Mr. S. Bruce Black was a prime mover in the insurance industry’s quest for improved industrial safety and worker rehabilitation. His pioneering programs in these areas established worldwide precedent, expanding insurance’s role as a cost-effective, humanitarian service.
As President of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. from 1924 to 1956, he was an early proponent of the view that loss prevention is an integral part of the insurance process, providing economic and social benefits to business and society as a whole. Over the years, partly as a result of his advocacy, and of public education, the number of work-related fatalities per 100,000 persons fell approximately 38 percent in the U. S. And the process of rehabilitating injured workers came to the forefront as a humane and cost effective element of workers’ compensation.
His innovative concepts were developed over a lifetime devoted to insurance. Most of his accomplishments took place during his presidency (and Chairmanship) of Liberty Mutual in Boston, Massachusetts (1924-1956). His deep interest in workers’ compensation began early and he set an example by establishing safety research and worker rehabilitation centers at Liberty Mutual, which were the first of their kind in the industry. His company was the first to use physicians and registered nurses as consultants in the field again industrial accidents.
As an authority and prime mover on workers’ compensation and industrial safety, Mr. Black was often called upon to share his views and was active as a speaker and writer. His policies and practices affected a number of organizations positively.
At Liberty Mutual, his company grew to become one of America’s leading writers of workers’ compensation insurance. The company’s success has been largely attributed to Mr. Black’s innovative loss prevention and rehabilitation programs. His contributions were also evident in the policies and programs of the Alliance of American Insurers, the U.S. Veterans’ Administration Hospital System and the National Safety Council.
Mr. Black’s influence ranged internationally throughout the field of property and liability insurance. Insurer loss prevention and rehabilitation programs grew rapidly. Among the many diverse groups, which sought his assistance, were: The International Association of Industrial Accident Boards; the American Society of Safety Engineers; the Chamber of Commerce of the Untied States.