Policy Documents

About the Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate at The Heartland Institute

June 5, 2012

The Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate is one of five centers at The Heartland Institute, each dedicated to discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems in a particular area.


The Heartland Institute’s participation in the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) debate began in earnest in 2007, when it assembled a team of policy experts and started to circulate a proposal to create a new center at The Heartland Institute devoted to effective advocacy in this policy arena. Reactions to the proposal were positive, and Heartland hired a full-time policy specialist, Matthew Glans, to write and testify on the topic.

Heartland’s participation in the finance, insurance, and real estate debate began in earnest in 2007.In March 2008, Heartland copublished with the Competitive Enterprise Institute a 50-state report card on property and casualty insurance, ranking all 50 states according to an index of nine variables measuring, among other things, rate and form regulation, size of residual markets, and market volatility. The report attracted extensive attention, leading to a second edition in 2009. In July 2008 we published a report on housing policy for the twenty-first century.

In April 2009, Heartland began producing a FIRE insert in issues of Budget & Tax News, one of its monthly public policy newspapers reaching approximately 24,000 national, state, and local elected officials, civic and business leaders, and subscribers. The feature grew from four pages to 12 pages by the end of the year, and in 2010 Heartland spun off FIRE Policy News as its own 20-page public policy newspaper. Also in 2009, Heartland published “Ten Principles of Property and Casualty Insurance Regulation,” number 6 in its Legislative Principles series.

Heartland launched a Web site devoted to FIRE issues in February 2010, and then integrated it into a new Heartland Web site during a re-launch in 2011. From 2010 to 2012, Heartland experts on FIRE engaged in the full range of FIRE public policy debates at the national and state level across the country. Much of that effort was led by Eli Lehrer working from offices in Washington, DC.

In January 2012, Heartland moved into its new offices on the 27th floor of One South Wacker Drive, across the street from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and UBS Tower. The new office can accommodate meetings of up to 50 people and now hosts regular networking meetings.

In May 2012, Lehrer and some of his team split off from Heartland, creating a new organization devoted exclusively to insurance and reinsurance. We view the loss of our Washington, DC team as an opportunity to refocus our efforts on issues of wider interest to the finance community than the reinsurance and property and casualty issues Lehrer’s team concentrated on. We also view it as an opportunity to get more engaged in Chicago’s financial community, rather than the prior focus on policy debates in Washington, DC.

(Read more in this PDF.)