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Who’s reading Spreading the Risks?

This book provides an authoritative account of how property and casualty insurance originated and developed as an indigenous business in America. A well-documented history, it is based on 13 years of research by industry insider and retired CEO Jack Bogardus. The book includes Notes on Sources by chapter, an extensive Bibliography and a comprehensive Index.

General Business

With the current “crisis of confidence” in corporate management, students of business will find that Spreading the Risks provides an instructive perspective on success and failure patterns typical of companies that have undergone rapid expansion and diversification. As a top executive in one of the world’s largest insurance brokerages, Jack Bogardus discusses how his company’s challenges with globalization foreshadowed problems plaguing some of today’s major corporations. In this context, he reports on his active participation in bringing some of the problems at Lloyd’s of London to public attention.

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Insurance Company Executives and Professionals

Spreading the Risks details the central role insurance has played in the development of indigenous business in the US. Told in an accessible and forthright style, it weaves a rich tapestry of historical developments that provides context for industry expansion, including changing distribution systems, globalization and the industry’s role in protecting the infrastructure of American enterprise. William Ferris, Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities (1997-2001) and Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill writes, “…Spreading the Risks will help both business professionals and general readers appreciate how the American insurance industry continues to secure our future.”

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Agents and Brokers

From the earliest days of insurance company formation in America, agents played an important role in arranging policies to protect against the risks of fire and personal safety. In the last half of the 19th century the value of brokers began to be acknowledged. Using his experiences and understanding of Alexander & Alexander as a metaphor for the business, Jack Bogardus chronicles moves by this and other brokers to gain representation in new geographic locales in the US, establish cross-border pairings with Canadian brokers, and formalize partnerships with brokers at Lloyd’s, as well as brokers’ global expansion.

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Risk Managers

Commercial development in the 19th and 20th century created unprecedented exposures to risk, including open-ended exposures such as asbestos, pollution and health-related liabilities. Spreading the Risks provides a compelling view of the role of risk management in a changing world. Risk managers will find a wealth of insight to the industry and to the origins of contemporary insurance practices.

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Risk Management Service Providers

In the last 30 years of the 20th century, changes in the view of risk management led to the pioneering of analytical statistics to apply quantitative methods, computer science and financial planning to risk management. Spreading the Risks traces the development of business’ response to the demands of an ever-more sophisticated and risk-conscious world.

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Teachers and Students

For those engaged in the study of risk management, US business history, the socio-economic development of America or American Studies, Spreading the Risks chronicles the role of the insurance industry in American life - from colonial times to the events of September 11, 2001 and industry controversies of 2004-2005. The changes brought by early exploration, expansion and commercial development created opportunities and risks. Emory Elliott, Distinguished Professor and Director, Center for Ideas and Society at the University of California, writes, “This overview engages the reader in a remarkable epic struggle. Filled with personal narratives and anecdotes of heroes and villains, Spreading the Risks, reveals the sometimes-fragile financial defense system created by an industry striving to protect millions of individuals. Every American should know this story.”

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