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2018: Former CEO John Watson Passes Away

Former Sammons Financial Group Chairman and CEO John C. “Jack” Watson passed away on January 24, 2018. He joined Midland National, a subsidiary of Sammons Enterprises, Inc., in 1992 as President, CEO and Chairman. Four years later when Sammons Financial Holdings was established, he was named Chairman and CEO, roles which he held until his retirement in 2000.

During Jack’s tenure, Midland National celebrated its 90th anniversary in 1996 and commemorated reaching $50 billion of life insurance in force. Under his leadership, Midland National increased its life insurance in force from $42.3 billion to $69.3 billion. Read more about Jack’s leadership. 

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1906: Company Founded In The Black Hills Of South Dakota

The company that would eventually evolve into Midland National Life Insurance Company was born on a late summer evening in the Black HIlls of South Dakota.

Meeting at the Smead Hotel in Lead, South Dakota, a group of six men (John Walsh, Joseph Moore, Charles Turney, Claude Sterling, Daniel Bannister, and Fred Smith) elected officers for a company to be known as Dakota Mutual Life Insurance Company.  They also authorized the publishing of "legal notice of the company's intention to begin business."

The meeting culminated from months of planning.  Records show expenses dating from May 1906.  Evidently, the proposed name was under debate until shortly before the August meeting since a draft of the Articles of Incorporation was submitted to the South Dakota Secretary of State under the name of "Western Mutual Life Insurance Company."  The company was incorporated on August 30, 1906, and commenced business on September 4.

To capitalize the new company, the directo…

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.

2018: LIMRA Names Jackie Cockrum a Retirement Rising Star

Jackie Cockrum, Associate Vice President at Sammons Financial Group (SFG), was named one of LIMRA’s Retirement Rising Stars for 2018. This award recognizes financial services professionals under 40 who have implemented innovative ways to accomplish their day-to-day jobs. Jackie works on improving service delivery for SFG’s Annuity Operations and has been with the company for over five years. She also has experience in driving performance in operations and business strategy.
SFG, Midland National’s parent company, emphasizes career development for the younger generation of leaders in financial services, and we celebrate this recognition of Jackie’s work. LIMRA, a research organization for life and health insurance companies, is also committed to highlighting the achievements of upcoming leaders in the financial services sector. Please join us in congratulating Jackie on this award, and learn more about LIMRA and the Retirement Rising Stars program here.