Testimony of Laurence Tish by CNA and the Department of Insurance

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Testimony of Laurence Tish by CNA and the Department of Insurance (Note: Tisch is mis-spelled in the title of this article, but it appears this way in the original document.)

In this deposition before the Department of Insurance and CNA Insurance Company, Laurence Tisch (name is misspelled in the title), Chairman and CEO of Leows Corporation (the parent company of Lorillard Tobacco) answers questions about the merger of the Loews Corporation with CNA. Questioners wondered about the inherent contradiction of a corporation owning both a tobacco company and a health insurance company. In the question session, Tisch claims his company is the "leader in the so-called health cigarettes" and claims that his company makes cigarettes that are "healthier than others":

"Lorillard was the leader in the so-called health cigarettes, the low tar, the low nicotine cigarettes. They first introduced Kent with the micronite filter ten or fifteen years ago. It was a very successful entry because that was when the health scare first came into vogue." [Bates Page No. 91780375]

HISTORICAL NOTE: The Kent Micronite Filter was made of asbestos, and people who smoked it have gotten mesothelioma, the hallmark cancer of asbestos exposure.

Tisch further claims there is no contradiction in owning a tobacco company while also owning an insurance company that encourages health and smoking cessation. In fact, in the deposition Tisch makes fun of the notion (to the laughter of others in the room). From the transcript:

Q. The Hearing Officer asked you a question that I would like to follow up on a little bit. He asked you whether you saw any inconsistency between being in the insurance business and being in the tobacco business, and you gave quite a bit of testimony about the health scare, what it was and, you know, how the health--in connection with Lorillard's acquisition you mentioned that, and I want to ask you why you think that there is nothing inconsistent between being in a tobacco business, particularly a tobacco business that is made up, I think you testified, of almost a hundred percent of the sale of cigarettes, and controlling a company which is in health, accident and life insurance?

A. Well, that is interesting. I think that statistics show that 90 percent of all accidents take place in the home, and yet Larwin is one of the biggest home builders in America.


Mr. NUSSBAUM: I see somebody from your table applauding, and they are all laughing, and I am even smiling.

A. I mean, I just--

MR. BASHWINER: That was not applause.


A. I mean, Gulf Oil makes gasoline, and gasoline, as you know, runs the cars that have all the accidents that the insurance companies insure.


Q. Mr. Tisch, aren't you trying to get as many people in the country to smoke as you possibly can, and particularly your cigarettes?

A. We feel that we make cigarettes that are healthier than other cigarettes.

Org. Author CNA
Date 19840000/E
Bates 91780361/0398
Collection Lorillard
Pages 38
URL: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/rcn80e00