On January 17, 1879, our predecessor, the Hotel Men's Mutual Benefit Association of the United States and Canada, began operating. In 1942, John D. MacArthur merged his companies, the Hotel Men's Mutual Benefit Association, the Illinois Standard Life Insurance Company and Bankers Life and Casualty Company, under the "Bankers" brand name.
MacArthur studied the great American manufacturers. He learned how they branded and mass-marketed a range of household goods and services. MacArthur reasoned that if he could reduce the high cost of selling insurance, he could make insurance affordable for middle-income Americans. So began Bankers' unparalleled growth through direct mail marketing campaigns. And by the end of 1956, Bankers Life and Casualty Company had become one of the largest individual insurers in the health and accident field. In the 1960s, we turned our attention toward America's growing senior market. And shortly after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law, Bankers became one of the first insurance companies to offer Medicare Supplement plans.
While strength, stability and service shape our culture, we've never lost sight of our vision—to become a leading provider of financial security to retirees and their families. That's why our insurance product portfolio now includes long-term care, life insurance, annuities and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. It's also why we'll continue to grow and innovate to meet the changing needs of our customers.