Heartland Institute's Washington Unit Mulls Split from Chicago-Based Parent

WASHINGTON—The Heartland Institute and its insurance-centric Washington unit are negotiating a divorce, a process said to be accelerated by distress over the institute’s now-suspended ad campaign linking support for global warming with serial killers.

Several members of the Washington-based Heartland Center for Finance, Insurance and Real Estate confirmed today that lawyers for the two sides are negotiating a split, and that it is imminent.

The Heartland Institute is based in Chicago; the Washington unit is highly regarded by the insurance industry and serves both as a resource and database on catastrophe issues.

One source acknowledged that the Washington unit had been considering separating from the parent Heartland for some time, but that the decision of several of its key supporters to suspend funding because of the ad campaign accelerated the process.

“Before this, there was talk, but only talk, of separating,” one source at the Washington office said. “But the decision of our sponsors to withdraw obviously forced our hand.”

Insurance companies withdrew support after the Heartland Institute’s billboard campaign that sparked controversy by comparing those who believe in global warming to Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. Similar billboards featuring Charles Manson and Osama Bin Laden were planned, but Heartland suspended the ad campaign after widespread condemnation, including strong criticism from its supporters.  

Industry members withdrawing support for the Heartland Institute include the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers—which represents 22 Bermuda-based companies—State Farm, XL Group, Allied World Assurance and, according to an SNL Financial story, RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd and USAA.

In ABIR’s letter to Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast Friday, Bradley Kading, ABIR president, said the Bermuda association would “disavow” its ties with Heartland.

Kading says ABIR’s action was done independently, and that ABIR did not know at the time the letter was written about a campaign by Forecast the Facts to force large companies to drop out of Heartland.

Forecast the Facts took credit for ABIR’s decision in a press release Tuesday. It says it is an organization “dedicated to ensuring that Americans are accurately informed about climate change.”

Insurers use Heartland’s Washington unit as part of their efforts to expand market-based solutions to catastrophe issues, including providing a role for reinsurers in funding the National Flood Insurance Program.

Heartland has experts on staff who closely track federal and state efforts to deal with flood and catastrophe issues, including state-based earthquake and windstorm funds.

It has satellite offices in Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Columbus, Ohio.

Its key Washington personnel include Eli Lehrer, who heads the Washington unit, and Ray Lehmann, deputy director.

While Heartland’s Washington unit is focused on financial and insurance issues, global warming is apparently a primary issue with Heartland officials in Chicago.

On its website, Heartland claims that “the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen” who are “willing to break the law and the rules of ethics to shut down scientific debate and implement their left-wing agendas.”  


Resource Center

View All »

Contractors General Liability Coverage 102

What is a prior work exclusion? Which option is right for my client? Why do...

Sign up today to get a 50% matching credit -...

Insurance marketing sometimes seems like it's a game of swings and misses, but we're here...

Guide: 5 Steps to Selling Cyber

Cyber risk and data security is on the agenda of every business owner and executive....

Citation Correlation

Do rigger and signalperson qualifications correlate with the cause of crane and rigging accidents? ...

Complete Guide to Electronic Signatures in Property & Casualty Insurance...

In property and casualty insurance, closing new business quickly is key. Learn how to leverage...

INSTANT ACCESS: Complimentary Sales Closer Questionnaires

Help property owners or managers compare your commercial residential property insurance coverage vs. the competition....

Determining Vacant Property Perils and Valuations

Are your clients fully covered for Vacant Properties? In this economic climate, your insureds may...

Risk Management for Law Firms

This package of 3 concise risk management articles offers straightforward content and practical suggestions law...

Guide: Top 15 E&O Risks-And How To Avoid Them

Accidents happen. But when it's an errors and omissions oversight, that accident can open your...

We'll Show You How to Reach Your Sales Goals

Whether you work alone or have a team of agents working for you, we can...

Risk Management Report eNewsletter

Identify problems involving emerging risks, reinsurance, and business interruption with help from Risk Management Report - FREE. Sign Up Now!

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.