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FIDELITY UNION LIFE INSURANCE

FIDELITY UNION LIFE INSURANCE. Fidelity Union Life Insurance, headquartered in the twenty-six-story Allianz Financial Center in Dallas, Texas, grew from Texas roots to become part of a worldwide network of diversified insurance organizations and in the 1990s ranked in the ninety largest stock life-insurance companies in the nation. Carr P. Collins and William Morriss founded the company in 1927, beginning with four employees who sold insurance in Texas and Alabama. Collins previously served as secretary to the Texas Employers Insurance Association and established and ran Fidelity Union Fire and Casualty, a forerunner of the present firm, with B. P. Bailey until 1931. Earl B. Smyth, a local bank president, served as vice president, and E. F. White as agency director after Morriss left the firm. Despite the onset of the Great Depression Collins and White's promotion of a "life insurance plus stock-option" plan gave the firm $30 million of life insurance in force by 1931. Collins became increasingly involved with his Crazy Water Crystals business in Mineral Wells and removed himself for a time from active management of the firm to become chairman of the board in 1932. He later returned and was succeeded by his son, James Mitchell Collins, as president in 1954. After Smyth died in 1943, Collins developed a new "market concept" approach to insurance, an idea that developed from his original business selling only to cottonseed-oil mills and cotton ginners. The new plan moved away from standardization and classified members by "markets" with common insurance needs, such as school teachers, college graduates, and "total abstainers," a group modeled on plans used in Europe. Individual markets were targeted with advertising. By 1953 the firm employed 341 agents and 175 home office workers and had the largest life-insurance headquarters building in the South. Jim Collins, who became a United States Congressman, was succeeded by his son, Michael James Collins, in 1972.

In 1979 Allianz Versicherungs A.G., a Munich-headquartered insurance company founded in 1896, acquired Fidelity Union. It was merged with North American Life and Casualty Company in 1993. By the 1990s Allianz had 225,000 employees in forty countries worldwide, more than $120 billion in assets, and more than $34 billion in premium income, along with three other United States affiliates. Fidelity Union had over $10 billion of life insurance in force and almost $1 billion in assets. The German parent company had become the world's sixth largest insurer and twenty-third among the world's largest public companies of all industries.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Dorothy Neville, Carr P. Collins (Dallas: Park, 1963).

John Ftacek

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

John Ftacek, "FIDELITY UNION LIFE INSURANCE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/djfrh), accessed September 02, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.