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10 Great Life and Annuity Ads From 100 Years Ago

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Life insurers were the video streaming services and self-driving car startups of the 1800s.

They clearly offered a useful service, but they had a terrible time staying in business. The 100-something-year-old life insurers of today are the survivors.

Back in December 1922, as a new year was about to begin, those life insurance and annuity issuers had just survived the War to End All Wars and a terrifying influenza pandemic that might have killed about 0.5% of all of the Americans who were alive at the beginning of 1918.

Those insurers wanted to show prospective sales agents and brokers that they had the moral character and financial savvy to make good on their promises to producers and customers.

They were fighting against tight budgets, confused distributors, skeptical prospects and unpredictable investment markets to create your world, just as you, and the companies you work with, are laying the foundations for the world of 2122.

Many of those insurers made their case by advertising in the National Underwriter Life Insurance Edition, a print trade journal that eventually became a ThinkAdvisor sister publication.

For a look at 10 of the more eye-catching ads that ran in that publication a century ago this month — along with some marketing takeaways that have stood the test of time — see the gallery above.

Pictured: Clocks in a clockmaker’s workshop, in 1923. (Image: Harris & Ewing Collection/Library of Congress)