Behind the formation, in 1890, of the National Association of Life Underwriters lay two decades of localized, often abortive attempts at self-regulation through association. Malpractice, while not universal, was sufficiently widespread to hinder the growth of a broad market for life insurance. Early regulatory efforts failed when the organizers of those efforts were unable to solve the administrative problems of dealing with apathy on the one hand and defiance on the other. But these failures paved the way for renewed efforts. When, at last, a number of widely scattered associations had succeeded in accomplishing reforms, thereby solidifying member support, the stage was set for organization on a national scale.