David Noble (Photo: Michael Hutton/YT)

David Noble, 85, the longtime president of one life insurer and the founder of another, American Equity Investment Life Holding Co., died Sunday, according to American Equity.

Noble was born in West Des Moines, Iowa, in 1931. He got into the insurance business at General United Insurance Co. in Des Moines around 1949.

Noble was president of Statesman Life Insurance Co. from 1976 to 1994. The company now known as CNO Financial Group Inc. acquired Statesman in 1994. Noble soon left to start American Equity Life in West Des Moines, Iowa, in 1995. When he died, he was still the company’s chairman.

(Related: American Equity Investment Life Holding Company)

American Equity helped create the modern indexed annuity market. Noble was one of the major backers of efforts to keep the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from regulating indexed annuities that same way it regulates variable annuities.

American Equity is collecting the memories of people who knew Noble at RememberingDave@american-equity.com.

Noble also started the Noble Foundation in Des Moines. The foundation supported many schools and charities.

Noble helped the Drake University business school create a high-tech center for learning how the stock market operates, and the school named the center after him.

Terri Vaughan, a former Iowa insurance commissioner who is now dean of the Drake business school put out a statement praising Noble for his leadership and support. “His investment in the university will be a lasting legacy to his vision,” Vaughan said.

John Matovina, American Equity’s current president, said in a statement of his own that Noble was a visionary, passionate leader.

“He always said, and believed, that a company is not a building or a charter, but rather it is the people that make the company successful,” Matovina said.

Noble inspired independent insurance producers and business associates as well as American Equity’s employees, Matovina said.

— Read EIA Roundtable Hears Wide Variety Of Perspectives on ThinkAdvisor.