The Industry Responds
Confronted with the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history, the nation has responded with all its heart. And it is gratifying to see that the life insurance business is right up there in terms of contributions and other ways of bringing relief to the thousands and thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina.
You can check out what individual companies and associations are doing in the breaking news section of our Web site at www.lifeandhealthinsurancenews.com. The list of the life and health community responses to Katrina has been updated regularly since the giant storm hit and it grows longer with each passing day.
Many companies are donating at least $1 million to relief organizations like the American Red Cross and many in addition are matching contributions that their employees make to relief efforts.
Many companies are waiving premium payment deadlines on policies for anywhere from 60 to 90 days.
Some insurers have been directly affected by the storm, having been headquartered in New Orleans or other cities hard hit. Pan-American Life, for instance, has moved to temporary offices in Baton Rouge. Located only about a mile or so from the Superdome, Pan-American’s 28-story headquarters had windows blown out of the top floors and experienced some flooding, a spokesman told Jim Connolly about a week after the hurricane blew through. At that point about one-third of the insurer’s employees had been contacted.
Many insurance producers in the area were affected by the storm and are now without homes or offices or both. The associations that these producers belong to have rallied around their stricken members and launched relief and fund-raising efforts on their behalf.