The Story of Life Insurance

The Story of Life Insurance

by Burton J. Hendrick

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Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original edition for your reading pleasure.It is also searchable and contains hyper-links to chapters.


Our author Burton Jesse Hendrick is a triple Pulitzer Prize winner...

...born in New Haven, Connecticut. While attending Yale University, Hendrick was editor of both "The Yale Courant" and "The Yale Literary Magazine"". He received his BA in 1895 and his master's in 1897 from Yale. After completing his degree work, Hendrick became editor of the "New Haven Morning News". In 1905, after writing for "The New York Evening Post" and "The New York Sun", he left newspapers and became a "muckraker" writing for "McClure's Magazine". His "The Story of Life-Insurance" expose appeared in McClure's in 1906. Following his career at McClure's, Hendrick went to work in 1913 at "Walter Hines Page's World's Work"" magazine as an associate editor. In 1919, Hendrick began writing biographies, when he was the ghostwriter of "Ambassador Morgenthau's Story" for Henry Morgenthau, Sr.

He won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for "The Victory at Sea" which he co-authored with William Sowden Sims, the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for "The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page" and again in 1929 for "The Training of An American". Hendrick wrote the "Age of Big Business" in 1919, using a series of individual biographies, as an enthusiastic look at the foundation of the corporation in America and the rapid rise of the United States as a world power.


Publisher's Note

The following articles were undertaken at the request of the editors of McClure's Magazine, in which periodical they were first published. They represent an attempt to describe, in clear and accurate terms, the causes that led to the insurance scandals of 1905-06. Necessarily such an exposition took historical form, for the evils disclosed by the Armstrong Investigating Committee had existed for many years. Necessarily also, any adequate explanation involved a discussion of life-insurance principles, for it was the abandonment and perversion of sound life-insurance ideas that made possible the dishonest and extravagant use of life-insurance funds. The articles are republished in book form, practically as written, because they have been generally accepted, by both the professional and non-professional reader, as the most successful attempt made to elucidate a difficult subject, and because it is believed that they contain a large amount of historical material which has permanent value and which is unobtainable in any other form.


An excerpt from the beginning of:

Chapter I, The Surplus: The Basis of Corruption

For the last thirty-five years a constant warfare has waged in the United States between the good and the bad in life insurance. On one side have ranged honesty, economy, and fair and liberal treatment of the insured; on the other, dishonesty, extravagance, and absolute disregard of policy-holders' rights. Certain companies have treated life insurance as a great beneficent institution, organized for the purpose of protecting the weak and the dependent against adverse fortune; others have regarded it largely as a convenient contrivance for enriching the few men who happened to have usurped control.

In this thirty-five years the history of American life insurance has been one of progressive degeneration. The people have forgotten the old ideals; have persistently abandoned good life insurance and taken up with bad. They have for the larger part ignored the teachings of our great American leaders—men like Elizur Wright, of Massachusetts, the originator of nearly everything that is best in the American system, Jacob L. Greene, of Hartford; and Amzi Dodd, of New Jersey, and have sought the leadership of men who have degraded the whole institution. They have thus displaced the United States from the world leadership in life insurance which it formerly held, and have made what was one of our greatest claims to national distinction the cause of what is, in many ways, our most shameful national scandal.

To show this deterioration in quality we need not necessarily look far. The most popular companies, indeed, have largely ceased to do a life-insurance business at all. If you study the literature they circulate, you will find the life-insurance feature of their contract only incidentally mentioned. They talk little about protection of one's family, but much about savings banks, investments, guaranteed incomes, five per cent Consols, and gold bonds. They ask you to buy their policies, not that thereby you may provide financial protection for your dependents, but that you may thereby reap financial advantage yourself. They appeal, not to your sense of responsibility, but to your cupidity. They preach life insurance, not as a boon to the poor and the defenceless, but to the fortunate and the rich....

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013077287
Publisher: Leila's Books
Publication date: 09/01/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 562 KB

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