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Life Health > Life Insurance

Goodbye/Hello: Where Did Go?

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Summit Business Media is shifting the news that has been flowing at to this portal site.

The news produced by the National Underwriter Life & Health staff is now appearing with content from our sister publications, Life Insurance Selling and Senior Market Advisor, on a service that offers more news, better pictures, better tools for readers who want to comment (and blog!), and fully staffed Twitter feeds that will keep the tweets coming.

National Underwriter Life & Health, the parent of this site, has gone through many changes since E. Jay Wohlgemuth founded it in 1897.

When I got here, in 1996, I had a regularly updated website. National Underwriter did not.

To use the Internet, I had to go in back and divert a phone cable from the fax machine.

Then we got new computers, with built-in fiber-optic Internet connections. The editor at the time, Steve Piontek, asked me to start a Web news service around February 2001, and he promised that we’d post just 8 very short briefs per day. We posted a number of briefs about how excited life insurance companies were to have put up websites of their own.

Posting life insurance news on the Web seemed like an esoteric experiment until Sept. 11, 2001. I got out of the subway station that morning and stood around the block from our office in Hoboken, N.J., at the intersection of Observer Highway and River Street, and watched smoke billow where the Twin Towers were supposed to be. I thought the towers were somewhere behind the smoke. Soon, I learned that the towers were not, in fact, still there, and we started using the Web to post whatever shreds of information we could find about the workers from MetLife, from the NAIC, from Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and from Marsh & McLennan & Companies Inc. who had turned up safe — and later, about the workers who had not turned up safe.

National Underwriter Life & Health covers people who beat their heads against brick walls trying to get past people’s reluctance to grapple with all of the unexpected, and expected, things that can happen. Suddenly, our own readers were affected by an event out of an actuary’s book of interesting but unlikely scenarios. Since then, our webite has outgrown one home, at, and now the home at

I’m managing the health channel here, and, if you’re reading this, it looks as if you’ve already clicked your way over here. Hope you’ve bookmarked the site.

And, to those of you who are active in the life and health insurance industry: thank you for reading the earlier incarnations of the site and for your efforts to help people prepare for change.

“Everything takes longer and costs more,” and everything is harder and more complicated, but you’re out there doing what you can, and that’s a lot. What we do matters because what you do matters.


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