Conservative Life In

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Tina Hursh
September 29, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume 111
Pg. 362

The Conservative Life Insurance Company. With full measure of consistency may
this publication offer brief review of the Conservative Life Insurance Company
of Wheeling, West Virginia, for the institution is one that is gaining high
rank and unequivocal success, and had proved a source of just pride, as well as
value, to the city and state in which if figures as a “home corporation.”

This company was organized and incorporated, under the laws of West Virginia,
in the year 1906, with an authorized capital of $500,000. When its first policy
was issued, in April, 1907, the assets of the company were about $14,000. Of
all that has since been achieved an idea is conveyed by the brief notation that
at the close of the year 1920 the assets of the company aggregated $1,575,344.56,
an increase of nearly $400,000 over the preceding year. From an appreciative
article that appeared in the publication entitled “Money and Commerce,” are
taken the following pertinent quotations. After noting that annual statement
of the company for the year 1920 the article continues as follows: “Thus it
will be seen that from a very meager beginning it has progressed and advanced
each year until it now stands among the leading financial institutions in the
country. It has always been the aim and policy of the management to build up
the institution on a solid and safe foundation, and to that end great care has
been exercised in the selection of insurance risks, investment of the funds,
and the systematic conducting of its affairs in such a way as to give to the
public every attractive and up-to-the-minute form of policy, together with the
creation of a permanent agency organization, which now numbers approximately
two hundred fifty men and women, representing it in the states of West Virginia,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida. With
the constant opening of new state, with the agency force increasing in numbers,
and with the volume of business constantly expanding, and naturally the
resources of this institution cannot help but swell in proportion, and its
future growth and stability can be measured only on the basis of the amazing
financial growth of some of the institutions of this kind in the East. Since
its organization the company has paid out over $600,000 in death claims, and
has withstood not only the great World war but also the greatest epidemic the
world has ever known, Spanish influenza. This alone increased the expected
mortality by over one-half, yet each and every claim was paid the same day that
proofs of death were filed and approved at the home office. This alone
demonstrates to the public at large the financial strenght of the company, and
is positive evidence and proof of the soundness and stability as well as of the
just and equitable treatment received by the policy-holders and their

The home offices of the Conservative Life Insurance Company are established in
a fine building that bears the company’s name and that is owned by the company.
This is an enlarged and remodeled structure, the base of which was the old post
office or Federal Building at Wheeling, and with the purchase more recently of
adjoining property on which was situated the Colonial Theater the company now
owns a block 132 feet square-one of the most valuable properties in the city.

In conclusion may be given extracts from a New York financial periodical, the
New York Commercial, whose representative found fully justified the “claim that
Wheeling has one of the most successful and best managed life-insurance
companies in cities of this class in America.” The article further states that
the ultimate test of a company’s financial solidity is the relation of
liabilities to assets, and that, gauged by this test, some of the smaller
insurance companies hold the commanding position, “and this is true of the
Conservative Life of Wheeling.” In Commenting on the specially liberal
policies marking the conduct of the business and the company’s adoption of
“multiform” insurance, the article continues thus: “This contract has been the
means of the company writing as much or more business in its home state as any
other company operating in the State of West Virginia, and the contract has
proved so popular that it is now being copied by some of the older and larger
companies. The wonderful success and progress of this enterprising concern is
due to the competent staff of officers and agents. Clem E. Peters, the
efficient secretary and treasurer of the company, who is recognized as one of
the leading insurance men of this district, has perhaps been more of a factor
in bringing the company through to its present high standing than any other
individual connected therwith, because it has been through his untiring efforts
that the company has attained its present high rank in financial circles.

Of the secretary and treasurer of the company more specific mention is made in
preceding biography.