Creating Peace of Mind in 1893

  • time capsule

    A Time Capsule

    An insurance policy captures a significant moment in time when a person confronts his or her own mortality and what to give the people they leave behind.

  • policyholder

    For the Common Man

    In 1893, a 19 year-old grocery clerk named Joseph Kopf sought life insurance. He was not married and had no children.

  • family history

    Hope for the Best

    We can only guess that Joseph hoped to some day have a family of own. But he knew the risks. One brother died in a train accident and the other from diphtheria.

  • health

    Risks Were Different

    Sunstroke, insanity, and insomnia really worried insurance underwriters in those days.

  • general agent

    Local Reputation

    Joseph put his trust in our general agent in Cleveland, Ohio who sold the policy and agreed to provide service in later years.

  • phoenix mutual selected

    Policy 123454

    He selected not a local company, but The Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company in Hartford, Connecticut and received this contract on April 19, 1893.

  • death claim forms

    Notification of Death

    Phoenix and its general agents were ready with forms to start the death claim process.

  • premiums required

    A Savings Commitment

    Joseph promised to pay the company $11.78 four times a year for 20 years.

  • death benefit

    The Benefits

    In exchange, Phoenix agreed to provide a death benefit of $1000 for the next 20 years. The policy also gave him the flexibility to withdraw the cash value or take a loan as needed.

  • simple policy

    Simple Policies

    The entire application and contract fit on a single, fold-out page.

  • term and conditions

    Very Familiar Terms

    The basic elements of an insurance contract have not changed much since 1893.

  • illustrations by hand

    With A Promise To Perform

    Insurance companies always have to provide an illustration for any policy with cash value. While the production of illustrations has progressed significantly from this handwritten form, the promise of protection remains constant.

A Snapshot in Time.

Over 120 years ago, in 1893, a young, 19-year-old dry goods clerk in Ohio purchased a $1000 whole life policy for himself. Joseph Kopf had no wife or children and made it payable upon death to his estate. But growing up in a family with five brothers and two sisters, he must have planned to start a large family of his own. He also clearly understood that untimely death can happen. He lost one brother in a train accident and another to diphtheria. With the help of our general agent in Ohio, he turned to Phoenix for savings and protection benefits.

Special thanks to Clyde N. Root, Jr. of El Paso, Texas

Mr. Root, a former auctioneer, found this old policy
and graciously donated it to the archives of the company.