Skip to main content

It is with regret that we bring you the news that Hank George died peacefully on 10 January, aged 77. He had been in declining health for some time although, characteristically, he had been active professionally almost to the last.

In the world of life insurance underwriting, not just in America but around the globe, Hank was a veritable tour de force, renowned for his encyclopaedic knowledge of insurance medicine, his passion for fair risk assessment, his vocal opposition to outdated underwriting practices, and his tireless championing of underwriters and the underwriting profession.

His career began at Northwestern Mutual (which firm Hank referred to as his ‘alma mater’), where he quickly found his métier in the underwriting department. After periods in senior positions at Manulife, Lincoln National and LabOne, in 2002 he set up his own consulting firm, Hank George Inc, famous inter alia for its market reports and surveys, its Continuing Education Program (Hank believed that continuing professional development for underwriters is simply essential), its underwriting study groups, the Insurtell website (a digest of articles from various sources) and, of course, Hot Notes, another digest of journal articles, news items and suchlike, but peppered with Hank’s typically pithy comments and opinions.

His list of achievements is almost endless. Here are a few:

  • Founder and first editor, On the Risk
  • Founder and Chair, International Underwriting Congress
  • President, Home Office Life Underwriters Association
  • Founder of five local underwriting associations
  • Author/co-author of five books
  • Author of hundreds of press and journal articles
  • Regular columnist.

Hank’s fierce belief in what he considered right and proper made him a controversial figure from time to time. But even his (usually temporary) detractors could but admire his determination and his passion, and willingly acknowledge his achievements – and, with hindsight, his vision.

At SelectX we will remember fondly the many joint projects over the years with Hank George Inc, and especially Hank’s sagacity, honesty, loyalty, wicked sense of humour and friendship. We will miss this true underwriting giant. The epithet ‘legend in his own lifetime’ is actually, in Hank’s case, entirely fitting. And, doubtless, the legend will live on for some time yet.

Henry C (Hank) George, rest in peace.