Enter the world of Westeros, Essos, Sothoryos and Ulthos, where dragons and magic exist, and you’re in the HBO series Game of Thrones (GoT), based on the fantasy and science fiction books A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Learning about how hard life was back then — the gruesome battles, the everyday perils — definitely teaches one how to survive past age 20.
It's likely that insurance exists in this fairytale land, because insurance has existed since the times of the Romans. Not to mention that all those marriages for power, alliances and money demand complex life insurance policies and estate plans. And so, here are some industry lessons that we can infer from GoT.
1. Make sure your estate plan is in legal order.
Love him or despise him, King Robert Baratheon rules over all of the Seven Kingdoms. After a mysterious accident involving alcohol and a boar leaves him on his deathbed — one in which Queen Cersei is involved indirectly — Lord Stark sends a message to Robert’s two younger brothers, Stannis and Renly. The message states that Robert is not the real father of his kids and that they are the product of incest between Cersei and her twin brother, Jaime. (I know. Eww.)
2. Disability insurance is a critical protection product for just about every worker.
While everything was falling apart in King’s Landing with Robert's death, the Lannisters were at war with the Starks. During one of these battles, Jaime is captured by the Starks. Lady Stark ultimately releases him, and tasks Brienne of Tarth, a woman knight, to escort him back to King’s Landing in exchange for Sansa and Arya.
3. Whether it's a financial nest egg or a dragon, you need investments you can count on.
Viserys Targaryen plots to invade Westeros and reclaim his crown as the rightful heir of the Seven Kingdoms. But he lacks all possible resources (armies, boats, money, wit, etc.), so he “sells” his younger sister, Daenerys, in marriage to Khal Drogo. During the wedding ceremony, Daenerys receives a lot of gifts, among them three dragon eggs that have supposedly turned to stone by the passage of time.
Daenerys feels a strange connection to these “rocky” eggs: something draws her in and she takes care of them. It’s not until later that she builds a pyre for her dead husband, that she places the dragon eggs on the pyre and enters the fire. When the fire dies in the morning, she is alive and has three baby dragons around her.
4. The best financial partnerships are based on trust.
In her position as a type of foreign queen to the Dothraki, Daenerys learns their culture, customs and language. She fights for the rights of the women, while trying to defend the prisoners they take as slaves when they attack other villages. This resonates with some Dothraki, although most are not in favor of compassion, believing it to be a sign of weakness.
5. Not having a trusted advisor is too big a risk to take.
Where to begin with Sansa Stark? After going to King’s Landing with her father and loving life in the big city, Sansa starts picking up bad manners from the people at court, mainly Queen Cersei. However, after Lord Stark is beheaded, both the Queen and the recently crowned Joffrey beat, manipulate, torture and humiliate poor Sansa. She just sits there in silence and takes it.