If youve gotten this far with this weeks National Underwriter, then youve noticed something has changed.

Your first reaction may be, “Hey, didnt these guys just change the magazine recently?” Actually, it was 3 years and 2 months agoat the beginning of the 21st Centurythat we radically redesigned the magazine, going to a cover story format in a Business Week size.

What youre holding in your hands right now is not so radical a change as the one 3 years ago, but something more along the lines of a freshening up of the design and approach that you have responded to very positively indeed. Much of the impetus for this comes from Andy Goodenough, CEO of the National Underwriter Company, who took the helm of the company last October. Andys credo is, however well were doing (and were doing quite well, thank you) we can always add more to the value proposition for our readers.

Things have been very exciting at NUCO in the last few months. Weve been challenged to rethink how we fulfill the mission of our individual products. This redesign is part of how weve responded to that challenge.

To that end, youll see that weve done a bit of rearranging in the Life & Health newsweekly. News and trend stories that were tucked in the back before are now up front. Were talking about legislative activity in Washington, regulatory developments at the NAIC and reaction from industry trade groups. Were talking about mergers and acquisitions, industry sales stats and important court decisions. This is stuff that everyone in the business needs to know. And youll find these stories presented with more graphics and accompanied by bite-size pieces of information that tell you at a glance what is going on.

Most weeks youll find the cover story features starting a little further back in the magazine than they have been. So, if thats what you want to read first and foremost, then take a card and “Go directly to page 12.”

What hasnt changed is our unparalleled coverage of the business in ways that connect directly to your daily experience and your plans for the future. Our producer readers have come to expect that when we feature themes such as Annuities or Succession Planning or Long Term Care Products or Upscale Market Focus, they will get a kaleidoscope of information, advice and insight that will help them grow their business. This has not changed. If anything, we think youll find that we have intensified our approach. Our company readers know that nowhere else will they be kept so current about those market and product trends that are full-fledged now and those that are just beginning to peek over the horizon.

Our weekly in-depth coverage is complementedfor paid subscribersby our comprehensive daily news updates that keep you informed of what is happening in the business literally as its happening. If you havent checked this out yet, I suggest you do. Most days youll find anywhere from 10 to 15 items ranging from the latest developments on Capitol Hill to who was promoted where. Weve been told its an invaluable resourceand we modestly agree.

. Were told that all the time. But many of us have trouble adjusting to change. Just when things seem settled, somebody goes and makes a change, and we have to adjust. But most times it turns out to be a positive experience.

It reminds me of the McDonalds commercial plugging its all white meat Chicken McNuggets. Young kids are at a birthday party ready to dig into the McNuggets, when one of the kids says, “They changed the McNuggets.” Looks of consternation on the faces of the 9-year-olds: “Why would they change the McNuggets?” Then the birthday boy bites into one. Everyones on tenterhooks, waiting for the verdict. He smiles and says, “.” Then they all dig in with gusto.

We hope that when youve had a taste of our newly redesigned Underwriter, youll agree that “.”

Let me know what you think. You can e-mail me at spiontek@nuco.com with your comments and reactions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Steve Piontek
Editor-in-Chief


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, February 27, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved. Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.