The Vision Thing

By | June 21, 2004

As I write this Editor’s Note, the casket carrying our 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan, is winding its way to its final resting place near the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The timing seems somehow fitting considering this edition’s cover story on entertainment insurance, given that Reagan’s first success came as an actor in Hollywood. Presidents, prime ministers and Supreme Court justices eulogized the late president, but is a eulogy in order for the marketplace for entertainment venue risks in the era of terrorism? West Managing Editor Cynthia Beisiegel considers the question.

Of course, Reagan was not only an actor in such second-tier fare as 1951’s Bedtime for Bonzo, he was a native son of Illinois—a man whose values and vision were etched in part by his Heartland rearing. Which is why it seems fitting that this edition of Insurance Journal debuts a new regular feature, Regional Focus, in which Joseph Petrelli—president of the Columbus, Ohio-based actuarial firm Demotech Inc.—examines the financial stability of a few smaller regional and niche insurers at a time.

Also featured in this edition is a look at the Wisconsin insurance marketplace, including coverage of the Badger State’s recent Big I annual convention and profiles of two outstanding domestic mutual insurers, West Bend and SECURA. International Editor Charles E. Boyle gets back on the street with a look at the latest twists and turns in products liability law, while contributor Richard Krunz explains how the softening market will affect the premium finance industry.

Meanwhile, National Editor Andrea Ortega-Wells reports on state regulators’ attempts to keep the feds at bay by moving, albeit slowly, to modernize insurance regulation. While Reagan didn’t deliver all he promised in the area of deregulation, if anyone could have seen how stifling the state patchwork of anti-competitive regulation is to the delivery of insurance products to consumers, it would have been the Gipper. At the same time, he was no fan of the federal government.

“Government is not the solution to our problems,” Reagan often said. “Government is the problem.” Whether he would have figured a clear way out of this regulatory morass is of course unknowable, but it’s tempting to wonder what his vision of a proper framework would be were he still president.

Before I bid adieux, I’d like to note that IJ Midwest has a new staff writer, Dawn Love, who will help to assemble the departments such as People & Places, Newsbriefs and Business Moves. Her generous assistance leaves me in the kind of debt which cannot quickly be repaid. Thanks also go to Ms. Beisiegel, along with Ms. Love, for her stellar proofreading of this and every issue of IJ Midwest. Finally, I’m much obliged to Senior Design Manager Chris Johnson for his seemingly inexhaustible patience come deadline time.

Thanks to all of them, and thanks to you for reading!

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Insurance Journal West June 21, 2004
June 21, 2004
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