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Insure Fer Sure

Dan Pink

In his wacky 1971 film, “Bananas,” Woody Allen plays Fielding Melish, a cowering product-tester who bumbles his way into becoming President of the tropical republic of San Marcos.

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El Presidente Melish quickly discovers that torture in San Marcos is deadly serious: the police bind the victim’s hands, and then lower him into a small underground chamber — accompanied by nothing except the clothes on his back, the thoughts in his head, a glad-handing, briefcase-toting insurance salesman.

Now, that’s cruel and unusual.

Insurance is one of the modern economy’s most brilliant societal concepts and most horrible individual tasks. The mere word can empty a room.

When it’s not mind-numbingly boring, it’s mind-rattlingly confusing. Whether we’re buying insurance, shopping for insurance, or just trying to understand your insurance options, the entire process can truly be torture.

Fortunately, the Web is beginning to offer an escape tunnel. If you can’t procrastinate any longer, and need to evaluate your insurance coverage and needs, an excellent place to begin is Insure.com.

This self-styled “Consumer Insurance Guide” actually delivers on its promise. The site contains guides to insurance companies, a database of consumer complaints, and even a “Lawsuit Library.” But the best feature is its collection of clearly written, immensely useful articles that help readers slog through the murky morass of insurance.

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Free agents will be especially interested in the following five excellent Insure.com articles:

An overview of disability insurance, perhaps the most important type of insurance free agents need;

An informative piece on three varieties of insurance for home-based business owners;

A good story on COBRA, the federal law that allows you to leave your job but keep that job’s health insurance. (Many people rely on COBRA for health insurance early in their free agency.);

An introduction to Medical Savings Accounts, a convenient way for some free agents to set aside pretax dollars for health care costs;

A pro-con look at purchasing health insurance through intermediaries called “professional employer organizations.”

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No need to torture yourself or to go bananas over insurance. Just read, understand, and move on to something more gratifying.

by Dan Pink