Your resident image smasher has the unfortunate luck of receiving a great number of insurance bills at the end of the year. There are bills for two autos, a homeowners’ policy, a personal articles floater, an umbrella policy, long-term care insurance and term life, in addition to excess medical coverage, the only other health insurance that hasn’t already been deducted from my paycheck. Between insurance and taxes — those are also due at year’s end — I sometimes think I’m single-handedly supporting both the insurance industry and the government. Then letters from charities begging for money start to come. I’d dearly love to feed starving children in Africa and India and save the crippled and homeless, and support public television and lobbyists for causes I believe in, but…. there’s nothing left in my till. Uncle Sam and the insurers got it all.

One of my last projects for the year was to write computerized educational courses, including two about insurance fraud. While I was at it, I rewrote the fraud chapter in the Casualty Insurance Claims text that Pat Magarick originally wrote in 1974, when the textbook was called Successful Handling of Casualty Claims.

Before he died in the 1990s, Pat was also writing for Claims, authoring the “P.M. Letter” column for many decades, even when this magazine was called Insurance Adjuster. When Eric Gilkey, our current editor, called me to advise of the passing of Phil Schreiner, I recalled all of the previous editors, Merle Gors and Bill Thorness, when this publication was produced in Seattle. Like Phil Schreiner, Gors was an old newspaper man. On my first visit to his office in Seattle, Merle was busy pounding out copy on an old Underwood typewriter. It wasn’t even an electric one. Today it would be considered an antique.

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