Home Page The Publication The Editor Contact Information Insurance Key issues Book Subscribe

Vol. 3, Iss. 15
November 5, 2014

Mafia Property & Casualty Insurance Company

In preparing to interview mob lawyer turned mayor Oscar Goodman (located nearby) I learned much about the mafia. My education came from Goodman’s autobiography Being Oscar, a visit to Las Vegas’s Mob Museum and Blood Aces, Dallas Morning News reporter Doug Swanson’s gripping new book about the life of Benny Binion – ruthless Dallas gangster who came to Las Vegas and became a legendary casino owner.

Since its inception two years ago, Coverage Opinions has sometimes strayed from its stated mandate of addressing insurance coverage issues. I’ll deny I said this – but, yes, other areas of the law can also be interesting. That being so, some CO interviews have focused on such things as sports, constitutional and tort law. Interviewing a mob lawyer is surely in this insurance-detour category. But maybe not.

It occurred to me that the mafia has an operation that isn’t much different from what insurance companies offer. The mafia is known for using extortion or shakedown schemes. This involves obtaining money or property from a person or business in exchange for a promise not to inflict future violence on them. To put it another way, in a shakedown arrangement, a person is paying money to be protected against a loss (violence to them) that is more costly to them than the amount paid. How is this any different from a person who pays $1,400 for homeowner’s insurance to be protected against having to pay $3,000 to repair damage that their overflowing toilet caused to a downstairs neighbor? It’s not. They are identical. In both situations a person is paying an amount of money to avoid the consequences of a greater loss. Indeed, paying protection money to the mafia has been referred to as insurance. Actually, there is one difference. The mob provides its insurance without 52 pages of terms and conditions.

Website by Balderrama Design Copyright Randy Maniloff All Rights Reserved