In its more than 170 years, National Life has insured everyone from celebrities to working people, including passengers on the Titanic and the Hindenburg and victims of the great influenza epidemic of 1918-19.
The National Life Insurance Company was chartered by the Vermont Legislature on Nov. 13, 1848.
After a period of organization, National Life began selling policies in 1850 and it was just a matter of months before it faced its first claim. Rowland Allen of Ferrisburgh, Vt., was one of the young men who headed to California to find gold. He bought two policies for face amounts of $500 each.
But Allen died of dysentery just as the long voyage around the tip of South America neared its end. The fledgling National Life didn’t have cash on hand to pay Allen’s widow the $1,000. But its directors and officers put their personal credit on the line and worked with a local bank to pay the claims.
National Life has weathered many other challenging times. The company paid more than $1 million in claims during the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918-19 and continued to pay World War I claims at the same time.
The company evolved into National Life Group, offering a full range of financial services. In 1968, the company formed a broker-dealer affiliate, Equity Services, Inc. Eight years later, National Life acquired Sentinel Advisors, which now serves as the manager of National Life's investment portfolio that back its insurance assets. In 1996, National Life purchased the majority interest in Life Insurance Company of the Southwest (LSW), purchasing the remaining interest three years later.
Together, National Life Group’s member companies sell life insurance, annuities and investments in every state (with the exception of LSW who isn't licensed in NY) around the country.