Colonial Life: A History of Unique Vision
Edwin F. Averyt got the idea for Colonial Life in 1929 from a former college classmate who was having great success selling small accidental death policies for a very low premium. From its beginning as the Mutual Accident Company in 1937 — with its single product, a $1,000 accidental death insurance policy that sold for $3 a year — Colonial Life has taken the road less traveled.
The company’s first sales force consisted of about 50 women, most of them housewives with no previous business experience. Within two decades, Colonial Life pioneered the field of worksite marketing by selling insurance to people at their jobs and deducting the premiums from their paychecks — a concept that changed the insurance marketplace forever.
The company continued to lead the industry in the ’80s and ’90s with two more dramatic innovations: marketing products through flexible benefits programs that allowed employees to purchase insurance on a tax-favored basis, and the development of advanced sales automation technology deployed to a nationwide independent contractor sales organization through laptop computers. Custom-built for Colonial Life’s business and seamlessly integrated into everything the company does, this technology forever changed the face of benefit enrollments.
Colonial Life’s visionary tradition has extended to its own employees, too: the company was one of the first in South Carolina to create an onsite wellness center and build a culture where employee health and fitness is a priority.
More recently, the company is paving the way again as the employee benefits industry moves away from a product-driven, spreadsheet-focused approach to more consumer choice emphasizing benefits education and value. Helping make this possible is another innovation: the new, state-of-the-art Harmony® enrollment system.
Change has been a constant on Colonial Life’s path to success. But the company’s vision has remained focused on helping working Americans understand and appreciate the benefits they have available to them through the workplace, and in doing so helping employers build stronger businesses.