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INSURANCE| 03.05.2024

The world of insurance: a star of the big screen

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The 96th Academy Awards ceremony will take place on March 10 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. While they start rolling out the red carpet, let’s take a closer look at the world of insurance through all-time classic movies. Many blockbusters of the silver screen show the insurance sector in multiple ways. Get some popcorn, have a seat and let the session begin!

We’ll begin with two films by the Oscar-winning Billy Wilder: Double Indemnity (1944) and The Fortune Cookie (1966), two classics whose plot involves the swindling of an insurance company. Specifically, in Double Indemnity, the odd couple of insurance agents Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck hatch a plan to murder her husband so they can collect the life insurance money. If you haven’t seen it, we can assure you that the intrigue lasts until the very end. 

Nor can you miss The Fortune Cookie. Harry Hinkle (Jack Lemmon) is knocked over by a football player in a game where he’s working as a television cameraman. His injuries aren’t serious, but he allows himself to be swayed by an unscrupulous lawyer who sees the accident as a great opportunity to take home a succulent indemnity from the insurance company. Will he succeed? 

Let’s take a 25-year leap forward. In Barton Fink (1991), the Coen brothers give us an accurate definition of the insurance industry from the mouth of one of its main characters. Asked about his profession, agent Charlie reveals: “You might say I sell peace of mind. I sell insurance door-to-door.”

A winning combination

Theft and insurance are a winning combination at the movies. In The Pink Panther (1963), directed by Blake Edwards, the clumsy Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) and an employee of a jewelry insurance company (Colin Gordon) investigate the theft of a diamond of fathomless beauty: the pink panther. They’re on the trail of “The Phantom,” a skilled white-collar thief. 

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) is another more recent sample. Pierce Brosnan plays a multimillionaire who, for amusement, decides to steal a priceless Monet from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. René Russo, the detective hired by the museum’s insurance company, will be in charge of unmasking him. 

In a humorous vein, in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), directed by and starring Woody Allen, the New Yorker plays the top-flight investigator of an insurance company who uses his skills to perpetrate a robbery. Guaranteed fun for lovers of Woody Allen. 

More comedies

To the list of comedies, we might add: Along Came Polly (2004). Ben Stiller, a methodical employee in the risk department of an insurance company, sees his world rocked when he meets Polly Prince (Jennifer Anniston), a woman who loves a thrill. On a professional level, he’ll have to decide whether to provide coverage to a multimillionaire who frequently engages in risky sports. 

In I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007), a bureaucratic error prevents Larry (Kevin James) from providing his children with life insurance and he asks his partner Chuck (Adam Sandler) to sign a form as his partner as a favor. But what was a secret act becomes news and the two friends are forced to play the role of a happy couple in love. 

Another example is Cedar Rapids (2011), a comedy by the Puerto Rican director Miguel Arteta. The story revolves around a convention of insurance agents. Tim Lippe (Ed Helms), a naive and good-natured man accustomed to selling policies to his neighbors, has the most outrageous experiences with three colleagues who have little to do with him. 

Dramas with different endings

Who hasn’t seen The Truman Show (1998)? Jim Carrey plays an insurance salesman who unwittingly stars in a TV show about his life. The most recent film is Carancho (2010), by Argentine director Pablo Trapero. In it, lawyer Sosa (Ricardo Darín), after having lost his license, joins an illegal company specialized in causing automobile accidents in order to cheat insurance companies. 

Health insurance also finds a place in cinema. One instance is in John Q (1997), where a father, in a desperate act, takes hostages in a hospital to have his son undergo a heart transplant that is not covered by his health insurance. There are also happy endings, after much action and despair, like the one in Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible (2012), when the representative sent by the insurance company assures them that everything is going to be all right. 

Science fiction and animation

Some films go even further and invent new types of coverage, as in the science fiction film The Island (2005), which imagines a world where life insurance can be purchased in the form of a human clone. Also, in Autómata (2014), set in the year 2044, Antonio Banderas, in his role as an insurance agent for a company that makes robots, has it in his hands to save humanity.

Among the animated films we would highlight The Incredibles (2004), a family of superheroes where the father works as a claims manager in an insurance company.

Surprised by how much insurance industry has given us as a star of the big screen? We’re sure there must be some films missing from the list. But this roundup should leave us with one very clear idea: the importance of being well insured and having a company that conveys confidence, such as MAPFRE, which provides coverage in all areas. Learn more about solutions for your insurance and leave the drama and scares at the movies!