Other CNA Insurance Lines CNA Life - For All The Commitments You Make®
History of CNA Life
Policyowner Forms To Our Agent Services Web Site! Our Lineup of Policies and Services Navigation Buttons

Our Life History

CNA was founded in 1897, in the city of Chicago in the United States, by a prominent businessman named Collins Hubbard. Since then, CNA has underwritten many types of insurance including, fire, accident, maritime, life, health, and annuities, that have established them as the third largest commercial lines insurer in the world.

History of Our Life Insurance Companies

The 20th century dawned on an urban explosion as Americans left their farms and moved to large cities. Without their land, people sought other forms of financial protection for their loved ones after they passed on. The nation turned to life insurance.

Continental Casualty Company (CCC) deemed the expansion into life insurance necessary to extend and strengthen the protection its agents could offer the insuring public. On April 26, 1911, the president of CCC, H.G.B. Alexander, and four other company directors pooled $100,000 from their personal resources and founded a separate life insurance company, Continental Assurance Company (CAC). Similar to its casualty counterpart, CAC started small then rapidly developed into a contending force in the industry. The company achieved $10 billion of life insurance in force in 54 years, at a time when the industry average for that accomplishment was 86 years.

1897 Continental Casualty Company, the first of the CNA insurance companies, opened its doors for business.
Helen Barnhart

Rate guide

1920s Continental's women agents are called "Peaches." Peach Helen Barnhart is a phenomenon, qualifying for the prestigious 120 Continental Assurance Club within three years of starting her insurance career. She is the first woman agent to qualify for membership into the prestigious club.

CAC pioneers a combination of savings and life insurance that is marketed to local banks. CAC follows up with a salary investment plan in 1926, a long time before Social Security benefits. That year, CAC writes $3 million a month in policies.
1930s During the Great Depression, CAC remains committed to its customers. CAC promptly pays policyowners who are cashing out their policies.
Continental building
1948 CAC reaches its billion-dollar goal, placing it among the top 6% of the 425 life insurance carriers in the nation.
Agents' classification manual
1960s CAC announces the first group term life insurance plan with a permanent option.
American Casualty logo
1963 The acquisition of American Casualty Company signals the birth of the Continental National American (CNA) group. CNA also gains Valley Forge Life Insurance (VFL), American Casualty's life subsidiary.
To CNA long-term care
1965 CNA becomes the first insurance company to offer long-term-care insurance protection.
Lunar bootprint
1969 CAC provides insurance to some of the nation's astronauts. Through the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Frank Borman and Neil Armstrong are insured with survivor protection. Through the National Aeronautics Association (NAA) Borman and James A. Lovell are covered with group life insurance policies covering airmen engaged in flying activities anywhere in the world.
  1972 CAC becomes the 15th US insurance company to exceed $15 billion of life insurance in force.
  1974 Sales of individual life policies top $1 billion for the first time in the company's history.
  1982 CAC introduces universal life. It's new because it responds to market conditions, competing with other investment options and offering the possibility of a high rate of return.
  1988 Personal Security Plan (PSP) is introduced. It's life insurance offered to middle-income employees at the workplace, paid for through payroll deduction.

The Life Operations department moves CNA into the upper tier of companies selling new life policies, with $14 billion in assets and sales exceeding 3,000 a week.

ViaTerm, introduced in 1994, has become one of the best-selling term products with life insurance brokers - a new source of distribution for CNA. CNA acquires CONVIDA, one of the largest annuity writers in Chile.

  1996 CNA Life Insurance Company of Canada begins selling term life insurance and takes the Canadian market by storm.
1997 Sales reach 6,000 new applications a week. CNA Group celebrates its 100th anniversary."
1998 CNA Life launches new Web sites for its customers and sales professionals.

CNA achieves its Year 2000 readiness goals. CONVIDA of Chile changed its name to CNA Vida and began selling term insurance.
  1999 CNA International Life in Grand Cayman offers the international consumer the opportunity to protect their financial futures through a U.S. $ Life product of CNA.
Disclaimers   Return to Top