Home » Finance » Insurance

The Crash of 1929 and Its Effect on Life Insurance

Sep 15, 2008
Soon after Mr. Ecker took the helm of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Leroy A. Lincoln, at the age of 49, was made Vice President. He had come into the company in 1918, and in little more than a decade had demonstrated his capacity to handle a variety of complicated administrative problems.

He had a broad and intimate knowledge of the entire insurance business, having previously served as Counsel to the New York State Insurance Department. He brought to his duties not only a keen analytical mind but also a warm sympathy for the men in the field, and special enthusiasm for the social service program of the organization. When, in March 1936, Mr. Ecker became Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Lincoln succeeded to the Presidency, continuing the policies of his predecessor in office.

Frederick H. Ecker became president of the company at a period which then looked to many like a "Golden Era." All business was at a high peak, and the Metropolitan shared in the general prosperity. Toward the close of this period many people seriously believed that a new order of living had arrived in America and that prosperity, along with low cost life insurance (http://www.equote.com/li/term-life-insurance.html), was to go on forever.

One measure of this buoyant state was the rise in prices of common stocks, particularly those dealt in on Exchanges. Under such promising conditions, it is not surprising that common stocks were seriously urged as suitable investments even for life insurance companies; and one or two companies not subject to the restrictions of the New York Law purchased sizable blocks of well selected common stocks for their portfolios.

It was at this juncture, in September 1929, that President Ecker, in an address before the National Association of Life Underwriters at Washington, analyzed the proposal that life insurance funds be put into common stocks, and took a firm position against such "investments" by the life insurance companies. There were some who challenged his position; but not long after Mr. Ecker's address had been published and put into circulation there came, in October 1929, the first of the Stock Exchange crashes. His judgment as to the dangers of common stock investments for life insurance companies was vindicated almost overnight.

The full import of this disaster was little understood at the moment. It was not for weeks and months that the country came to understand that its entire economy had suffered a shock which could not be overcome for years. As the first overturns in the Stock Exchange deepened into a well defined national depression, the life insurance companies shared the difficulties of the times with other financial institutions.

Large numbers of people lost their savings on the Exchanges. Many banks closed their doors, foreclosures increased rapidly, and employment began to drop sharply. As a consequence, many people borrowed on their policies, whether it was individual health insurance or life insurance to obtain the cash which they could find through no other source. This situation was further complicated by moratoria on policy loans and surrenders enforced in a majority of the States--limitations which were not sought by the Metropolitan.

The company continued to make all payments where no restrictions existed, and met every obligation as soon as the curbs were lifted. During the decade from 1930 to 1939 the Metropolitan paid out well in excess of $5,000,000,000 to life insurance policies (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX8KnHM4qKg) or beneficiaries. These payments saved from the ignominy of public relief many thousands of individuals who had set up their own protective plans through insurance during more prosperous years. Contemporary with the efforts of the Federal Government to afford relief to the destitute members of the population, they certainly lightened the public burden.
About the Author
Sarah Martin is a freelance marketing writer specializing in the history of business, finance, individual health insurance, and life insurance. For more information on life insurance policies or for no medical exam life insurance, please visit http://www.equote.com.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 131
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources