Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is an American insurance company based in Columbia, South Carolina. Colonial Life offers disability, accident, life, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement insurance plans in 49 states. Colonial Life was founded in 1939 by Edwin Averyt and became a wholly owned subsidiary of Unum in 1993.
Tim Arnold has served as Colonial Life’s chief executive since January 2015.
Colonial Life’s history traces back to 1929 when company founder Edwin Averyt was working as a bond salesman in Birmingham, Alabama and met with a former University of Alabama classmate who was successful at selling individual accident insurance policies. Averyt later moved to South Carolina to become the regional manager of a firm that sold savings bonds, United Securities Company of Kansas City, Missouri. In 1937, he earned a $2,000 commission. He raised an additional $3,000 from investors and founded Mutual Accident Company the same year. Mutual Accident Company originally sold $1,000 accident policies for $3 annually; policies that were very similar to the policies sold by Averyt’s former classmate.
Mutual Accident Company was converted to a stockholder company in 1939 and renamed Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. Edwin Averyt served as company chief executive until 1970 when failing health forced his retirement. His son, Gayle, replaced Averyt as chief executive. Colonial Life began offering accident and cancer insurance policies to employees using pre-tax dollars in 1985. These policies accounted for half of all new policies issued by the company by 1990. In 1989, Colonial Life created a holding company, Colonial Companies, Inc. Colonial Life became a wholly owned subsidiary of Colonial Companies. In March 1991, Stephen G. Hall was named chief executive of Colonial Life. Hall had served as company president since 1986. Gayle Averyt retained chairmanship of the company. Hall resigned from Colonial Life in February 1992 and was replaced by Frank Smith.
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company
P.O. Box 100195
Columbia, SC 29202-3195