Life insurance agents can help their customers in many ways. One thing they can do is protect a customer’s loved ones against some of the financial impact from the customer’s sudden death. Here’s how that worked during the peak of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which began attracting attention as Americans were celebrating the end of World War I, when the United States had a population of about 100 million, and the world had a population of about 2 billion.
We took these excerpts from The Prudential: A Story of Human Security, a book by Earl Chapin May and Will Oursler that was published in 1950 and now appears to be out of print.
We have kept most of the original style choices intact.
As soon as the extent of the epidemic began to be clear, orders went out from the home office: Pay all claims as quickly as possible. Cut all red tape. Clear the claims within twenty-four hours — don’t let them pile up.
Across the nation, Prudential offices stayed open late into the night, and superintendents and cashiers, often wearing gauze protectors over their faces, paid out claims as fast as it was humanly possible. Field claim payments were being made so rapidly that in more than one instance there was neither time to reconcile nor time to replenish the company’s bank balance.