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1899 – 1923

Keeping Promises Through a World at War and a Global Pandemic

World War I, followed by the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, challenges the life insurance industry. National Life rises to the challenge, paying war- and flu-related claims while making a profit—and paying dividends. Learn how we persevered.



50th anniversary

Company celebrates its 50th anniversary. 100 top agents are invited to the Home Office.


James C. Houghton is elected President

James C. Houghton is elected President.


Actuary Joseph A. DeBoer is elected President

Actuary Joseph A. DeBoer is elected President.


National Life owns Waterbury Opera House

National Life becomes owner of the Waterbury Opera House considered to be one of the largest and best for any town of its size. The Opera House was funded and built by volunteers.

Early paper tester and seal punch


The first use of “of Vermont”

The first use of “of Vermont” appears on the annual report.


Attorney Fred A. Howland is elected President

Attorney Fred A. Howland is elected President.


World War I

World War I – National Life subscribes for a Liberty Loan of $315,000 to support the war effort with the employees purchasing another $30,000.


More than $1 million in claims

The company pays more than $1 million in claims during the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918–19 while also paying World War I claims.

War clauses discontinued — company pays out on 131 lives with 61 having been Killed In Action.

Previous Agent Association revived as the General Agent Association.


Ellen Putnam contracted as an agent

Ellen Putnam, one of the company’s earliest female agents is contracted as an agent with Rochester Agency #036. Prior to her death at age 95 on February 27, 1989, she took the largest application of her career.


Office lightning strike

A lightning strike sets a transformer inside Home Office #5 at 116 State Street on fire. Smoke rolled out of the rear windows for 15 minutes before the fire was put out by employees with extinguishers.

Early rubber stamps


Sixth Home Office building

Company moves into new sixth Home Office building at 133 State Street with 209 employees. The company builds a suspension foot bridge over the Winooski River near today’s Bailey Street bridge so employees can reach the company’s recreational facilities at the base of National Life Drive. The bridge was washed away in the Flood of 1927.


Life Insurance Company of the Southwest founded

The concept of Coleman Mutual Aid Association is created in Coleman, Texas in 1923, literally from a conversation around a pot-bellied stove. Sam T. Cobb Sr. was the founder. This eventually grew into Life Insurance Company of the Southwest. Coleman’s first office was in Bowen’s Drug Store in Coleman, Texas.

A brief history of Life Insurance Company of the Southwest

For 175 years, National Life Group has been keeping promises.
Learn how we’ve evolved in the timeline above and in the video here.

National Life Group® is a trade name of National Life Insurance Company, founded in Montpelier, VT in 1848, Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, Addison, TX, chartered in 1955, and their affiliates. Each company of National Life Group is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest is not an authorized insurer in New York and does not conduct insurance business in New York.

Home Office: One National Life Drive, Montpelier, VT 05604 | (800) 344-7437 |

TC137569(1123)3 | Cat No 106748(1123)