When I was in grade school my father was transferred to eastern Connecticut from Texas. Besides all the normal “new kid” on the block stuff, I also had to deal with my Texas y’all standing out against the background of “pawkin the caw”. I had heard some pretty tall tales while living in Texas, but I was quickly indoctrinated to Yankee humor when I was told the story of the Battle of Frog Pond. Bear with me, this actually has an insurance lesson in the story…….
The summer leading up to the fateful night in June of 1754 had been filled with terrifying stories of the French and Indian War. Stories of atrocities committed by both sides in the battle and then reprisals by the other spread like a disease carried by the travelers on the Boston Post Road that passed through Windham Center. The settlements in eastern Connecticut were pretty spread out and essentially stood alone from a defense perspective. A local attorney, Col. Eliphalet Dyer, had just raised a militia to join General Putnam in fighting the French and Indians at Crown Point, leaving Windham Center defended mostly by old farmers and shopkeepers.
In the early hours on that fateful day in June the townsfolk were awakened by a unholy noise coming from just over the eastern ridge of the town. Some literally ran into the streets naked and fell to the faces in the town square praying for forgiveness because they thought it was surely the end of the world. Others gathered muskets and powder and made their way in the moonless night to the ridge east of the square, ready to defend the town against the onslaught of whatever the dawn would reveal. Lining the ridge the makeshift militia prepared for battle in the pitch blackness of the early morning. In town lanterns burned while women tore strips of cloth for bandages and boiled water for wound dressing, all along praying that if the end came for them and their children at the hands of savages that it would come quickly.
As the morning sun began to rise over the Connecticut foothills to the east all attention was focused to the sloping ground that led to Col Dyers farm, but instead of seeing hordes of savages ready to attack, the defenders of Windham Center witnessed instead the carnage of thousands of bullfrogs. Their carcasses lied belly up in the mud that surrounded the place where the pond and stream had been at the bottom of the hill. As it turns out, a draught had been effecting the area for some weeks, but with the flurry of activity surrounding the militia muster and the absence of Dye from his farm, no one noticed that the pond was slowly drying up. On that night something snapped in the frog community as they battled for the last bit of water and that was the sound that the townsfolk heard. Not ones to be cheated from a good victory, the locals decided to call it the Battle of Frog Pond and to this day a monument stands at the side of Rt 14 as it passes by Frog Pond commemorating the battle. In fact the Windham County symbol is the frog and the sheriff’s patrol cars are adorned with a giant bullfrog symbol. The picture above shows one of the frog statues that guard the entrance to the bridge over the river that passes through the county’s seat of Willimantic.
Now, where is the insurance lesson in all this? You can take pride in your preparation to fight the battle even though you may not be called on to fire your musket. Understanding about captive insurance initiatives and their proper application to particular insurance needs may be more than half the battle won when trying to protect your book of business from being poached by the big global agencies. The water is drying up in the insurance pond and agencies, like the frogs in our story, are fighting over the remaining client base. Agency education is key to anticipating the need for a sophisticated captive insurance program and offering that option to your clients long before someone rides in and offers that service to your client first.
Cedar can help you evaluate your clients potential for alternative risk financing. When we work with agents we never try to replace the agent in his relationship with the client. We consider ourselves to be adjuncts and work to serve the client on your behalf. Let me suggest that you check out our website for more information or send us an email if you would like to discuss a particular client’s situation.
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