The following tribute to the late Philip A. Hart, United States Senator from Michigan, should be unnecessary. Unfortunately, due to the 1973 hearings on the life insurance industry in the U.S. Senate's Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly, of which he was chairman, it has become fashionable, in life insurance circles, to hear Philip Hart referred to contemptuously. Understanding, as we do, that the agents who fall prey to this sort of mass psychology do so from ignorance, we feel compelled to recall some facts about this man.

Philip Hart graduated from West Philadelphia Catholic High School and went to Georgetown University. At Georgetown University he was president of the student body and he graduated cum laude. He went on to law school at the University of Michigan and received his J.D. degree. When World WarII began he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army. During the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 4, 1944, he was wounded. He rejoined his division in December and was discharged in 1946 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was decorated with the Bronze Star with clusters, Invasion Arrowhead, Purple Heart and the French Croix de Guerre.

He helped to lead the legislative battles to end bigotry and he was in the forefront of the fight to aid consumers. He grew a beard, the only one in the Senate in his time, at the request of his six children as a token of solidarity with the youth of America. Upon leaving the Senate in 1976 Philip Hart said that during the years he spent in the Senate, "We . . . spent for our "security" God knows how many hundreds of billions of dollars ... Would we be less secure if we had spent ten percent of it on food and medical schools and other social needs?"

He missed, due to hospitalization for cancer treatments, the early sessions of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearings which detailed the abuses of the FBI and the CIA. However, when he made his first appearance and heard testimony about the FBI's actions against Martin Luther King and against others who had been openly critical of official policies, he moved most of his colleagues and his audience deeply with a monologue stating that his children had been right in the 1960's to claim, over his protests, that the government was trampling the rights of citizens.

Throughout his 18 years in the Senate, Philip Hart was not a fiery orator or a seeker of sensational headlines. Yet it was a measure of the esteem in which the gentle, slightly built man was held by his colleagues that in August 1976, the Senate named its new Senate Building under construction near the Capitol, the Philip A. Hart Office Building.

The Senate majority leader, Mike Mansfield of Montana was asked on his last day in the Senate who had been the most outstanding Senator he had met. Without a pause, Mr. Mansfield replied: "Philip Hart. He is a man of great courage, great compassion, great determination. Don't be fooled by the exterior. He's a man of steel. He's a man who is modest, a real back-bencher."

"In debate his voice almost never shook the rafters here", said Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. "He preferred to use his words to shake our conscience and our votes. He never had an axe to grind, but he always cut through every issue to find the truth and open it up for all of us to see." President-elect Jimmy Carter praised Senator Hart as "a man of unquestionable integrity. He exemplified the highest of moral and ethical standards in public service. He was a friend of the American consumer and a tireless worker against injustice."

In 1973, as we have mentioned, the U.S. Senate subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly heard testimony on the insurance industry. The total oral testimony and "Material Submitted for the Record" covers three volumes and 2,216 pages. It is difficult to find words suitable or strong enough to describe the shocking and disgraceful disclosures recorded by this committee of the greed, irresponsibility, and betrayal of the public trust by the life insurance industry.

Philip A. Hart died at his home in Washington of cancer on December 26, 1978 at the age of 64. He was buried on Michigan's Mackinac Island. He never lived to see reforms forthcoming by the life insurance companies or the legislative remedies enacted which he believed to be necessary.

We may not share Senator Hart's optimism with regard to the likelihood of government functioning in a moral role. Such optimism is clearly shattered by witnessing the stampede of governmental regulartory bodies, the separate state insurance departments, to enact the "NAIC Model Life Insurance Replacement Regualtions." However, if this brief book can claim any inspiration and dedication it is to Senator Philip A. Hart. Certainly, anyone aware of these facts will be less inclined to join in deriding the name of a good man who cared deeply about his fellow human beings and about the quality of our lives.


* Selected Quotations (Appendix 1)