OLD Media Moves

Legendary insurance journalist Belth is retiring

October 15, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Joe Belth, who has written the investigative newsletter The Insurance Forum for the past 40 years and won a Polk Award in 1991 for his work, is retiring at the end of the year.

Darla Mercado of Investment News writes, “The publication has been necessary reading for journalists who cover the insurance industry, but it’s also a staple for analysts, regulators, insurance company executives and advisers who appreciate delving into the more-complex issues pertinent to life insurers.

“‘Dr. Belth understands [insurance] better than anyone else,’ said Larry J. Rybka, president and chief executive of ValMark Securities Inc. ‘He’s been a personal mentor and someone I look up to enormously.’

“Mr. Belth started his newsletter after running into censorship issues with insurance trade publications.

“‘I couldn’t even write letters to the editor on companies’ deceptive sales tactics — I couldn’t get those letters printed because it would’ve been frowned upon by the company,’ he said. ‘The censorship I encountered were classic examples of self-censorship: The editor decides he doesn’t want to antagonize the insurance company.’

“Indeed, The Insurance Forum has no advertising in it; the newsletter is funded by paid subscriptions.

“It’s hard to imagine there being such thing as a history book of the insurance industry, but Mr. Belth’s newsletter comes pretty close.”

Read more here. As someone who covered the insurance industry in the 1990s, I revered Belth and his work.



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