Hi, everyone. Bill Coffin here. I am the Group Editorial Director of Summit’s insurance media, which includes both editions of National
Underwriter, Claims, and Retirement Advisor. I also oversee our digital efforts, which are the core of our business, and which include LifeHealthPro, PropertyCasualty360 and ProducersWEB.
Some of you might have read an editorial we cross-posted from a sister site, BenefitsPro that was entitled “The Hobby Lobby Ruling
Should be Aborted,” by Denis Story. Denis is my friend and colleague. I enjoy his writing, which is nothing, if not provocative. And while I disagree with a fair bit of Denis’ personal politics, I found common cause with him on the Hobby Lobby ruling because I feel that the ruling sets a dangerous precedent for any company to shirk any federal law it chooses to, if it reads from the Constitution narrowly enough. An example I raised was Smith & Wesson choosing to not pay any taxes because doing so ultimately infringes upon citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms. It is a silly example to some, but not so much to others.
It also has not a whole lot to do with the business of insurance. Nor does it have a whole lot to do with the reason why the members of the ProducersWEB community visit this site, publish on it, and comment on each other’s activity. This is a community dedicated to discussing the business of selling life and health insurance, and at the end of the day, discussing the Hobby Lobby case might have some applicability to our editorial mission, but not enough to merit its publication when all it has done is generate an extraordinary outpouring of negative feedback. So, I have pulled the editorial – and the comment stream that went with it – from the site.
To those of who you took the time to comment on the story, I apologize for removing your comments from ProducersWEB. This action wasn’t meant to muzzle you, but unfortunately, we can’t take down a piece of content without taking down the conversation that is attached to it. It reminds one of a saying about making omelets, I suppose.
As for the editorial itself, we received no small number of complaints about it, ranging from simple disagreement with Denis’ points and how he made them, to flat-out promises to unsubscribe from ProducersWEB. On behalf of myself and my editorial team, I apologize. The mission of ProducersWEB is to provide an area where you, the professionals of the life/health world, can come together and discuss your craft and the larger issues that drive it. When we chose outside content to publish on the site, we do so in the interest of generating discussion within the community, the kind of discussion that gets one to think about their profession critically, and perhaps come up with the next big idea that might help them take their business to the next level. Creating shouting matches is not part of our mission. We did not intend to do so by running the Hobby Lobby editorial, and yet, that’s what resulted anyway.
I want to assure you all that going forward, we will make an extra effort to ensure that the third-party content that runs on ProducersWEB is pertinent to our core audience, addresses the core issues of the life/health distribution business, and is constructive in nature. We thank you all for your continued presence on ProducersWEB, and for your comments and authorship. And as always, if there is ever an issue you’d like to raise concerning this site, its authors and its community, please feel free to contact me directly at any time.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an editorial of my own to write about long-term care insurance. My wife just finished Terry Pratchett’s latest novel and it’s clear that the author – who is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease – has gotten to the point where he no longer has the faculties he once did. It is very sad to see, and frankly, one wonders why his publishers even put the book to market. But it also underscores a very real need for LTC insurance, especially now that some 10,000 boomers are turning 65 every single day. I hope you’ll all read my editorial – and the others we publish here, and keep your comments coming. This is a wonderful community, and every voice within it is worth hearing. So please, be heard.
All the best,
Group Editorial Director