Reference from Coast to Coast –

Megan Culich Butman is Reference Librarian at
Katten Muchin & Zavis, Chicago, Illinois.

Welcome to Reference From Coast to Coast: Sources and Strategies, a new monthly column written by the KMZ librarians. Headquartered in Chicago, Katten Muchin & Zavis has reference librarians in Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles. There are eight professional librarians who are assisted by a great support staff. The KMZ librarians field questions and participate in research in a myriad of subject areas. This column will highlight some of our favorite reference sources and research techniques in the hope that sharing information will help you in your day to day jobs. We welcome all of your comments and questions, and would particularly like feedback on sources and strategies that YOU use for research on our column topics.

Please send comments to the author, or [email protected]

Looking for mandated health benefits or auto insurance laws in Illinois, Georgia or any other state, quickly and inexpensively? Looking for a list of states that have adopted a Mental Parity Act? Finally, how about a list of states that mandate contraceptive equality, otherwise known as “pill bills”? I have a great starting point:

This site proclaims to have “highly researched and unbiased reporting on the latest news in the insurance industry.” It was started in 1994 by Philip Moeller, a financial editor, and its goal is to supply insurance information to consumers. The homepage consists of current news stories as well as a directory of the site. A user can go to the “Lawsuit Library” to find information concerning lawsuits, fines and insolvencies involving insurance companies, or a user can select “Insurance in your State,” to see articles on local insurance issues and links to state insurance departments. There is also a “Reader Forum” to find answers to actual insurance questions. A searcher can also do a free text search of this site to look for specific information. A glossary of insurance terms is also available to assist searching and help a layperson understand terminology used throughout the site.

Although the primary goal of this site is to give consumers information on insurance companies and the insurance industry at large, it is a helpful source for current state insurance legislation. Some of the articles, such as the “pill bill,” give not only a narrative article but also a list of states’ current and pending legislation. This information is given in a chart format that includes the year passed, bill description, and effective date. The chart also includes the source of the information and a “last updated” date with month, day and year. The “pill bill” legislative information is from the Center for Reproductive Law & Policy and was last updated on October 4, 1999. This source information, the date, and the bill description give the user language and parameters to update the information given. As stated in the first paragraph, this is a great starting point but verification with state statutes and current legislation is always required.

This site is not limited to health insurance. It covers annuities, auto, business, home and life insurance. It is easy to search and is full of narrative information as well as legislative information. It contains excellent citing and dating and allows a searcher to update information efficiently.

Posted in: Insurance Law, Reference from Coast to Coast