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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 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.

Comment: 

Dear Ruth,

We're very sorry to hear of your loss.

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)

I hope this information helps.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

My mother purchased a life insurance policy for me in 1963. She has since passed away and I would like to cash in the policy. It seems that Durham Life Insurance Company no longer exists. Any advice.
Thank you

Comment: 

Dear Jean,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia.

Our current understanding is that questions about Durham Life policies can 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)

I hope this information helps.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

I sent the policies to A company in Iowa and have not heard from them. These were paid up in 1957. My wife was called home October 5th and these people are not responding. I certified and have a return receipt. What can I do ??

Comment: 

Dear James,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia.  And I’m very sorry for your recent loss.

It appears that Monumental Life (the purchaser of the Durham Life Insurance Company) is now owned by Transamerica Premier.  Here is a link to their contact information page -- https://www.transamerica.com/individual/contact-us/.  And here is the toll free number listed on their website: 1-800-692-5302.

You can also find additional help for insurance issues with the state insurance commissioner. If you are in North Carolina, here is the page for the NC Insurance Commission -- http://www.ncdoi.com/Consumer/Consumer_Life_Lost_Policy.aspx.  You’ll find their contact information on this page.  And here is their toll free number: 855-408-1212.

If you are not in North Carolina, you may want to contact the insurance commissioner for your state for help.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan

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