Photo Release -- Since 1848, Company's Insurance Policies Linked to Nation's History

Employees of the National Life Insurance Company in 1891
National Life Group Logo

MONTPELIER, Vt., Nov. 13, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In its 165 years, National Life Group 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.

Employees of the National Life Insurance Company in 1891


A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=22188

Since the National Life Insurance Company was chartered by the Vermont Legislature on Nov. 13, 1848, the company has been involved in the great events of the day.

"In many ways, National Life's history has followed U.S. history," said Brian Lindner, National Life Group's corporate historian. "When young men rushed to California to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush, quite a few carried a National Life policy in their back pocket. When the United States sent soldiers into battle in the Civil War and the World Wars, National Life provided the peace of mind for their families back on the home front."

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.

"Keeping our promises is not a newfound mission for us at National Life Group," said Mehran Assadi, president and CEO. "It dates to the day we paid that very first claim. We're committed to our corporate values: Do Good. Be Good. Make Good."

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.

Throughout, National Life has steadily grown. During its first year of operation, it sold 381 policies worth $479,950 insurance in force. By 1853, it had $1 million insurance in force. Assets reached $100 million in 1926.

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, manager of the Sentinel Family of Funds, one of the country's oldest and most respected fund groups. Sentinel Funds are now distributed by Sentinel Financial Services Company, part of Sentinel Investments. And in 1996, National Life purchased the majority interest in Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, purchasing the remaining interest three years later.

Today National Life Group is a Fortune 1000 firm whose member companies sell insurance, annuities and mutual funds in every state around the country. It serves in excess of 800,000 customers, has $72 billion of insurance in force and $26 billion of assets under management.

The company, with primary offices in Montpelier, Vt., and Addison, Texas, employs 900 people. It ranks as one of the largest employers in Vermont. Through its charitable arm, the National Life Group Charitable Foundation, the company also contributes annually to the communities in Vermont and Texas where the bulk of its employees are based.

National Life Group has also had a colorful and progressive history. In 1850, when virtually no women were insured in America, National Life issued policy #43 on Laura Ann Peaslee Webster. One of the company's longest-serving agents was Ellen M. Putnam, who had been with the company for 70 years when she died in 1989.

Some policy owners were also with the company for a very long time. Thomas Swan Hubbard had owned policy number 10 for 57 years when he died in 1907 at the age of 95. His policy had an original face value of $1,000 when purchased in 1850, and paid $2,300 on his death.

"Throughout our history, National Life Group has been dedicated to keeping our promises and to our vision of bringing peace of mind to everyone we touch," Assadi said. "That's as true today as it was when the Vermont Legislature chartered the National Life Insurance Company."

The companies of National Life Group offer a broad range of financial products, including life insurance, annuities, and investments, and financial solutions in the form of estate, business succession and retirement planning strategies. They are a leading provider of 403(b) and 457(b) tax-deferred retirement plans, primarily in the K-12 school marketplace.

Sentinel Funds are sold by prospectus. For more complete information, including charges and expenses, please request a prospectus from your registered representative or call (800) 233-4332. Please consider a fund's objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other information about the fund and is available from your advisor or Sentinel. Please read the prospectus carefully before you invest.

National Life Group® is a trade name of National Life Insurance Company, Montpelier, Vt., Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, Addison, Texas, 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. Equity Services, Inc. is a Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Adviser.

Sentinel Investments® is the unifying brand name for Sentinel Financial Services Company, Sentinel Asset Management, Inc., and Sentinel Administrative Services, Inc. All companies referenced are affiliated and located in Montpelier, VT unless otherwise indicated.

Sentinel Funds are distributed by Sentinel Financial Services Company, Member FINRA, One National Life Drive, Montpelier, Vermont 05604 (800) 233-4332.

CONTACT: Ross Sneyd corporate communications National Life Group 802.229.3866

Source:National Life Group