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MORE COMMENTS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF M&A MANIA

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To the editor: The March 24 article, "M&A Mania Coin Has Two Sides, Buyers Say," explored the impact of broker consolidations on risk managers and nicely examined several of the concerns the risk management community has. Here are a few more that we hear from our clients:

Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. has taken its major competitor in the large account business off the table. Many policyholders choose between Marsh and Johnson & Higgins as the two strongest players in the global broking marketplace for U.S.-based policyholders. Now, they are one; who will be the other?

A well-established strategy for risk managers is to simultaneously use two strong brokers, in part to maintain a competitive environment without the threat of competitive bids, in part to guarantee access to another source of expertise. Marsh and J&H often were the two brokers retained; now what?

Aon Group Inc. has developed some superb capabilities; is it ready to sit at the same table as Marsh? And what will become of Sedgwick Group P.L.C. and Willis Corroon P.L.C.?

The merger of Marsh and J&H is the best sign yet of the stresses on the old ways of doing insurance. I can't wait to see who replaces J&H as the counterweight to Marsh. And it may be a long wait.

Richard S. Betterley

President

Betterley Risk Consultants Inc.

Sterling, Mass.

To the editor: After reading Michael Prince's Feb. 24 article about

Cleveland's anti-discrimination ordinance, "Law Makes Job Bias Criminal," I don't know whether Councilman Patmon and his colleagues are incredibly naive or simply haven't thought through all the consequences.

The ordinance not only deals with alleged discrimination in firing or demotion, which are relatively rare in individual cases, but with failure to hire, a much more common situation. The ordinance prohibits discrimination because of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, ethnic group or Vietnam-era or disabled veteran status, and most job-seekers fall into at least one of those categories.

Take my own situation as an example. I have not worked full time in the insurance industry since last June, but now my troubles are over. All I have to do is move to Cleveland, apply to the company of my choice with a well- prepared resume, inform the personnel officer of my age and religion, and threaten to call the police if I'm not hired!

Multiply this scenario by hundreds, possibly thousands, of job-seekers and dozens of companies, and you can see the potential for tying up the criminal courts with anti-discrimination cases. While it may bring psychic satisfaction to the jobless to haul personnel officers into court, and this law may result in more and better explanations of why people are not hired, is it really necessary to make every decision not to hire someone a potential criminal case?

Harry Cylinder

Philadelphia