Maryland Insurance Companies Must Disclose Slave Policies

A new piece of legislation just signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley requires insurance companies doing business in Maryland to disclose any policies the companies issued to slave owners. By April 1, 2012, the State Insurance Commissioner will issue a report containing the data developed during that search. Owners of slaves would insured their slaves against death or injury. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Lisa A. Gladden said: “As a genealogist and someone interested in my own history, this allows me to look at records that perhaps are not public records and that are held by insurance companies.”The bill unanimously passed the General Assembly this year and was not opposed by the insurance industry. Similar provisions have been enacted in other states.

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