Business & Finance: Insurance Half-Holiday

State insurance commissioner is in ordinary times a job much like the job of state bank commissioner: super-auditor to see that no one plays hocus-pocus with money that the public lays away for emergencies. The March bank holiday, which boosted bank commissioners to jobs approaching economic dictatorships, gave a similar boost to insurance commissioners. Runs on banks led to runs on life insurance companies (by policyholders who wanted to borrow on their policies or surrender them for cash) and runs on insurance companies led to an insurance half-holiday: death and disability benefits, matured endowments and annuities continued to be paid, but...

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