The Aetna Life Insurance Company, of Hartford, Connecticut, has become one of the strongest corporations of its character in America. The charter was first granted to the company covering the business of fire insurance, life insurance, annuities, etc., in 1820. The company, however, did not make use of the life and annuity privileges until 1850, when under the name of the Aetna Life & Annuity Fund, a branch covering life and annuity busines was started. In 1853 a special charter was granted forming a separate corporation of the life insurance business with E. a. bulkeley as the first President. In 1872 upon the death of E. A. Bulkeley, J. O. Enders succeeded to the Presidency and continued to act in that capacity until 1879, at which time Morgan G. Bulkeley, ex-Governor of Connecticut, ws made President. He was the son of the first President of the company. For several years the company sold only what is known as non-participating insurance, but later associated all the many and usual forms of dividend-paying policies. In 1891 its Accident Department was instituted and to-day it does the largest Accident insurance business in America. In 1903 the company formed its department for writing Employers' Liability insurance and on account of its magnificent record the organization immediately sprang to the front in this business, placing on the first books within ninety days of the opening of the department the largest single policy in force in the United States, calling for an annual premium of over one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. As to the general growth of the company's business it has steadily progressed until at the present time its assets exceed sixty-eight million dollars, of which eight million is surplus belonging to policy-holders and all this is after having dispersed to policy-holders since the organization of the company upwards of one hundred and thirty-nine million dollars.
In 1868 an agency was established for California at San Francisco and E. H. Lestock Gregory succeeded H. B. Houghton in control of the business here in 1901 as General Agent for California and Nevada. At that time the General Agency ranked No. 27 when estimated by the amount of policies written annually, an average of about three hundred and fifty thousand dollars per year. To-day, however, it ranks third, with a business aggregating two million dollars per year.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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