Both Boston Mutual and Ben Franklin were born in the same place
As we first mentioned in a profile we did on Boston Mutual’s 125th anniversary, both Boston Mutual and Benjamin Franklin were born at the same address in downtown Boston.
Founded by John Wheeler on August 18th, 1891, Boston Mutual was initially called the Boston Mutual Life Association. The company’s first home was located at the illustrious address of 17 Milk Street in Boston, which many will also know as the birthplace of Benjamin Franklin.
This seems like a most appropriate location in which to start a mutual insurance company, since Ben Franklin was one of the earliest proponents of mutual insurance. In addition to being a Founding Father and one of the signers of the Constitution, Mr. Franklin was also known as the founding father of the first mutual insurance company in the U.S., which he began in Philadelphia in 1752.
As for Boston Mutual, after getting its start on Milk Street, the company went on to operate out of a number of offices in and around downtown Boston, until moving to Canton in 1974.
After first offering individual life insurance, the company began offering employer group products in 1956. Later in 1978, the company launched its worksite product offerings. Ten years later, in 1988, the life insurer organized the Life Insurance Company of Boston & New York (LICOBNY), a subsidiary company which offers a comparable product portfolio in New York.
While celebrating its local roots, the life insurer has expanded its geographical reach over the years and now does business from coast to coast. The 126-year-old company currently insurers more than 732,000 individuals with over $18 billion in life insurance.
Most interestingly of all, however, might be the fact that although Boston Mutual has been in business for 126 years, the life insurer has had a grand total of only seven different presidents throughout its history.
For those interested in learning more about Boston Mutual’s history, view their 125th online anniversary book here.
We were once a start-up too…
With all that history and tradition in mind, Agency Checklists decided to query Boston Mutual on why it decided to support an insurtech event like Insurtech Boston IV.
“We understand the entrepreneurial mindset – we were founded as a start-up in downtown Boston back in 1891,” explains Paul A. Quaranto, Jr., Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President at Boston Mutual Life Insurance Company. “We’re staying true to our founder’s progressive vision by making connections with those that are moving the insurance industry forward.”
“As a $1.5 billion national insurance carrier who has been based in the Boston area since our founding 126 years ago, our nature is to adapt to the changing world around us,” adds David Mitchell, Vice President, External Affairs & Corporate Communications. “We’re always looking for ways to create a better customer experience, so by supporting innovative communities like the insurtech industry in our own backyard, we’re able to stay on top of the latest industry trends to continue evolving.”
A quick look at some of the insurtech start-ups focusing on life insurance in Massachusetts
Similar to its invasion into the Property & Casualty insurance marketplace, insurtech has set its sites on the Life Insurance marketplace as well. According to a March, 2017 McKinsey article, “Insurtech—the threat that inspires,” the following graph depicts in which sectors, insurtech start-ups have made the greatest inroads, thus far:
So while life insurance has not seen as much “innovation” from insurtech as the P&C sector, that does not mean that there is no disruption occurring. See Agency Checklists October 25, 2017 article entitled, “Insurtech Funding In Massachusetts Surges With New MassMutual Ventures Announcement.”
In addition, Massachusetts is home to at least four insurtech start-ups that either have already started or are planning to offer life insurance via their on-line platforms: Boston-based Quilt and MyProtectedLife, Cambridge-based Cake, and Haven Life (while not actually-based in Mass, since Haven Life is wholly-owned by MassMutual it is included here).