Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Women's Life Insurance Company of America Inc.

Women's Lunch Room, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
New York (1911)
Women's Life Insurance Company of America Inc.

Location: Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Founded: January 1962


The early 1960s seems like an odd time to start a women-only insurance company. Nevertheless, that's what Phyllis Biondi did.

From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, December 25, 1961:

Women Only Insurance

BETHESDA, Md., Dec. 24 (AP) - The newly formed Women's Life Insurance Co. of America Inc., said today it doesn't plan to take any risks on the weaker sex - men.

"Women live longer than men," said President Phyllis R. Biondi in announcing that the firm will start writing women-only policies January 1. It will be the first legal reserve capital stock life insurance company set up to insure females only.

There are other reasons, she said, why women are preferred insurance risks whose policies should reflect preferential benefits:

"As both earners and inheritors, American women today control a great portion of the country's wealth. While women, therefore, now have as many needs for life insurance protection and investment as men, the contingencies of women's lives differ from those of men."

The firm will start operating in Maryland with initial capital of $311,500.

Although there are a few mere men on the board of directors, the firm will be largely run by the fair sex.

Have found very little other information about the Women's Life Insurance Company of America Inc., so I'm not thinking it was a great success as a business model. I was able to determine that Phyllis R. Biondi (1923-1998) was a 1950 graduate of Mary Washington College, which was then the women's college associated with the University of Virginia. But after UVA went coed in 1970, Mary Washington College becane a separate coeducational insitution in 1972. (So in other words, it was a womyn's space from 1908 to 1972.) It appears--if I have the right Phyllis R. Biondi--that she was later involved in invention and patent development.

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