membership issuesJuly 28 2009 at 12:58 AM
|charles platt (Login cplatt)|
Response to funding and membership decision?
In most service industries, consumers can express their content or discontent by switching to a competitor. This is certainly true when you renew your car insurance, for instance. Unfortunately it is not so simple in cryonics. While you may measure someone's seriousness about cryonics by asking if the person has ever made arrangements, you cannot necessarily assume that someone is satisfied if he chooses to remain signed up. Personally I have expressed dissatisfaction by changing arrangements on two occasions, but this kind of mobility is vanishingly rare.
I joined Alcor around 1990 but quit when I was concerned by the inability of members to influence organization policy and by what I regarded as financial irregularities (which have since been resolved). I became a member of CryoCare until that ceased to exist. I rejoined Alcor when I started working for the organization, but left again a few years later when I was told I would have no right to ask for any particular standby team members if I were a terminal patient (I think this issue has now been resolved, at least to some extent). Currently I am a member of the Cryonics Institute but am pondering my situation because of some concerns about perfusion procedures.
It is an unfortunate aspect of cryonics that quitting an organization means that you may pay a lot more if you want to rejoin in the future. Currently this only applies to Alcor, where members have traditionally been allowed to remain indefinitely at the cryopreservation minimum which prevailed when they joined. Thus, some Alcor members have insurance with a face value of less than $50,000 for neuropreservation, but if they leave now and rejoin next week they will be required to have the current minimum insurance of $80,000. I have referred to this as the "inverse roach motel dilemma," referring to the old TV ads for roach traps where "roaches check in, but cannot check out." For those who cannot increase their insurance because of financial limitations or health or age issues, "Alcor members can check out but cannot check in." Note that Alcor has no formal policy of holding cryopreservation minimums at the rate which applied at signup, but minimums have never actually been raised for existing members.
SA has a formal policy of guaranteeing its fees only for, I think, two years, but so far has not required any increases from existing or new members.
CI has not changed its rates in decades, but one would assume that it will have to, sooner or later. At that time, I believe CI members will be in the same situation as Alcor members: If they leave, they will have to pay more to rejoin.
This is just one of many ways in which cryonics organizations are not consumer-driven. Another significant issue is that many members show little interest in learning the technical details affecting the quality of their own cryopreservation, and in the case of Alcor, the organization ceased publishing full case reports several years ago, so that members are unable to find out how well the organization performs even if they want to.
- Issues indeed - Finance Department on Jul 28, 2009, 1:23 AM
- Issues - Melody Maxim on Jul 31, 2009, 4:14 PM