Utmost good faith

Dear Editor:

I was privileged to spend a 39-year career in a business that had at its heart a core principle of dealing based upon the greatest degree of faith between the parties. Unless you have either studied or otherwise been part of the insurance business, the term “utmost good faith” may sound more like a movie title than the legal precept it defines. Uberrimae fidei, the most abundant good faith, aptly describes the level of trust that is simply required between the parties when a commercial trade consists of relied upon information on the one side and a promise to do something in the future on the other. Insurance is such a trade of intangibles. I always liked that element of the business where aspirations and high ideals were not just lofty goals articulated in some dusty industry textbook, but instead the order of the day, every day, and a real part of the business regardless which side of the transaction one was representing. Things didn’t always work that way, but in my experience they mostly did, even often in the face of enormous pressure for those involved to do otherwise.

Shouldn’t we aspire to a similar course of conduct in our political discourse? The narrative of accelerating national divisiveness and increasing polarization can be accepted as reported and allowed to define us and our actions, or we can individually reject the premise, prove it untrue through our own example and insist on better. Perhaps we should consider not taking the bait but engage always as countrymen first with a level of respectfulness that recognizes that we still will be when the debate dust settles. I’m wondering if our conversation as citizens yet engaged in another trade of intangibles — ideas, could rise to the level of utmost good faith between the parties. Faith that courtesy and high-mindedness is due our fellow citizens as a matter of course, regardless of one’s political affiliation or the degree other views may vary from our own. We are the country — all of us. It is our responsibility to drive the conversations we must have, while always sharing the like motivation that they are to collectively build us up, not tear us down. We should insist on and have every expectation that those who engage on our behalf hold themselves to such lofty and high standards of discourse. Those who lead us must have utmost good faith in their dealings, the trust, that regardless of the degree of difference or potential for undesired political outcomes, opponents are and will remain countrymen first. If those elected refuse to lead in such a manner, let them watch and follow us.

David L. McKay


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.