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  • This wooden plaque used to reside outside Mom and Dad's front door in Cherry Hill, NJ, for the entire 27 years they lived there. It now resides outside my front door.

    Dad bought and paid the life-time premium from Ben Franklin's Insurance Company sometime after they moved into the house in Cherry Hill. This plaque indicated that that house was insured. The way it worked was, you were insured for as long as you lived there. When you moved and/or sold the house, you turned the plaque back in, and they returned your entire premium back to you.

    Mom wrote to them when she moved from Cherry Hill to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, to let them know she was moving, but requested to keep the plaque. They returned Dad's premium payment to her, and said she could keep the plaque. She gave it to us last summer, when we moved her from her townhouse into a condo, where she didn't have anywhere to hang it outside. It reminds me of Dad, who was an insurance adjuster for most of his working years.

    How does an insurance company stay in business like that? I don't know, but this one managed to stay in business for 257 years with this policy. It's founder, Benjamin Franklin himself, just thought that this was the right thing to do.

    Ben would be proud of how his company was doing in the 21st century. The Philadelphia Contributorship had a $190 million surplus when it reoganized in 2009, giving new meaning to its founder’s observation that “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

    Doing the right thing pays off in many different ways...I said that.
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