I'd imagine that there's a lot involved with bringing a new person into this world. No, no -- I don't mean that part, I mean the whole paperwork side of things. There's Social Security to set up, a .name domain to register, birth certificate, insurance -- especially insurance. With all those people feigning pregnancy and labor just to get a stay at the hospital and a complimentary "It's a Boy!" balloon, insurers need to be extra certain that childbirth claim resulted in a real child.

As the recent father of twin babies, Philip B. was relieved to learn that his employer's benefit provider, Sun Life Canada, made the insurance process really simple. Adding the little ones on the plan required no more than a phone call to provide birth dates, names, and that sort of thing. All seemed so easy, until the customer service rep realized what Philip was trying to do: "I'm sorry sir, but we need a different birth date for each of your kids."

"Uhh, er," Philip stuttered, rather puzzled, "they're twins? They were both born on the seventh of May, so they actually do have the same birth date."

"Oh yes, I understand," she said, "but our system cannot handle two people with the same last name born in the same month of the same year on the same plan."

Philip's jaw dropped. He inquired some more with the CSR to try understand how such a technical limitation could occur. It turns out that a new version of their software was installed that tracked each person's budget based on their last name, plan number, and month/year of birth. Hence, having two people born in the same month and year on one plan would cause all claims to be booked against one of the two's budget, risking a premature budget exhaustion.

We can only hope that, by now, Sun Life has corrected their new insurance system to account for the unfathomable concept of twins. But as of this day, for insurance purposes, Philip's kids are born a month apart, one on April 7 and the other on May 7. That, apparently, is much more fathomable.

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