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The year 1953 was exciting. GIs were finishing up their college careers on the GI Bill, graduating as lawyers, businessmen, and other professionals. The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System was being planned, and with the auto industry re-tooling from war production, Americans were busy seeing the U.S.A. in their Chevrolets, Fords, and Plymouths. The automobile had replaced trolley cars on the interurbans for local travel, and airliners—the DC-3s, Martins, Boeing Stratacruisers and Lockheed Constellations—were digging into the passenger train business. Rural Americans were flocking to the big cities, and U.S. industries stepped-up production of consumer goods.

In 1959, some six years after Herbert H. Kirschner started this magazine, I worked as a title insurance abstractor, the guy who looked up deeds, liens, and mortgages in dusty old books in the Cuyahoga County Courthouse. A journalism major, I began working at The Wall Street Journal’s Cleveland publishing plant 2 years later, with the fancy title of “wire editor.” This meant I ran copy and a bank of teletype machines 8 hours a day, or until the last edition rolled off the presses. (I also carried a full schedule at Case Western Reserve University.) The man I replaced on that job, also a college student, was Phil Schreiner, whom I later encountered as my editor at Claims Magazine. Then came Vietnam and a draft notice. Welcome to the First Infantry Division:“The Big Red One!”

Well, it hasn’t quite been 60 years since a career in insurance and journalism came together for me, but they have been wonderful years. With insurance touching so many lives, it’s always surprising how few people understand the basic principles. Perhaps that has been our biggest failure. Insurance—especially claims—is, or at least should be, a valuable profession, like law, medicine, or accounting.

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