Southland Life Insurance Company

By: Brian D. Cauthorn

Type: General Entry

Published: November 1, 1995

Updated: March 23, 2019

Southland Life Insurance Company, a financial services institution headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, was incorporated by eight founders in Texas in 1908 and commenced business in 1909 with John T. Boone as president. The company began in response to the depression following the panic of 1907. Harry L. Seay, a director of the Dallas Power and Light Company and president of the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company, served as president beginning in 1915. Among outstanding actuaries in the firm's early history were Lahroy C. White (1909–12), and Scottish actuaries Lawrence M. Cathles (1920–23), and Paul V. Montgomery (1923–49). In 1915 Southland Life acquired Sam Houston Life of Dallas and San Antonio Life, and in 1929 it purchased the assets of American Life of Dallas. In 1939, however, the company merged with Gulf States Life, maintaining its name under the direction of John W. Carpenter. In 1941 the new company acquired Reserve Loan Life of Dallas and in 1950 Continental Life of Washington, D.C. This acquisition made Southland Life one of the fifty largest life insurance companies in the United States. By 1955 the company had a billion dollars of life insurance in force and assets valued at over $183 million. Company headquarters in 1959 moved in downtown Dallas to Southland Center, then the tallest office building west of the Mississippi. In the 1960s the company acquired Carolina Life of Columbia, South Carolina, and underwent a restructuring. In the 1970s a decision was made to diversify into financial management and real estate development. Among early real estate projects was the development of Las Colinas near Irving. To reflect its diversified interests, Southland Life operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of a newly established holding company, the Southland Financial Corporation, from 1971 until 1984. By 1983 Southland Life had over $8 billion of life insurance in force and total assets exceeding $1 billion. Franklin Life Insurance Company of Springfield, Illinois, owned by American Brands, Incorporated, acquired the company in 1984, and in 1987 it moved to new headquarters at Plano, Texas. In 1989 GeorgiaUS Corporation, owned by the Internationale-Nederlanden Group of the Hague, a worldwide financial services holding company, acquired Southland Life and merged it with Life of Georgia. Southland Life continued to operate as a separate entity through its corporate office in Atlanta, Georgia, and through regional sales directors throughout the United States.

Annie N. and Lloyd K. Friedman, On the Trail of Actuaries in Texas, 1844–1964 (San Antonio: Watercress Press, 1988).

  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

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

Brian D. Cauthorn, “Southland Life Insurance Company,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 03, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1995
March 23, 2019

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