History

Our History Of Firsts Began By Putting Customers First

In 1906, when the Northwest was largely an untamed wilderness, a visionary man named Leo Samuel founded the company that would become The Standard. Long before someone coined the phrase 'act local,' Mr. Samuel saw the need for an insurance company that understood the lives of its customers first-hand.

In those days, the timber industry was king and the life of a logger was rough and dangerous. Equipment was primitive. On-the-job injuries could strike anytime. Social Security and workers' compensation didn't exist, so an injury or death could wreck a family's finances and their future.

Even if a logger managed to buy a life insurance policy, most of the companies were located on the east coast. The long distances involved meant slow claims payments and impersonal service.

Mr. Samuel formed the Oregon Life Insurance Company to meet the needs of local customers better and faster.

 

From Immigrant To Philanthropist

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A German immigrant, Leo Samuel arrived in New York City in his early teens and began a slow move westward. He settled in Portland, Ore., at the turn of the 20th century, as the city was enjoying an economic boom thanks to the Northwest's abundant natural resources.

As his company grew, so did his commitment to supporting local charities. Some credit Mr. Samuel with Portland's nickname, 'The City of Roses,' because he grew roses and kept a pair of scissors tied to his garden fence so passersby could clip a few of his beautiful blooms.

 

From The Beginning, We Blazed Trails

If a logger couldn't work due to injury, chances were he'd lose his insurance due to non-payment of premiums. The Standard became one of the first insurance companies to implement a waiver of premium – allowing permanently disabled policyholders to keep their insurance without paying any additional premiums. That same pioneering spirit guides our products and services today.

Our Success Keeps Growing – And We Keep Giving Back

Leo Samuel's company – built on local customer service – grew steadily. The company's conservative investment strategies and strong reputation delivered continued success through world wars, economic upheavals and the evolution of the insurance industry.

Today, The Standard has more than 40 offices across the country and 2,700+ employees. We provide financial services and products to approximately 6 million customers, in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the United States Territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands.

In Portland, Ore., where our home offices are still located, we are the largest non-government employer downtown. The Standard is also one of the top corporate donors to local nonprofits serving those in need, with emphasis on helping people with disabilities thrive independently, supporting families facing challenges, broadening access to the arts and preparing our future workforce for success.

Customer Service Never Goes Out Of Style

When we received our first claim in the mail in 1906, we paid it in full that very day. More than a century later, our online services would amaze Mr. Samuel. But we're still committed to expedient, personal support. Doing the right thing for customers is in our DNA. That will never change.