Protective Life Corporation
The Protective Life Corporation (NYSE:PL) was a Fortune 1000 holding company with subsidiaries involved in the production, distribution, and administration of insurance and investment products. It was founded in 1907 as the Protective Life Insurance Company by former Governor William Jelks. The corporation's headquarters offices are located in the Protective Center on the former site of the Fairmont Country Club, at 2801 U.S. Highway 280.
In 1928 the company purchased the former Birmingham Ledger building at 1st Avenue North and 21st Street, near its headquarters office at 2112 1st Avenue North, and erected the landmark 13-story Protective Life building. At the time the firms insurance in force amounted to about $6 million.
William Rushton Jr became president of the company in 1937. When William Rushton III assumed the role of CEO in 1969, Protective Life was already a regional provider throughout large portions of the South. In an attempt to grow the company, Rushton pushed for an ambitious plan to introduce Protective Life into all 50 U.S. states. In 1976 the company moved out of its downtown headquarters to a new building in Mountain Brook's Office Park. Later the company began building a corporate campus in a 28-acre site on Highway 280. The third of three office buildings on the site was begun in 2001.
Drayton Nabers Jr took over the reigns in 1992 and supervised the acquisition of the West Coast Life Insurance Company and the Lyndon Companies of St Louis, Missouri, solidifying the corporations national reach. Today, the company is one of the nation's leading providers of life insurance. Johnny Johns took over as CEO in 2002.
In 2006 Protective Life acquired the Chase Insurance Group from JP Morgan Chase & Co. In 2007 the company, with about 2,500 employees, was ranked in the top 10 best places to work in Birmingham by the Birmingham Business Journal.
On June 3, 2014 Protective Life announced that it would be purchased by the Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. of Tokyo, Japan for $5.7 billion. Dai-ichi kept Protective's offices in Birmingham and used the acquisition as a foothold for expansion in the U.S. market. Rich Bielen was named president and COO in January 2016. Bielen was promoted to CEO in July 2017 after Johnny Johns transitioned to the Executive Chairman role.
In early 2018 Protective acquired the individual life and annuity business of the Liberty Life Assurance Co. of Boston, Massachusetts for $1.17 billion. In 2019 the company acquired the life and annuity assets of the Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Co. of Greenwood Village, Colorado for $1.2 billion.
- Milazzo, Don (March 2, 2001) "Protective Life campus growing to 3 buildings." Birmingham Business Journal
- Stone, Adam (October 5, 2007) "No. 10: Protective Life Corp." 2007 Best Places to Work: 151+ employees. Birmingham Business Journal
- Tomberlin, Michael (June 3, 2014) "Japan's Dai-ichi buying Birmingham's Protective Life for $5.7 billion." The Birmingham News
- Poe, Kelly (June 2, 2017) "Protective Life CEO Johnny Johns to become Executive Chairman, Rich Bielen tapped as CEO" The Birmingham News
- West, Ty (January 19, 2018) "Protective Life reaches $1.17B deal to acquire Liberty life and annuity business." Birmingham Business Journal
- Thornton, William (January 24, 2019) "Protective Life Insurance announces $1.2 billion deal." The Birmingham News
- Protective Life Corporation website