Library Finding A.M. Best's supplements in the public library
July 26, 2010 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Cannot find periodicals in the library. I am trying to find two reports by A.M. Best: "Whole Life: With Dividend Histories" and "1997 Historical Supplement: 10- and 20-Year Whole Life Dividend Performance" as recommended in this LA Times article. Contrary to the article, my library does not appear to stock these. Are there any sources I am overlooking?

I tried Denver Central Library but they don't have the periodicals. I have also tried The Free Library to no avail. Out of curiosity I also looked at other states' libraries on-line New York Public Library, California Public Library and LA Public Library with no success. These do appear to be old periodicals so perhaps that's it but I find it a little odd that these are referred to in the article yet completely unavailable. (I can't even find these on-line at A.M. Best.)
posted by NailsTheCat to Work & Money (14 answers total)
Have you tried asking a librarian? Sometimes they're able to track down and borrow things through the inter-library loans.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:05 PM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It may be that the author doesn't really know what they were looking at. A.M. Best published a periodical called Best's Policy Reports which should be available at Denver Public from 1995 - 2000. Did you start from that title and look specifically within the periodical for the articles mentioned?
posted by jessamyn at 2:08 PM on July 26, 2010

Don't know where you are, but try this:
posted by davismbagpiper at 2:10 PM on July 26, 2010

"Whole life: with divided histories" appears to be the distinctive title for the annual May issue of "Best's policy reports." I think you'll have more luck searching for "Best's policy reports," and seeing which libraries have the May issues (from 1995 to 2000?) as well as the 1997 supplement.

California State University appears to have the complete run.
posted by aiko at 2:15 PM on July 26, 2010

Response by poster: Have you tried asking a librarian?
I did ask two separate librarians. One of them suggested I try at Denver University, perhaps the Business School might have the periodicals. Other than that, they didn't have any other suggestions.

Did you start from that title and look specifically within the periodical for the articles mentioned?
They have "Best's Policy Report: Life Insurance"--it's in two volumes--but this doesn't include those specific articles. It's more of a catalog of insurance companies and their performance. I'm after the performance of those companies' dividends and policies which it seems is in the periodicals but the librarian explained they didn't have them.

I was unaware of worldcat until you brought it to my attention--thanks.
posted by NailsTheCat at 2:22 PM on July 26, 2010

Response by poster: California State did take me further:
Best's Insurance Reports - REFERENCE HG8943 .B3 2002 (many volumes)
Best's Review is in PERIODICALS. Search OPAC by TITLE (because there are several hits): bests review
Best's Review - Monthly issues give updated info on company activities and ratings.

Although I don't think I can search their OPAC. They appear to have a wealth of searchable databases but they are accessible by students only.
posted by NailsTheCat at 2:33 PM on July 26, 2010

Response by poster: Prospector also seems to think that Denver Central Library has it. I think it worth my printing out the WorldCat and Prospector results and taking them in. The first librarian was most helpful and directed me to "Best's Policy Report: Life Insurance".

When I realized that I actually needed the periodicals I spoke to a second librarian who couldn't have been more disinterested--although she did query using some application unavailable on the public terminals. So a second attempt and a different librarian may pay off.

Thanks all for your assistance.
posted by NailsTheCat at 2:53 PM on July 26, 2010

Best answer: If your local lib has access to the InfoTrac periodical database (aka GALE reference center gold or somesuch), it includes full-text archives of 2000-present. For instance, if aiko's info is good about "Whole Life: With Dividend Histories" being the annual title for the May issue, you can read the whole magazine for May of each year within that range.
posted by carsonb at 2:54 PM on July 26, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks carsonb. I shall ask about GALE.
posted by NailsTheCat at 3:09 PM on July 26, 2010

If you're asking public librarians, they may not be familiar with the more specialized resources that an academic librarian would be familiar with. Call or email the University of Denver and ask for the reference librarian that specializes in business (usually there's several ref librarians and each takes on a certain specialty, and often has a background in that specialty) that person should know how to get hold of it.
posted by telophase at 3:11 PM on July 26, 2010

I shall also mention that I *am* an academic librarian (although not a Ref librarian) and I'm often stumped by business reference stuff! I defer to my business ref colleague.
posted by telophase at 3:12 PM on July 26, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks telophase--that's useful advice. Much appreciated.
posted by NailsTheCat at 3:41 PM on July 26, 2010

Best answer: Hi, I am one of the librarians at the University of Denver. We don't have either of the A. M. Best Books. The recommendation to use worldcat was a wise one. WorldCat shows that not many libraries have these two items...

Whole life with dividend histories.

Best's policy reports. Historical supplement.

You can use interlibrary loan to get the books, but it might take a couple of weeks for shipping and such.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

posted by jokrausdu at 11:43 AM on July 27, 2010

Response by poster: Hi Joe,

Bravo, sir--and thanks. Precisely the records I was looking for. I really needed them this week--so I shan't follow up with an inter-library loan.

I went into Central Library again yesterday evening and this librarian was most helpful. I had taken in my Prospector results and he discovered that the items listed on it were no longer there--probably due to recent clean outs--and he mentioned WorldCat was the best option, as you've confirmed.

I really appreciate your help. If you come to the next Denver meetup I'll buy you a beer.
posted by NailsTheCat at 3:34 PM on July 27, 2010

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