Insurance Chat with Bill Bailey|
William E. Bailey 68
It was midnight in Miami. Saddam Hussein had just invaded Iraq and radios hummed with local late night talk shows. In one sound booth sat fill-in host William E. Bailey 68 gabbing away with callers. The insurance industry spokesman recalls having so much fun that he considered creating his own show aimed at helping consumers understand insurance issues.
Sooner than he imagined Bailey launched "Its Your Money (What are you going to do with it?)" on The Talk America Network. The show, first called "Lets Talk Insurance" until friends persuaded him to use a catchier title, began in 1994 on six stations. Today it covers all financial services and is broadcast weekly on Sunday on more than 85 stations (noon to 2 p.m. EST) as well as live on the Internet.
Guests dispense the practical advice on the show. "I think of them as expert witnesses and the audience as jurors," says Bailey, who began his legal career at Hale and Dorr in Boston. Two years later he joined the law firm of his brother, F. Lee Bailey. Shortly thereafter he joined Commercial Union Insurance Company where he became vice president and senior claims counsel.
The radio show is part of Baileys outreach as special counsel to the Insurance Information Institute, the trade association of the property and casualty industry. In that role he spent 15 months as codirector of the Hurricane Insurance Information Center in Miami. There he supervised a communications office assisting people in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew.
The catastrophe changed the history of the insurance industry, says Bailey. "The industry used to pay claims and move on but our [Hurricane Andrew] customers were irate when we gave them their checks and said goodbye. We learned that once you have a catastrophe of that size, well stay until the job is finished."
In July the Insurance Marketing Communications Association recognized Bailey with its annual Golden Torch Award for his efforts to improve public understanding of insurance issues.
And one way Bailey does just that is by following his own conscience: "If an insurers way of handling a claim isnt reflective of the way the industry should or would handle it, Ill be outspoken."