Inside Track

New Ideas, Old Challenges

New Ideas, Old Challenges

By Eric P. Harding

So we’re just getting back from our (now-)annual trip to northern Michigan.
The weather was grand, the drive was fine (I presume it was, anyway—my better half piloted the family van), and no one got sick. We ate our fill of fruit pie and ice cream, and everyone got just a little bit sunburnt—a rite of summer passage.

A highlight of the trip for me was one where I took an observer’s role. You see, while driving to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (breathtaking views), we stopped by a roadside fruit stand, where we picked up some plump cherries, ripe apricots, and the biggest blueberries I’ve ever seen. Back at the cabin, my wife opined that such bounty should find its way into a pie—and so it was that on a rainy, dreary, can’t-go-to-the-beach day, the oven was preheated.

After a quick trip to the grocery store for supplies, April and Wallace (my younger son, who will have just turned 9 by the time you read this) set out to roll out the dough, slice the fruit, cook the filling, and ready the streusel topping. Then, assembly! With everything together, Wallace carefully placed the pie in the hot oven.

Reader, I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that pie was as scrumptious as any I had on that trip—in fact, it probably bested them all. I loved watching April and Wallace baking together, and they enjoyed it so much that they decided to make pie-­baking a shared hobby when they got home to Virginia. A new idea, born out of the old challenge of boredom—call it a summer miracle.

This issue’s features touch on new ideas and old challenges—sometimes both in the same article.

In our cover feature for this issue, author Michael G. Malloy looks at a new idea that is positioned to ameliorate a vexing issue for businesses. In “Insuring the Cloud” (page 16), Malloy examines an intriguing new P/C line of business called downtime insurance, akin to business interruption. Especially as the world moves increasingly online—metaverses, anyone?—this product could gain traction.

Filed under “old challenges,” opioid addiction—and an episode of workers’ compensation as an on-ramp for that addiction—is a story that’s been around awhile. The opioid crisis has been well-publicized for quite some time; what effect has all that knowledge had on this avenue of abuse? “Opioids and Workers’ Comp” (page 22) has some promising trends and some troubling statistics, in equal measure.

Our final feature for this issue, “Time to Take the Plunge?” (page 32) posits a new idea for U.S. retirement savers looking to assure lifetime income (an old challenge). Author Mark Shemtob offers up the idea of longevity pooling, an arrangement wherein a group of retirees receive payouts from a collective pool of assets. Those fortunate enough to live longest receive the greatest amount of benefits. Shemtob lays out the case for such an arrangement—and the issues that would need to be overcome to allow their adoption here in the U.S.

Thank you, as always, for reading. I hope your summer has been restful, restorative, and full of pie.

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