Last July, Gov. Rod Blagojevich quietly signed into law a bill dealing with reparations for the practice of slavery. The new law took effect Jan. 1 of this year.
House Bill 2379 requires any insurance company licensed to do business in the state to research and report to the state Department of Insurance any information on policies issued way back to slaveholders for the death or damage of their slaves, whether the present company issued the policies or whether they were written by a predecessor company.
The governor intends to create a database of such information and will post it on the departments Web site. Those companies who have information such as the names of slaves, names of slaveholders, names of any beneficiaries or policy holders, where and when the policies were issued and other identifying information are asked to turn it into the state.
Nothing has been said about the cost of such an effort and who will pay the bill, not to mention the amount of time required to do that work.
A copy of this law is available at www.legis.state.il.us. Any questions about the law or the reporting requirements should be addressed to Mary Petersen, Insurance Compliance Analyst, Illinois Department of Insurance, 320 W. Washington St., Springfield, IL 62767.