Everyone in the Pool

The US Senate just passed a bill to outlaw discrimination in employment or insurance based on genetic testing. No one voted against it. It is expected to pass the house and be signed by President Bush.

No one thinks it’s ok to base insurance on genetic information?

Then why the hell do we allow insurers to charge so much more based on the absence of a Y chromosome? (I own a day care that is unusual in providing insurance for our staff. They are mostly women, and the extra costs are staggering.)

I had thought that insurance was supposed to be about pooled risk. Actuarial studies were supposed to be used to figure out how much total risk the insurer faced, so that they could set overall rates to be solvent and actually provide their service when needed. Instead, insurers seem today to default on payments. Moreover, they seem to use actuarial studies (and past-payments to individuals) to manage profit from micro-pools or individual accounts. Instead of being about pooled risk, today’s insurance is more like an individual savings plan.

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.

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