It's easy to define what manufacturers produce and sell. Toy makers make toys. Auto manufacturers make cars. Pharmaceutical companies make drugs. But what do insurance companies do?

Essentially, they sell a promise: to cover policyholders when they suffer a loss. Whether it's helping a family that has lost its home in a fire, a car in a wreck, or a loved one to a disease, keeping the promise to indemnify people quickly is known as the "moment of truth" for insurance companies.

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