Industry the November 2014 issue

My Turn

If nothing else, our cover story will confuse you, frustrate you and have you chomping at the bit about the prospects of insuring a whole new set of clients.
By Ken Crerar Posted on October 27, 2014

Many of you know me as a bit irreverent, sometimes a little crazy and totally unafraid of risk. I also have a strong sense of values and integrity, and I’m driven to provide vision and leadership in an industry that deserves it.

On paper, my personal life is pretty standard. I’ve been in a relationship with the same person for 27 years and have a strong sense of family, with two kids and two dogs. Our boys argue—like any nine and 14-year-old siblings do—and my spouse and I often laugh about our knee-jerk “No’s!” in response to their youthful nonsense.

We both juggle demanding careers and business travel, as well as the social obligations we have with our respective families and friends.

We spend a lot of time talking with our boys about working hard, studying and doing homework, all in the name of raising healthy, happy kids who grow up to be productive members of society. We still fight about whose turn it is to take the trash out to the curb. I’m sure many of you can relate.

It should not matter that my other half—my partner, my best friend—is named Peter.

This month, Leader’s Edge examines the insurance implications surrounding same sex marriage and the movement toward support and expansion of diversity of all individuals and employees.

Despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling that discrimination within the so-called Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, the right for same-sex couples to marry is still determined on a state-by-state basis. This leads to tax issues, administrative issues, conflicting rules and ongoing legislative challenges that have brokers’ phones ringing off the hook.  And it has all impacted me and my family.

It’s amazing to me how complicated individual states have made civil unions and domestic partnerships. To me, it’s simple. Today is not that different than five years ago, except that being married has meant an added tax penalty and a responsibility on our part to ensure that our boys have a recognizable understanding of their parents’ relationship. But it’s never that easy, is it?

With each page in this issue, you’ll determine that our industry should rally around same-sex marriage as a healthy institution fraught with challenges yet ripe with business opportunities. With 20 states still not recognizing same-sex marriage as a Constitutional right, there’s a lot of room for improvement—and business. If nothing else, our cover story will confuse you, frustrate you and have you chomping at the bit about the prospects of insuring a whole new set of clients.

With each page in this issue, you’ll determine that our industry should rally around same-sex marriage as a healthy institution fraught with challenges yet ripe with business opportunities.

Many see it as I do, that same-sex marriage is a human rights issue. It’s absurd to think that if we drove less than two miles from our Washington, D.C., home into Virginia that we wouldn’t have been able to adopt our children. It’s maddening to know that there are legally married residents out there who have to jump through hoops to obtain spousal benefits because they are gay and their place of employment is in another state.

I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I believe this will become a non-issue in the very near future, and that our industry’s opportunities are around the corner.

And come to think of it, I believe it’s Peter’s turn to take out the trash.

Ken Crerar CEO, The Council Read More

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