Why Buying Macaroni is a lot like Buying Dive Insurance

By Ryan Meyer

I was standing in Costco on a Sunday afternoon (the absolute worst time to go).

I’d already had my ankles rammed by shopping carts multiple times. My girlfriend stood beside me perturbed by the sea of people around us. Heads bobbed in waves and small children screamed shrill like gulls.

Mercifully, we were standing in front of the last item to purchase on our shopping list: box macaroni. But there were several options. Kraft, Annie’s, Kirkland, something with Velveeta cheese that you could squeeze out of a packet. And that was when someone rammed their shopping cart into my girlfriend’s ankle this time. An expletive came quickly from her mouth followed by, “Just get the Kraft because it’s cheap. Let’s get out of here.”

Two things happened in that moment. The first thing I grabbed a Costco-sized pallet of Kraft macaroni about as fast as my body would allow. When my girlfriend gets mad, she goes full blind rage and her mouth knows no bounds. (I love you babe, but it’s true.) The second thing that happened forms the basis of what you’re reading:

I realized that buying macaroni at Costco is a lot like buying scuba diving insurance.

Pasta and Dive Insurance

My daughter is a pastaholic. So is my girlfriend. I’m at the age where I really am what I eat so I balance what goes in with how I’m prepared to look. What surprised me the most was that, as that shopping cart went crashing into her ankle that day in Costco, my girlfriend made a snap decision on which pasta to buy based on price. “Buy the Kraft because it’s the cheapest!” Yes, she is blessed with a godly metabolism but certainly, her pastaholism would have her making the choice based on more advanced criteria than price?

It didn’t! For all the branding and all the mass marketing a macaroni manufacturer could possibly do, she bought bulk boxes solely on price.

The interesting thing is, after working in the insurance industry for the last twelve years and working as a partner at First Dive for the last three, I hear clients all the time making decisions on their insurance based on price. After all, purchasing dive insurance is every bit as enjoyable as standing in Costco debating pasta while children scream in your ears like gulls and other patrons pound your ankles with the squeaky wheels of shopping carts.

We had a low-key night that night. (There was probably a box or two of Kraft consumed between my girlfriend and my seven-year-old daughter.) I was lost in my head for a bit of it. After all, I was fairly consumed with an interesting topic.

Buying dive insurance is a lot like buying bulk pasta.

Finally, amidst an episode of Bloodline, I broke down and said “Babe, light of my life…” Right then she interjected and asked me why I was sucking up. “Planning on more parts for your Jeep, hey?”

“No!” I replied. “I just happened to notice that you wanted to buy Kraft instead of Annie’s because it was cheaper.”

“Yes,” she said. “Costco was nuts today. I don’t know why we always go on a Sunday.”

I agreed. I then went on my phone and looked up the ingredients list of both Kraft and Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese. There was roughly a two-dollar difference (or 20 percent of the total cost) in favor of Kraft.

From the ingredients list, there was a different kind of disparity. Kraft pasta is made from enriched and industrially sourced products. Annie’s dough is made of durum, wheat, and water, commonly found in normal pasta. The Kraft dough is what I would consider to be ‘fake’ and massively processed beyond any natural recognition.

When it came to the cheese a similar thing happened. Annie’s listed the ingredients, Kraft used enough jargon to remind me that spices often refer to MSG on food labels. This went on and on as I did my little bit of research.

My bottom line discovery was this though:

  • Neither product is especially healthy for you.
  • Both taste pretty good if boxed pasta is an itch you need scratched on occasion.
  • Kraft is cheaper.
  • Annie’s is about twenty percent more expensive but offers better ingredients. It also actually resembles ‘food.’

The crazy thing is that buying dive insurance is exactly the same thing.

It’s not a product that anyone wants to research. By nature, a dive instructor is an adventure seeker, an explorer, a pioneer, someone who lives with the wind at their back. Dive Insurance is flat out boring compared to actually scuba diving!

Pay the least amount and get that insurance out of the way so the adventure can begin, damnit. Let’s create some memories grand enough that they’ll flash before our eyes on our death beds and we’ll feel like we never wasted a moment. I like that because I understand wanderlust. Life is for the living. There’s enough bad stuff in the world that we don’t need to start second-guessing our pasta choices.

But for those who care to pay attention, the cost and value you get from various boxed pasta is not the same. In my mind, Annie’s is a better product. I wouldn’t mind feeding it to my seven-year-old daughter on a special occasion even if it costs twenty percent more than Kraft.

Your dive insurance is the same thing.

Debatably, the importance on your insurance is more so because we’re talking about money in the millions of dollars if the unspeakable happens (and it does more often than you’d like to think). Choosing the right macaroni might cause certain health benefits or detriments decades down the line if you eat enough of it. If you’re a dive instructor, you have the potential to be dealing with a very serious situation immediately.

  • Insurance is not a product you should buy solely on price.
  • Dive insurance is something you buy based on value.

You can buy one million dollars of insurance from just about anyone.

However, they will charge you an arm and a leg for additional coverage if you actually want an adequate amount.

At First Dive, we start at two million dollars of coverage for the same price as most offer one million. We can do that because we have decades of experience in insurance and more experience in diving. It’s a massive benefit to buying our insurance, but it needs to be explained as such, because no one else has priced their product that way. (They don’t want you to know about it — just like Spices really being MSG)

So, yes, buying insurance is very much like buying macaroni and yes, whether you choose to pay attention to these differences or not has certain consequences.

For myself and the rest of the team at First Dive, our job is to pay attention to those differences and explain those consequences. Even if it’s not something you want to hear. Even if it stands in the path of your wanderlust.

For the brokers we choose to distribute our dive product through, it’s their job too. We all have responsibilities to one another and our job is to help you make the best decision on what could be a very important product for you.

I’m chartered as a professional, very much like a dive instructor is considered a professional in their field. That means I can be sued based on advice I give to my clients. Bad advice and I could end up in court. If anyone of my clients calls me to ask how much liability insurance they should carry, I give the same flat answer:

“Buy the maximum amount you can afford or don’t buy any!”

  • Telling the truth about insurance is my job.
  • Your job is to keep your divers alive and unhurt because the sport is only fun when everyone comes back to talk about it.

What makes First Dive special is that, in a world of makeshift products, we feel we’re the cream of the crop and striving to be better still. But not everyone understands total cost versus value. (Most people don’t, or McDonald’s wouldn’t be in business).

We want to insure you properly, with the limits you need and the coverage that actually gives our product ‘value’ to you and your family. Not all insurance actually has value in a game where the stakes are so high. We don’t offer the option to buy less than two million dollars in liability coverage because we don’t think one million is good enough for our clients. Just like I don’t think fake food is good enough for my family.

Buying insurance is a lot like buying macaroni. I’ll speak for First Dive and say that if you care about getting the right coverage for yourself as much as you care about doing a good job training your students, or acting as a divemaster, then you’re a client we want. Here’s a link to our website where we offer a fully online method for applying for insurance.

Insurance is a product you only think of when you need it. At First Dive, there are at least two million reasons why you should talk to us first.

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