Recruitment Is the Real Issue
Industry journalists, myself included, spill a lot of ink on issues du jour like modernizing state regulation, enacting an optional federal charter, and fashioning a national catastrophe insurance program. But when all is said and done, the overriding meat-and-potatoes concern of agents and brokers is talent--how to find it, how to hold it, how to bend it to your will. Without this critical component, nothing else matters.
Four years ago, when Eliot Spitzer was a high-flying attorney general of the state of New York, he single-handedly pierced the disgraceful bubble of bid-rigging and double-dipping that had become par for the course for the Big Three megabrokers, most notably Marsh, but also Aon and Willis.
A Federation of Angst
The decades-long debate over whether the insurance business should be regulated by the states, the U.S. government or both seems at long last to be coming to a head and moving inevitably in the direction of some federal role in the industry's affairs. Some are hooting and some are howling over that prospect.
New Captain Boards USS Marsh
As the agent-broker world well knows, veteran insurance executive Brian Duperreault is the new man at the helm of the troubled Marsh & McLennan Cos., to the delight of analysts who were critical of his predecessor, Michael Cherkasky, who was consequently tossed overboard. Cherkasky succeeded Jeffrey Greenberg as captain of the USS Marsh.
Duperreault to the Rescue
As the agent-broker world well knows, veteran insurance executive Brian Duperreault is the new CEO at the helm of the troubled Marsh & McLennan Companies, to the delight of analysts who were critical of his predecessor, Michael Cherkasky, who was consequently tossed overboard.
Learn From Vince Lombardi
This year's Super Bowl calls to mind the philosophy of Vince Lombardi, the late and legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers. Lombardi in his playing days was also a member of Fordham's famed "Seven Blocks of Granite" and later served as an assistant coach with the New York Giants, who this year won the championship trophy which bears his name.
John Cosgrove Had It Right
My mentor John Cosgrove, the former editor of National Underwriter, was until the day he died a few years back at age 94, at least to the few of us like myself still around to remember, the acknowledged dean of American insurance journalists.
Business Looks Beyond Bush
As always, the start of a new year is a time for reflection on the events of the past year and of those yet to come. It's time to turn the page and to begin seriously addressing those rosy resolutions you adopted for 2008--like read and exercise more, eat and drink less, and fix that dilapidated screen door and paint the back room. Most of them, let's face it, will fade with early spring blooms.
Mutually Exclusive Terms
Comedian George Carlin still performs a hilarious routine on "mutually exclusive terms." The most famous, I guess, is "military intelligence." Having served in military intelligence myself, I took this personally, though amusedly.
Baseball Banter Beats Brokers
For the baseball fans among you, we're well into the silly season as I write this, the dog days of August--deadlines of monthly magazines being what they are--when we sit in the cheap seats shelling peanuts and swapping statistics and tales about who was better or best in the annals of the game. Most of these are essentially meaningless, of course, but delightful nonetheless.
The Mouse (Finally!) Squeaks
Wonder of wonders, the Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc., the largest contingent of risk managers in the world, at the behest of members who grew weary of its foot-dragging on the matter, has finally weighed in with a somewhat hard line on the insurance broker compensation scandal. Why it took three years to do so and why it took pressure on the leadership from impatient members to provoke action after all that time is of course an open question. In any event, this in part is what RIMS is now saying:
Small Notes From the Big I
It's a curious affair these days. Time was when the "Big I"--officially the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America--was one, make that two, of the major meetings of the insurance convention year: a spring legislative conference in the nation's capital and a sprawling fall convention in various venues around the country.