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Discrimination Against Employment of Jews by Insurance Firms Reported

December 3, 1959
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“Some perceptible decrease” in discrimination against employment of Jews by the life insurance industry was reported here today by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. However, the report emphasized that “the ancient habit still persists.”

The league’s report revealed that the liberalization in employment of Jewish executives has taken place primarily in sales functions, but that there still appears to be a “clear pattern of discrimination against Jews” in home office positions. “In the branch offices, primarily concerned with selling insurance, 6.2 percent of all executive employees are Jewish,” the report said. “But in home offices, only 3.6 percent are Jewish.”

The ADL report, based on a study of seven major life insurance companies which are a principal factor in the industry, was presented at the opening session of its 46th annual meeting at the Savoy Hilton Hotel. The study found significant that, even among the 3.6 percent of Jews employed in company home offices, two-thirds were “clustered” in jobs as actuaries, doctors, lawyers, or accountants, and “hence could not be considered as administrative, front-office, or policy-making employees.”

It noted that branch offices were most apt to hire Jews where sales are to be made in cities with large Jewish populations. Five of the seven companies studied have both home offices and sales branches in Greater New York. “In the New York sales branches of these five companies,” the report said, “10 percent of executive personnel are Jews; in the home offices only 4.1 percent.”

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