Broker Words—August 2022

Sad news indeed for those of us who appreciate the brokerage business as it was in years past. An icon of those days, David Lenaberg, Ph.D., passed on April 20 in High Point, NC.

Prior to his insurance career Lenaberg earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from LSU and served as a professor there. A member of the Society of Actuaries, Lenaberg was the longtime chairman, president and CEO of Banner Life Insurance Co., president and CEO of William Penn Life Insurance Company of New York, Inc., and later president and CEO of Legal & General America. Upon retiring from LGA, he served on The Marketing Alliance board of directors.

“As a fellow TMA board member, I was blessed to be exposed often to Dave’s perspectives. He was a brilliant man, quick to share his positive comments whether business or personal. He could cut through the nonsense and get right to the most appropriate action. It was rewarding and fun to be in his presence,” remembers Art Jetter, adding, “Dave had a delightful sense of humor.”

Jack Dewald relates, “As TMA Board Chairman since 2010, I always appreciated his insight and direction for TMA. He offered a unique perspective that helped us (TMA) refine our distribution techniques, enabled us to be better negotiators and better providers on behalf of our distribution partners. At Banner/William Penn/LGA he was a master of low cost term insurance delivery—operated a very lean home office platform, highly proficient, high volume. Did one thing very well and stuck to his knitting.” Dewald also credits him with significant work for the NAILBA Charitable Foundation: “One of the early and “big time” sponsors of the NAILBA Foundation—he used outlandish gifts coupled to required matching contributions to maximize income to the foundation and bring attention to its mission.” Dewald continued, “In social/personal settings he was always gregarious and fun to be around…a true friend who I enjoyed spending time with.”

Longtime friend Ed Murray added, ”Dave was straight as the day is long. No hidden agenda, no double speak. You knew where he stood. He appeared to make quick impulsive decisions which, after time, you realized were well thought out and even more well reasoned. He was the consummate professional who did the right things for the right reasons and never equivocated or backpedaled. Dave was fun to be with and even more fun to joust with intellectually. Never part of the herd in his thinking. A constant learner with an inquisitive and eclectic mind. Never boring and always ready to throw “hand grenades” to get the debate energized. Dave was a loyal friend, a great mentor and a unique human being. A true gentleman who I will sorely miss.”

Although I was nowhere near as close to Dave as Art, Jack and Ed, I had plenty of exposure to his incredible acumen and insight. His contributions to our industry were many, undoubtedly most significant are the vast multitude of families helped in their times of direst need through his excellent leadership of some of the industry’s greatest brokerage companies. As seems to be the case with me and many Ph.D.s, a great deal of his industry brilliance went well over my head. But I also had numerous occasions to witness and enjoy his great wit and sense of humor and for that I am grateful. RIP Dave, and thank you.[SPH]