Keith Olbermann, the MSNBC loudmouth whose ratings are tanking faster than a bowling ball in a barrel of shaving cream, is lying to his dwindling number of viewers about corporate owned life insurance (COLI) to bolster ratings and piggyback on the hype of health care reform. Either that, or he is an idiot.
In a particularly distasteful diatribe dealing with health care reform on his show this week (see the video below), Olbermann warns viewers that employers are “secretly” taking out life insurance policies on their employees. He seems to infer that employers are taking it COLI policies on all employees without their consent, from the receptionist to the janitor — and waiting until the employee dies to collect death benefits and reap big tax advantages.
Surely, someone at NBC could have told Olbermann that COLI is used by corporations for key executive personnel, whose untimely death could create financial upheaval for an organization. It pays for recruiting a new individual, maintaining the work flow that the deceased was involved with, and ensures that those who worked under the deceased don’t face work-related or financial hardships based on the loss of their supervisor or employer.
And if he would have only asked his own insurance agent before spouting such mistatements of fact, he would have found that a person cannot insure another’s life without the insured’s consent. At that point, he could have avoided the embarrassment of his on-the-air rant.
It is highly likely that NBC has a COLI policy on Olbermann. However, it is doubtful that Olbermann, as an employer, has any COLI policies on his gardeners — or even the young staff writers who work for his show, for that matter.
Olbermann went on to explain how NAIFA (National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors) is made up of bad people who create and set policies for COLI and other products, and somehow connects life insurance agents to the current controversy over health insurance. Its sort of like blaming Dr. J (basketball star Julius Erving) for the problems with Medicare; it just doesn’t add up.
Tom Currey, president of NAIFA, drafted an open letter to the producers of the Countdown with Keith Olbermann show, explaining first, that NAIFA is made up of agents and not companies; second, that agents can’t set policy; third, tries to explain in elementary language that Olbermann can understand what COLI is; and fourth, tries to figure out how Olbermann connected a life insurance agent association to health insurance.
Doubtful that Olbermann or his producers will read the letter. Less likely that they will address it. They are probably more concerned with finding new t0pics that Olbermann can screech about in an attempt to stem the nose-dive in his ratings.