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Most companies are enforcing different strategies aimed at cushioning the companies from losses. Among the recent strategies that have resulted in a lot of ethical questions is the strategy where businesses take insurance cover for the death of their employees. As such, this paper goes deeper looking into the ethical issues surrounding life insurance for companies.
The emphasis of this paper are the complaints raised about life insurance in JPMorgan Chase. Most of the issues raised in the case are about the corporate life insurance policy and the benefits that accrue from the policy with respect to the company and its employees.
Several complaints have kept coming up concerning the commitment of the company to ensure that its employees are healthy, on the one hand, and the desire of the company to make billions of money from insurance firms on the corporate insurance life policies that are embraced by JPMorgan Chase, on the other hand.
The JPMorgan Chase case is one of the numerous examples of cases where companies seek to maximize output from their employees, devoid of devoting a lot of attention to the employees as the key resources as far as business continuity and profitability are concerned.
In the assessment of the JPMorgan Chase, the mysterious death of employees and the continued embrace of corporate insurance life policies come out as serious ethical concerns in the operation of the company.
A look at the arguments presented by Kimbrell (2014) and Martens and Martens (2014) points at the fact that the bank seems to be reaping from the deaths of its employees, having entered into agreements with insurance banks in the matter of corporate life insurance.
According to Kimbrell (2014), suspicious deaths are often reported in JPMorgan Chase as claims of using the deaths of the employees to earn more for the company keep coming up. The issues are raised by different commentators in the realms of business ethics.
For instance, the Wall Street Journal remains keen on documenting the deaths of the employees and the amount of money that JPMorgan Chase receives from insurance companies out of these deaths. The New York Times is also keen as far as reporting the developments of the deaths of employees and the benefits that JPMorgan Chase gets from the death of its employees are concerned.
The bottom line in this ethical case of JPMorgan Chase is the morality surrounding the death of employees as the company keeps making money from these deaths. What needs to be explored, morally speaking, is the ethical stance that is embedded in corporate insurance life policies.
From the outset, it looks like there is either no moral consideration or very little consideration of morals in firms as they come up with strategies that cushion them from the business shocks that prevail in the volatile business environment. While it is obvious that JPMorgan Chase embraces corporate life insurance policies, more people are interested in the manner in which the corporate life insurance policies are enforced.
Here, it makes sense to assert that, “because the so-called company-owned life insurance offers employers generous tax breaks, the market is enormous; hundreds of corporations have taken out policies on thousands of employees”(Gelles, 2014, para. 5).
The above assertion shows that companies are becoming fond of corporate life insurance; instead of focusing on business practices that can promote the welfare of the employees and other stakeholders, businesses are involved in practices that prey on the employees.
Gelles (2014) asserted that, “JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo hold billions of dollars of life insurance on their books, and count it as a measure of their ability to withstand financial shocks” (para 5). The implication of the above statement is that employees in JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are viewed the perspective of being the tools of profitability, rather than being part of the organizational success through their input.
Therefore, it is imperative to note that the main actors in the case are the JPMorgan Chase Bank, on the one hand, and its employees and the corporate world at large, on the other hand. The employees, who are often on the receiving end when it comes to corporate life insurance policies, keep raising questions about the moral stance in corporate life insurance.
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Ethically speaking, corporate life insurance is one of the ways through which companies dehumanize their employees because they take their employees as tools for generating income. Several values that come out in the case include social justice, the sacredness of human life, and care. Social justice is a principle that calls for all firms to pay attention to moral values in embracing different practices and strategies.
In the case, the principle is breached because JPMorgan Chase seems to value the death of its employees. The issue of care also comes up, as there is no commitment of the company to take care of the employees because the company knows that the death of any of the employees can raise income. This is why a substantial number of suspicious deaths of employees have been reported (Kimbrell, 2014; Martens & Martens, 2014).
The moral concern that comes from the JPMorgan Chase bank case is an indicator of serious breaches on the welfare of the employees of the company. A look at the case denotes that this is a right/wrong conflict in the sense that the JPMorgan Chase bank promotes acts that are unjust and inhumane on its employees, all in the name of getting the life insurance cover from its employees.
At this point, it is worth reiterating the fact that companies are supposed to cater for their employees fully because their employees are the facilitators of organizational process and the success of organizations in terms of profitability is solely promoted by the efforts of the employees.
Therefore, any strategy that is developed by the organization should be aimed at enhancing profitability and promoting the state of welfare of the employees of the firm at the same time.
Kimbrell (2014) observes that companies involved in corporate life insurance are engaged in the implementation of business practices that result in early deaths of their employees. In doing so, they get millions of dollars that are not shared with the families of their employees, meaning that no consideration is given to the welfare and life of the employees and their dependants.
As mentioned earlier, the main stakeholders in the JPMorgan Chase as presented here are the JPMorgan Chase’s top management, the employees of the company, the insurance firms, and the ethical commentators in the corporate world.
While JPMorgan Chase seems to embrace corporate life insurance, the ethical commentators in the corporate world are realizing how unfair and inconsiderate the policies are to the employees of the company. The sentiments raised by a substantial number of commentators are justified because corporate life insurance only benefits the insurance companies and the companies that take the life cover.
In other words, no consideration is given to employee benefits from the life insurance policies; instead, JPMorgan Chase focuses on activities that increase the pace at which employees die so that they can get money in terms of life insurance cover.
The employees have a right to be worried about the JPMorgan Chase Bank that they work for. This follows the reports that show the company is hastening the death of employees so that it can gain money from the insurance companies.
Insurance companies also have a reason to worry, considering the increase in the number of suspicious deaths of employees. These deaths not only depict the devaluation of employees, but also the use of employees as tools for financial gain (Kimbrell, 2014).
What needs to be done is the harmonization of the interests of the stakeholders in corporate life insurance so that companies do not take advantage of corporate life insurance. Corporate life insurance not only needs to benefit the company, but also the employees. This means that there should be an equal share of the amount of insurance cover for the death of employees between the company and the employees.
Corporate life insurance has to be reviewed so that it is not seen as the source of financial income for JPMorgan Chase, but a scheme to cushion the company and its employees from the shocks that emanate from death.
The rationale informing this decision is that JPMorgan Chase will not focus so much on corporate life insurance cover, on the one hand. On the other hand, the insurance cover will benefit the employees and the insurance companies that are compelled to keep releasing money to JPMorgan Chase due to employee death.
The continued involvement of companies in corporate life insurance for their employees is often driven by the profit motive at the expense of the employees.
Gelles, D. (2014). An employee dies, and the company collects the insurance. The New York Times. Web.
Kimbrell, K. (2014). Unethical companies capitalizing on employee deaths: Protect your reputation with compliance training. The Network. Web.
Martens, P., & Martens, R. (2014). JPMorgan Chase bets $10.4 billion on the early death of workers. Inforwars.com. Web.