Death Bonds

Profile of Steve Carlson

“Psssst, buddy! Want to buy a death bond? They’re the most exciting, new investment on the street today. Get ’em while they’re hot.” Hardly, at least in Canada, but I saw them pop-up in an article in The Globe and Mail last month. Death bonds are the catchy name for life settlement securitizations that are bundled life insurance policies sold, in this case, as bonds. Profits to investors come from the death benefits paid by the life insurance companies. Death can’t come too soon to maximize returns.

The article quoted life insurers’ ethical reactions to death bonds. Frank Zinatelli, Vice-President of legal services at the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association that represents most of the life insurers in Canada said, “From an ethical context, you’re betting that someone will die. It doesn’t have the right smell.” Continue reading Death Bonds

Healthcare, Not Global Warming

Profile of Steve Carlson

This article originally appeared on inciteHEALTH in February, 2009, coincidentally just weeks before the H1N1 flu began to appear in the news. Bill Carrol on Newstalk 1010 only hours ago described government handling of this pandemic as a “complete and utter travesty”. In light of the upcoming Copenhagen Conference on global warming next month, a fresh posting of this article seems appropriate.

Countries have different opinions about exactly which pending apocalypse they should be forestalling with vast sums of money or other resources. The hands-down favourite world-wide catastrophe for many nations, particularly those in North America and Europe, is Global Warming. Other countries, such as China and certain developing African countries, apparently think their top priority lies elsewhere. The government of the former is afraid of mass uprising, the population of the latter faces mass starvation — both attributes of the apocalypse, Totalitarianism, a much more “now” cataclysm. Continue reading Healthcare, Not Global Warming