count Dracula.

Presumably there is an aptitude test, to assess psychological proficiency. The questionnaire probably reads like:

     "24. When the Blue Jays hit a home run, you react by:

         a)cheering and applauding;

         b)arresting anyone you see not cheering and applauding; or

         c)turning around and taunting the crowd by boasting about the great free view you have of the game.

     Answer choices such as “c” and you’re in.

     As well I imagine they all practice vigorously for that big interview, rehearsing by sitting in front of dugouts at their local parks. Then they practice the flip around and that scowl.

     Only the best cops make it. Actually the force has to be credited for its wise selections to date. I know of no instance where mobs have descended upon the Blue Jays dugout and made off with the Gatorade.

     The Toronto police motto is "To serve and protect". I think a more accurate motto, reflecting the true wishes of the majority of the officers anywhere, would be, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”




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