In 1846, when sales slackened, New York Life began issuing policies insuring the lives of slaves. Reporter Sharon Ann Murphy, a historian at Providence College, told the New York Times, “Slave policies were an opportunity for them [New York Life] to break into the industry and they actively promoted these policies in the early years. . . . We can be disturbed by this, but we shouldn’t be surprised by it,” she said. “It wasn’t just Southern companies that benefited from slavery; many Northern institutions also benefited directly or indirectly.”