Business

N.C. Mutual Life Insurance to unveil new name and logo this week

The N.C. Mutual Life Insurance building is one of the most prominent office towers in downtown Durham. Here it is pictured near the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project stop in downtown.
The N.C. Mutual Life Insurance building is one of the most prominent office towers in downtown Durham. Here it is pictured near the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project stop in downtown. File Photo

North Carolina Mutual Life Insuruance Co., the nation’s oldest and largest black-owned insurer, is set to change its name and branding as the insurer attempts to re-introduce itself to the African-American market.

The Durham-based company plans to change its name to NC Mutual, introduce a new logo and announce expanded business divisions at this week’s annual meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22, at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church on West Chapel Hill Street.

“The new brand is part of an effort to re-introduce the company to their traditional African-American market,” the company said in a release. “With new products and services, the company is poised to be the company of choice for African-American families and businesses as well as companies looking to choose more diverse vendors.”

As part of the re-branding, N.C. Mutual Life will offer expanded business divisions in funeral funding and expanded policy offerings beyond life insurance. The company will now offer a variety of insurance products, including life, home, auto and other property coverages.

The 118-year-old company is led by Chief Executive Officer Michael L. Lawrence, who took over the top role at the company after James H. Speed Jr. retired in 2015.

It reported a net loss of $4.45 million in 2015, after ceding the majority of its life insurance policies to another company in a move to decrease policy risk. The company attributed the loss in 2015 — which came after a profitable 2014 — to repositioning the company for its future.

“The loss that you’re seeing has to do with positioning,” Lawrence said at last year’s annual meeting. “Trying to get ourselves ready for the next move.”

In 2015, the rating agency A.M. Best upgraded the financial strength rating to B (Fair) from C+ (Marginal) for N.C. Mutual and revised the outlook rating to stable from negative.

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes

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