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Welcome to Midland National's Digital Archive

Since 1906, Midland National Life Insurance Company has been protecting families and preserving legacies for more than 110 years.  Midland National, a member company of Sammons Financial Group have made a "Our Company History" brochure that you can download and view as a PDF by clicking here.   There, you can view the entire company history in one easy to print document.



To stay up on the very latest from Midland National, visit us around the web.
Midland National OnlineFind the Midland National Company Profile on SammonsFinancialGroup.com.Get in touch with Midland National at our 'contact us' form. On Facebook? "Like" Midland National's Facebook Company page. Watch the latest videos on the Midland National YouTube Channel. Keep current with Midland National news on the Midland National Linkedin Company pageMidland National is also on Twitter. Find and follow the company @MidlandNatl.Add Midland National to one of your circles or communities on Goog…

2017: Midland National Receives Better Business Bureau Accreditation

In 2017, Midland National earned accreditation by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), an established nonprofit organization focused on advancing marketplace trust. Accreditation is earned by meeting BBB standards, such as making efforts to resolve consumer complaints, carrying through with product delivery, utilizing transparent business practices and more. BBB ratings are based on information BBB obtains from public complaints, public data sources and information directly from businesses. 
Within this framework, Midland received an A+ rating – the highest rating on a scale from A+ to F. View Midland National’s BBB profile for more information.

To read the latest updates, visit Midland National on social media at Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

2017: Life Insurance Sales Surge at Midland National and Sammons Financial Group Member Companies

Midland National Life Insurance, combined with other Sammons Financial Group member companies, was ranked in the top 10 of 83 major life and health insurance companies for life insurance sales in the year 2016. The ranking and survey is in accordance with LIMRA, which is a research association for life and health insurance companies. The survey measures annual premiums and includes 83 major companies. Member companies of Sammons® Financial Group include Midland National® Life Insurance Company and Sammons®Corporate Markets Group, and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®.
“This is quite the achievement when you consider some of the companies on each side of us are household names. The consistent execution of our strategy and relationships with our distribution partners has put us in a great place,” Midland National President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Palmitier said. Our growth rates have averaged 11% the past five years compared with an industry average of 2%.”

2017: Former Midland National CEO William Rigsbee Passes Away

Former Midland National Life Insurance Company President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) William A. Rigsbee passed away on May 1, 2017. Rigsbee joined Midland National in 1961, retiring in 1992 after serving 31 years at the company.
“Bill left an indelible mark on our organization by leading us on a course of unparalleled growth, stability and financial strength,” said Esfand Dinshaw, Chairman and CEO of Sammons Financial Group, parent company of Midland National. “Under his leadership, the Regional Sales Director (RSD) program was established, a system that helped us build our field force, and enabled us to obtain national prominence in the insurance marketplace,” added Dinshaw. Under his leadership, the company increased life insurance policies in force from $275 million to $50 billion; increased assets from $29 million to $4.1 billion; and achieved a compound annual growth rate of 15% while maintaining superior industry ratings and a high quality investment portfolio*.

*Midland …

2016: Midland National Marks 110 Years

On August 30, 2016, Midland National announced the celebration of its 110 year history with an anniversary announcement.

The 110 year anniversary news release is featured here on the Midland National website.

“As we mark this landmark moment, we continue to focus on protecting our policy owners and supporting our partners,” said Palmitier. “At our core, we deeply believe that today’s success is a result of a deliberate and enduring strategic approach—an approach that we will continue to follow and apply as we make our second hundred years just as successful as the first.“
To see the 50th Anniversary of Midland National in 1956, click here.
To see the 100th Anniversary of Midland National in 2006, click here.

2015: More than $58B in assets milestone

Midland National is one of two life insurance companies under the Sammons Financial Group umbrella. The other is the North American Company for Life and Health Insurance.

By 2015., the entities forming Sammons Financial Group have more than $58 billion in assets and over $243 billion of life insurance in force.*

* Sammons Financial Group, Inc., internal information 2014

2006: Midland National Marks 100 Years with 100 Oak Trees

Midland National Celebrates 100 YearsMidland National celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a series of events, showing its gratitude to the city and citizens of Sioux Falls. The company looked back at its first slogan “Great Oaks from Little Acorns Grow,” and donated 100 trees to the city. Through a radio and print campaign, titled “Sioux Falls at its Best,” Midland National recognized achievements in the community from the last century. To top off the anniversary, Midland National’s employees and top agents from across the country were invited to the celebration in Sioux Falls during the fall of 2006.







2001: A Growth Spurt for Midland National And Sammons Financial Group

From 1997 to 2001, Midland National grew in both size as well as complexity through its own efforts and those of its parent company, Sammons Enterprises, Inc.  A number of support functions were combined with other Sammons-owned financial companies.  An annuity division was created, and Midland National acquired several businesses and distribution systems.  Combined, assets grew $5.4 billion to $9.2 billion.

The entities forming Sammons Financial Holdings reached more than $196 billion of individual insurance in force on more than 1.2 million insurance policies, making it one of the industry's top-30 groups in terms of individual insurance in force.

1992: Rigsbee Retires. Watson Named President, CEO and Chairman

Upon his retirement, William Rigsbee said:
"To survive and prosper, a company must provide an adequate return to its shareholders, good products reasonably priced to its customers and the incentive for growth to its field force and employees.  My job as chief executive officer of Midland National has been to balance all of these sometime conflicting objectives." In 1992, after serving thirty-five years, John C. "Jack" Watson left his role as president of another insurance company to become CEO, presidentand chairman of Midland National.  His positive message began:
"Now is the time to get highly excited about the Midland National opportunity and share it with your clients, business associates, teammates and potential customers."

1992: $50B of Life Insurance In Force at Midland National Attained

In 1992, Midland National issued a bronze medallion commemorating over $50 billion of life insurance in force at the company.  This bronze medallion can be seen in the image above and in the image below.  




1982: Midland National Reaches 10 Billion Dollars of Life Insurance in Force

In 1982, Midland National reached 10 billion dollars of life insurance in force. Within the next ten years, it will quintuple its life insurance sales in force

1981: Midland National Celebrates 75 Years in the Insurance Industry

Midland National’s 75th anniversary celebration kicked off with newspaper ads and radio spots proclaiming, “As we look forward to our 75th Anniversary, we salute our people… more than three hundred reasons why Midland National is a great insurance company. We wish you could meet all of them because these are the people with the talent, the skill, and the ideas that make us a strong, successful, growing company.”

1981: Wayne Gillis Named President of Midland National

In 1962, Wayne A. Gillis joined Midland National as associate actuary, advancing to senior vice president in 1975.  In 1981, Gillis was named president of Midland National.  Gillis died in November of 1983 and William Rigsbee returned as president.

1980: First A+ rating from A.M. Best

In 1980 A.M. Best, the oldest and most widely recognized provider of insurance industry focused ratings, financial data and news, granted Midland National its first industry rating for financial strength as well as the credit quality of the company’s obligations.

1979: New Home Office Opens in Sioux Falls

Midland National occupied its new 22,000 sq. ft. gold glass home office building in June 1979. After operating for 71 years in Watertown, the move to a new home office in Sioux Falls would mark the beginning of a new era in Midland National Life’s history – a period of unprecedented growth.

1978: Sammons Adopts ESOP

In 1978, Charles Sammons established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The Sammons ESOP was designed to provide more than a retirement benefit. It enabled employees to impact the value of their personal holdings as a result of their contributions to the success of their individual companies.

1970: First Billion Dollars of Life Insurance in Force

In 1970, Midland National Life Insurance attained One Billion Dollars of Life Insurance in force.  They issued this medallion that you can see above.

Just a little over twenty years later, that number had grown.  In 1992, Midland National issued a bronze medallion commemorating over $50 billion of life insurance in force at the company.

You might also be interested in:

In 1908, the Dakota Mutual Life Insurance Company (which would eventually be renamed to Midland National Life Insurance Company) saw the first death claim filed.

1977: Midland National Moves to Sioux Falls

Citing concerns that Watertown could no longer support the company’s rapid growth, Midland National announced plans to move its home office to Sioux Falls
Relocating to Sioux Falls offered Midland National several advantages, including a larger population from which to recruit personnel, better air travel connections, and access to a larger postal processing center.

Within a year, all departments had migrated to temporary quarters in Sioux Falls while a new five-story building was under construction.

1962: Sammons Enterprises, Inc. Established

In 1962, Sammons Enterprises, Inc. is established to hold Charles Sammon's diverse investments.

1961: William Rigsbee Named President

In November 1961, William Rigsbee was named president of Midland National.  For the next 31 years, Rigsbee, as president and chief executive officer, set Midland National on a course of unparralleled growth, stability and financial strength.

He established the Regional Sales Director (RSD) program and set in motion a belief that he carried with him through his entire career with Midland National Life - give the agent three things:

1.  Excellent products.
2.  A contract that rewards the agent for superior performance.
3.  The company service philosophy that, "The most important person is the one who makes the sale."

Under his leadership, the company increased life insurance policies in force from $275 million to $50 billion; and achieved a compound annual growth rate of 15% while maintaining superior industry ratings and a high quality investment portfolio.*

*Source: Midland National internal information, 1961.

1961: Introduction of the PPGA System

In 1961, Midland National embraced the Personal Producing General Agent (PPGA) system as the marketing structure to distribute products to consumers in the United States.  The company began working with regional sales directors to recruit and train independent agents across the country.  Midland National stays committed to its independent agents by providing direct access to underwriters and other home office employees, as well as fast, fair and consistent service.

This enabled Midland National to build its field force and gain agent loyalty.

Today, Midland National is licensed to operate in 49 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and military installations both overseas and at home.

Read more at Trust Midland National.

1958: Company purchased by Reserve Life Insurance Company, Dallas

In 1958, Reserve Life Insurance Company based in Dallas, Texas, acquired the majority of Midland National stock. Charles A. Sammons, sole shareholder and president of Reserve Life, owned eight other life insurance companies and had been active in the business for 30 years. 

In addition to health and life insurance companies, Sammons acquired control or substantial stock interests in diverse industries. These businesses included hotels, travel related companies, equipment, industrial and energy distribution, cable television, bottled water, real estate and manufacturing. Sammons had admired the rapid growth of Midland National, which had doubled its life insurance in force during the prior five years.
To learn more about Charles A. Sammons, click here.  To learn more about Sammons Financial Group, click here.To view the full history of acquisitions since 1906, visit the acquisitions page.

1956: Fiftieth Anniversary for Midland National

In 1956, Midland National marked the 50th company anniversary.  The 50th was celebrated with a banquet in Waterton on Frank Bramble's birthday, May 23, 1956.  As part of the celebration, a "Big Boost for Bramble" sales contest was held.  Midland National representatives submitted nearly three times as much business as normal during this seven-day sales contest.

1947: Frank Bramble Named Midland National President

In 1947, Midland National named Frank L. Bramble, a native of South Dakota as President.  Bramble was one of the founders of the company and remained a part of Midland National until his death in 1966 at age 94.  He was the secretary-treasurer until 1947.  He then served as president for four years.  Thereafter, Bramble served as Chairman of the Board.  His dedication and steadying influence contributed greatly to the success of the company.

1934: Midland National Survives Depression And Dust Bowl

The Depression in the United States and the Dust Bowl of 1933 and 1934 plummeted the nation into a financial crisis.  Not surprisingly, insurance sales showed a dramatic decline.  Midland National, however, weathered the adverse conditions and remained optimistic about the future:
"Old 1933 with its depression, its 'hard times,' its sorrows and its tragedies, is now gone forever.  In its stead, we have a brand new year..." - Acorns, January 1934, E.E. Kneedy, sales manager @ Midland National

1925: Company Name Changed to Midland National Life Insurance Company

Name Changed to Midland National Life Insurance Company In 1925, the stockholders voted unanimously to change the name to Midland National Life Insurance Company. The new name reflected the company’s efforts of expanding nationally.

For more on the history of Midland National, poke around the archives here.

1918 - 1919: Flu Outbreak Dramatically Increased Death Claims

Dakota Life's death claim register (seen below) illustrates the local impact of the worst epidemic to strike the world during the 20th century:  The Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918-1919.

This outbreak in the United States dramatically increased claims.

First appearing in crowded U.S. Army training camps in the Spring of 1918, the influenza virus soon spread to Europe and the rest of the world as American troops were shipped to the World War I battlefields of France.

Named the "Spanish Flu" because it claimed the lives of eight million (8,000,000) Spaniards, this strain of flu eventually killed between 20 and 30 million (20,000,000 to 30,000,000) people worldwide - far more than the number of people who died in battle in World War I.

In the United States, the dead numbered 500,000.  Two-thirds of Dakota Life's death claims received during 1918 were attributed to influenza and pneumonia.




To see the story of the first death claim for Midland National (then named Dako…

1915: Company Drops "Mutual" From Name

In 1915, the Dakota Mutual Life Insurance Company dropped "Mutual" from their name and became the Dakota Life Insurance Company.

After operating for six years as a publicly-traded company, Dakota Life Insurance Company officially dropped "Mutual" from its name.

You can read the story of the company becoming a 'publicly traded company' here.

Later, in 1925, the company changed names again.  This time, becoming what they're known as today:  Midland National Life Insurance Company.

You can read all the posts involving name changes for the company here.

1909: Reorganized as a Publicly Traded Company

In 1909, the Dakota Mutual Life Insurance Company, which would, in 1925, change its name to Midland National Life Insurance Company, reorganized as a "publicly traded" company.

This was just three years after the founding of the company in 1906.  And just one year after the first death claim.

The reorganization as a publicly-traded stock company was done to make it easier to raise capital for continued growth.

Also, you can read the story of the "Great Oaks from Little Acorns Grow" seal and campaign for the company here.

1908: 1st Death Claim For Midland National

In 1908, the Dakota Mutual Life Insurance Company (which would eventually be renamed to Midland National Life Insurance Company) saw the first death claim filed.

When the first death claim came early in 1908, it was necessary for Frank Bramble and John Hanten to borrow the funds needed to pay the claim.  Ironically, the company's first recorded death claim was on the life of Nettie Smith, wife of the company's original secretary-treasurer Fred Smith.

She died of appendicitis at the age of 38.  Compared to today, risk of death was higher in the early 1900's.  Many people died from a variety of infections and illnesses that seem minor or unknown today.

To read all the posts about Frank L. Bramble, click here.
To read all the posts about John Hanten, click here.
To read all the posts about Fred Smith, click here.

1906: "Great Oaks from Little Acorns Grow" Slogan Adopted

In 1906, the Dakota Mutual Life Insurance Company adopted a new slogan.  Symbolizing the philosophy of its founders, the slogan “Great Oaks from Little Acorns Grow” used in the seal you see above.

To see the story of the founding of the Dakota Mutual Life Insurance Company - which would be renamed Midland National - click here.

Click here to see the history of all the marketing campaigns from Midland National's 110 year history.


1906: Hanten, Bramble Elected Officers for Dakota Mutual

In 1906, the Dakota Mutual Life Insurance Company was founded in Lead, South Dakota.  You can read the details of the founding of the company that became Midland National.  Less than a month after the founding, the directors of the company decided to relocate the company to Watertown, South Dakota.  
Among the new officers elected at that December 8th Board Meeting were two men who would help shape the company that would become Midland National for decades to come. 
First was John B. Hanten.  Mr. Hanten was elected president, a position he held for 19 years, relinquishing it only to become Chairman of the Board.  Originally a homesteader and farmer near Kranzburg, South Dakota, Hanten accumulated large landholdings in the area.  He moved to Watertown studied law, and was admitted to the South Dakota bar in 1892.  
John Hanten's business and community activities were numerous: he was the recipient of the United States land office in Watertown, State Senator, founder and president …

1906: Company Relocates to Watertown, South Dakota

Less than a month after their first official meeting (that took place in Lead, South Dakota), the directors of Dakota Mutual Life gathered again to reconsider the company's home office location.  Nothing the "necessity of locating the home office of this corporation in a city larger and of more importance," the board authorized Secretary Fred Smith "to negotiate with the cities of Watertown and Sioux Falls, SD and learn what inducements they are willing to grant to secure the location of the home office..."

Watertown offered more attractive "inducements," as the next meeting of Dakota Mutual Life was held in Watertown on November 17, 1906.  The board scheduled a meeting for December 8, at which time Watertown was named the official home office of the company.  You can see a photo of the original Watertown home office below.

Also of interest at this meeting: The board approved a surety bond through Western Surety Company of Sioux Falls, which eventua…