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The Staying Power of a Promise

In an effort to help my father downsize, I was recently cleaning out some of the things he and my mother had gathered during their 50-plus years of marriage. In doing so, I came across an issue of LIFE Magazine from Nov. 5, 1945.  With a 10-cent price tag on the taped-up cover, the magazine featured a large, black and white close-up image of an American sailor sipping a milkshake with the short headline: “THE FLEET’S IN.”

The cover story was about the U.S. Navy visiting New York the previous month – in a big way: 1,200 Navy planes flew overhead, and seven miles of warships anchored in the Hudson River, on display for President Truman and thousands of onlookers from the docks, sidewalks and terraces of Manhattan.

Stumbling across this old issue of LIFE was interesting to me, as I have a love for print magazines and storytelling. So, I began flipping through. However, I must say, I was completely shocked when right there on page four, I found a half-page, black and white ad for the National Life Insurance Company.

Well, isn’t that funny? That’s where I work.

The ad features an illustration of a family building their log cabin home with the headline “Protecting the American Home.”  Underneath the picture, we learn the drawing is of American Revolution Colonel Jacob Davis, building his first log home in Montpelier. “He didn’t need a mortgage,” the ad read about his first post-war home. “And a kettle was about all his kitchen equipment, but things are different now.” The ad was promoting a National Life product called “Packaged Mortgage,” a novel way to finance your home as well as major home appliances, all under one loan, from one lender. That’s pretty forward-thinking on behalf of National Life, and also super customer focused: the ad says we were the “first large-scale financing institution” offering that type of new product, one that truly made sense for the times they were in and made sense for the wallets of their customers.

I did some digging and I couldn’t find the “Packaged Mortgage” available on our website anymore. Like the ad said – things are different now. But I can only partly agree with that statement.

Things are different at National Life in that now, you won’t find the Packaged Mortgage available here any longer. Our vision is to bring peace of mind to everyone we touch and how we do that is through life insurance and annuity products built for the everyday families who live and work on America’s Main Streets.

What is not different is that National Life is still here in Montpelier, Vermont and also now in Texas, with agents across the nation. We are still a mutual company “as solid as the granite hills of Vermont” (as the ad states), and that we continue to be laser-focused on protecting our customers, keeping our promises and developing forward-thinking, innovative products to meet the needs of today’s consumers.

That LIFE Magazine was full of interesting stories, photos, and ads from national brands that are still around today. And while many of the ads are comical looking back on them now, a few of them still hold up as decent, on-brand messaging.

Maybe that’s what I love most about traditional magazines – they have staying power; they can stick around for decades, or longer, and can still be relevant, even if only in historical terms. Whereas a digital link to a blog like this can disappear with the ease of a click.

I’m proud that the company I work for, a company with hundreds of thousands of customers across all 50 states today, has not only maintained, but strengthened, that brand mission of keeping our promises, of protecting our customers – that staying power for more than 170 years. We’re more digitally agile than ever before and yet our foundation continues to be the strength to deliver on our promises. Overall, it’s the same message we put out there in LIFE in 1945. And it still holds true today.


National Life Insurance Company was founded in 1848. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest was chartered in 1955.