Barely a day goes by without my hearing of another large company that is taking unprecedented action to address social problems. Cynics among CEO Daily readers roll their eyes when I say this, but something very different is going on in the world of business today—unlike anything I’ve experienced in a four-decade journalistic career.
Yesterday, I spoke with Roger Crandall, CEO of MassMutual—which is a different animal from most companies in that it doesn’t have shareholders and is governed by its policyholders. In response to the pandemic, Crandall has offered free, three-year life insurance policies to frontline health care workers. The company has created an easy online application that doesn’t require a physical. The only requirement is that the person live in the U.S., be no older than 60, make less than $250,000, and be employed or volunteer at least 10 hours per month at a health care or emergency medical service provider.
I asked Crandall how much the program ultimately will cost the company. He said anywhere from $20 million to $150 million, depending on how many people take advantage of it. “You’d be surprised how hard it is to give away life insurance,” he said. (You can take him up on the offer here.)
And since it’s Friday, some feedback. BJ objected to the optimistic words from the folks at Slack that innovation without an office can be encouraged with virtual tools.
“Offices did not simply provide white boards and water coolers; they provided a multitude of social, emotional and intellectual aspects that fueled innovation, by offering intersections of disciplines and awareness of the edges where most of the creativity lives. Imagine IBM labs, HP Labs, Bell Labs, National Labs …. seriously doubt such complicated projects will continue from home.”
Also, lots of commentary on my post Monday suggesting Trump may have made business better, by forcing companies to address issues he was avoiding—climate change, pandemic safety, diversity and inclusion. “Good reflections. I approve,” wrote BT. But WHT objected to my statement that a new administration might bring a raft of business regulatory measures, many of them ill-conceived:
“Ill-conceived? What an arrogant statement to make. You’re an expert now?”
No expert. But I know enough from three decades in Washington to say this with confidence: many regulatory schemes are ill-conceived.
More news below.