Longtime Midland National CEO Dies

The Sammons unit is a major life and annuity issuer

(Photo:Scott M. Lieberman/AP) (Photo:Scott M. Lieberman/AP)

William Rigsbee, a World War II veteran who helped turn Midland National Life Insurance Co. into a major industry player, died May 1, according to the News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Rigsbee, 90, served as president and chief executive officer of Midland National from 1961 to 1992.

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While Rigsbee was at Midland National, the company increased the amount of life insurance it had in force to $50 billion, from $275 million.

Midland National is now a unit of Sammons Financial Group and a major issuer of life insurance and annuities. Esfand Dinshaw, the chairman of Sammons, said in a statement that Rigsbee put Midland National on the path toward unparalleled growth by introducing a regional sales director program. The program helped the company build its field force and boost sales, Dinshaw said.

Rigsbee was born in Chatham County, North Carolina, according to the News & Observer obituary.

He began working for Home Security Life Insurance Co. when he was 16. When he turned 18, he was drafted in the U.S. Army. He served during and after World War II in Belgium and Germany.

When Rigsbee returned to the United States, he worked for Home Security for four years, then at Franklin Life Insurance Co. in Springfield, Illinois, for five years.

While at Midland National, he was a two-term chairman of the South Dakota Investment Council, a body that oversaw the state pension funds and other state funds.

--- Read Texas Insurance Commissioner Dies at 60 on ThinkAdvisor.

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