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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Durham Life Insurance Company

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

Postcard of the Durham Life Insurance Company in Raleigh, N.C. from the North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.The Durham Life Insurance Company was founded in Durham in December 1906 as Durham Mutual Protective Association with A. M. Moise as president. The name became Durham Mutual Life Insurance Company in March 1912. Having acquired both Durham Mutual Life and Catawba Mutual Insurance Company, Durham Life was incorporated in December 1913, with Moise serving as president until 1916. He was succeeded by Silas B. Coley that September. Following other acquisitions beginning in 1914, corporate headquarters were moved to Raleigh in June 1920.

Originally, Durham Life wrote industrial insurance to provide low-income people with limited protection in the event of sickness, accident, or death. As the company name suggests, the firm also sold industrial life insurance with somewhat larger premiums than for accident and health policies, including credit and group insurance. As the company grew, it added a wide range of life and accident and health policies.

In 1927 Durham Life purchased radio station WPTF, originally owned by Will A. Wayne. Its call letters stood for "We Protect the Family," which the company had adopted as a slogan in 1914. In 1929 the company established a policy-still in effect-to have WPTF broadcast a live church service every Sunday. Beginning in 1933 the station operated as WPTF Radio Company (later Durham Life Broadcasting, a Durham Life subsidiary). In 1972 the broadcasting company changed the call letters of its FM station to WQDR-FM, and in 1977 that company acquired WRDU-TV and renamed it WPTF-TV.

Corporate changes would eventually take Durham Life out of broadcasting. In 1979 Durham Corporation, a holding company based in Raleigh, was incorporated, and effective 31 December of that year Durham Life became its wholly owned subsidiary. In July 1991 FSF Acquisition Corporation became the new owners of WPTF-TV and the call letters became WRDC (in 1995 they were again changed to WNCN). Durham Corporation merged into Capital Holding Corporation (Raleigh) in 1991. In 1996 Providian Corporation, formerly Capital Holding, sold its Durham insurance operations to the major Dutch firm Aegon.

References:

"Durham Corporation: It's a New Holding Company for Mature and Honored Firms," We the People of North Carolina 39 (November 1981).

Carl Goerch, Durham Life, 1906-1963 (1963).

Additional Resources:

Views of the Durham Life Insurance Building at NCSU Libraries' Digital Collections: Rare and Unique Materials.

Image Credits:

"Insurance Building, Raleigh, N.C. Also Home of Radio State WPTF, 50,000 Watts" in the Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill.

 

Update from N.C. Government & Heritage Library staff: 

Inquiries about Durham Life Insurance policies may be directed to:

Policy Owner Services
Monumental Life Insurance Company
4333 Edgewood Rd. NE
Cedar Rapids IA 52499

1-800-638-3080
410-385-6903 (fax)

Origin - location: 

Comments

Comment: 

I am emailing for my mom she has about 5 insurance policies for durham life she would like to cash in. She doesn't know if she could understand Anyone on the phone. One policy no id 376 98 76.

Comment: 

Dear Virginia,

Unfortunately, NCpedia is unable to help with policy questions. Our current understanding is that inquiries about Durham Life Insurance Policies may be directed to:
Policy Owner Services
Monumental Life Insurance Company
4333 Edgewood Rd. NE
Cedar Rapids IA 52499

1-800-638-3080
410-385-6903 (fax)

Best wishes,

Marie Jones, NC Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

Worked for Durham Life Insurance Co, from 1983 to 1992. Was a great place to work! The management of the company, mostly worked their way up the ladder, and treated everyone there as if they were a part of a large family. Every year at the home office, the President of the company would personally hand every employee their Christmas bonus personally, shake their hand and thank them for a job well done!

Comment: 

My mother was recently going through some personal documents and gave me a copy of a life insurance policy from State Capital Life Insurance Company in Raleigh, NC. It was taken out on me by my dad when I was 10 years old. Can you tell me how to get in touch with the company please? Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Comment: 

Dear Teresa,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and sharing your question.

We have seen a reference indicating that State Capitol Life Insurance Company merged with Durham Life Insurance Company, although I am unable to confirm this for you.  We also understand that Durham Life is now owned by Monumental Life Insurance Company.  We have their contact information posted at the bottom of the NCpedia article above and here it is as well:

Policy Owner Services
Monumental Life Insurance Company
4333 Edgewood Rd. NE
Cedar Rapids IA 52499
1-800-638-3080
410-385-6903 (fax)

If you need additional help locating a North Carolina insurance company, you may also want to contact the NC Department of Insurance.  Here is their website: http://www.ncdoi.com/Commissioner.aspx

I hope this helps!
Best wishes,
Kelly Agan

 

Comment: 

I recently found an insurance policy that my grandfather initiated in 1969. It was with State Capital Life Insurance. When I entered that in the search bar, I was directed to this site. Can you help me find more information about the policy?

Comment: 

Dear Tanya,

Unfortunately, NCpedia is unable to help with policy questions. If the Durham Life Insurance Company purchased State Capital Life Insurance, you can contact Monumental Life Insurance Company for more information. Their contact information is below and at the end of this NCpedia article. You may also want to contact your local public library for help with researching the State Capital Life Insurance company.

Policy Owner Services
Monumental Life Insurance Company
4333 Edgewood Rd. NE
Cedar Rapids IA 52499

1-800-638-3080
410-385-6903 (fax)

Best wishes,

Laurie Reeves, NC Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

Got a policy insurance I had that my dad give me from Durham life insurance company and needed to cash it in. How do I go about doing this please.. Thank u so much. Brandy Weaver

Comment: 

Durham Life Insurance is now Transamerica

Call- 1-800-683-3080
Press 6
Press 5
It will ask for the policy #, if it is not 9 numbers or letters press *
Press *
I pressed * twice so it asked me the social security number
Once I got on the phone with the claim department and this agent needed to know
1. Name
2. Old policy #
3. Social Security
4. Funeral home
5. Obituary Reference
5. Birth date

He searched her social security number to find out grandmother actually had 2 claims with their company. He went ahead and sent them in and we will either receive a check or a list of other things we need to submit to get the claim.

Comment: 

My mother has passed and I need to find out about her Durham Life Insurance policy.
Thank u.

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