Next Monday, the day will revolve around the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year. I recently asked myself what the meaning around 11/11/11 is, so I took the time to look it up and get educated on the significance of the time chosen to remember.
The Armistice Agreement was signed on November 11, 1918 at the 11th hour of the day. This agreement marked the beginning of the end of a long horrific war that cost many lives. The agreement outlined some terms for the cessation of acts of war, and named Germany as the defeated enemy of war. According to online sources, this is what was named in the agreement:
“The actual terms, largely written by the Allied Supreme Commander, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, included the cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of German forces to behind the Rhine, Allied occupation of the Rhineland and bridgeheads further east, the preservation of infrastructure, the surrender of aircraft, warships, and military materiel, the release of Allied prisoners of war and interned civilians, and eventual reparations.”
This was a big step towards peace, freedom, and prosperity for the developing world. The war formally ended on June 28, 1919 with treaties being signed in Versailles.
At this point, you are likely wondering “Why is Block’s Agencies giving me a history lesson on an insurance agency blog?”
There are two reasons for the lesson- the first and foremost is to remember, and to never forget the fallen soldiers and their sacrifices they made and the important events in history that shaped what the world is today, and the second reason is that there is an applicable parallel to be drawn between the two events.
Utmost Good Faith
The Armistice Agreement and insurance both have a very similar foundation that they are built on. That foundation is comprised of two components- contractual laws, and the trust it takes to see them through. When the Armistice was signed, it was done so in good faith. The paperwork was an expression of the intent of the leaders at the time to disarm, protect infrastructure and begin the release of prisoners of war, however the paperwork is just that – paper! What followed was action and resolve to complete the work. Nations ended hostilities, generals ordered the lowering of guns, and prison cells were opened. This of course was all done because of the agreement, but one couldn’t happen without the other. A parallel is drawn to insurance through the realization that when you sign an insurance application, it becomes a contract. The only time you get to see the realization of that contract is when something goes wrong and you need to make that call to start the process of making things right. This of course requires the second component to any agreement. Trust.
It’s the second component to the Armistice, and dare I say the more important component of the two. Trust is what actually began the work of disarming nations, of opening cells, and repairing the damage of war. To release prisoners, you need to trust that they will not turn on you the moment they are freed. Again, similarly to insurance, you need to trust the company that underwrites your insurance to carry out the claims process as promised and to honour the contract that was set out in the wordings of your policy. The insurance carrier is also trusting you, that in the event of a fire or theft that you are declaring actual goods that were lost. The good news is that trust comes easier with your insurance provider, as they are there to help, and are not there as your enemy.
This week we remember the fallen, and the price paid for our freedoms. We are fortunate we can learn from our ancestors in a few different way: making peace is just a decision away, trust is a choice, and contracts require action. Let us never forget.