A look at National Underwriter’s Dec. 31, 2007, “Top 10 Insurance Stories” reveals two stories that are positive, one or two that are neutral, and the rest that are negative. The bad news included the California wildfires (global warming), the IRS attack on captives, the Sicko attack on the health insurance industry, Governor Spitzer taking aim on the insurance industry (now a moot point?), Florida’s fight over property insurance rates, the debate over the renewal of the Terrorist Risk Insurance Act, and federal criticism of our industry. Little of it is new. A similar listing could have been carried over from 2006, or 2005, and probably could be carried forward to 2008. A few weeks before, NU was puzzling over whether the hurricane threat would “blow the roof off the New York market,” noting that Long Island agents are alarmed. It’s logical that Long Island is vulnerable to hurricanes. So, where are we headed? What are we doing? And where is our leadership?

The bigger question is, “Who will we elect as our new President this year?” Chances are that there may be a link between those negative insurance stories of 2007 and the answer to that question. Will we — both as a nation and as insurance consumers and employees — have leaders with foresight, with the strength to take unpopular positions and stand their grounds? Or will we be sidelined by a bunch of red-herring issues (like flag burning or prayer in schools) that have nothing to do with the realities of either the world we need to maintain or risk-spreading financial mechanisms?

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