Home Office Hero
Taking into account the population and resources of the eight most southern counties of California, which are Mr. Russell's territory, his agency's success has not been equaled by any other agency in any company, in any part of the world."
Following the merger with Conservative Life in 1906, Pacific Mutual gained many experienced and valuable agents. None, however, proved to be more important to Pacific Life’s growth than John Newton Russell.
As an agent with Conservative Life, Russell traveled around Colorado on horseback and bicycle, averaging one sale per day. He was eventually named superintendent of the company’s agencies. Following the merger with Pacific Mutual, he became secretary in March 1906, and a year later was put in charge of the home office in Los Angeles. Over the next 20 years, he grew the business to annual sales of more than $25 million. As noted by Pacific Life historian and Vice President C.I.D. Moore, “Taking into account the population and resources of the eight most southern counties of California, which are Mr. Russell’s territory, his agency’s success has not been equaled by any other agency in any company, in any part of the world.”
Russell, who was committed to the betterment of the insurance business, was one of 12 founders of the American College of Life Underwriters, whose Chartered Life Underwriter certificate became the most advanced training available in the industry. As a tribute to his work, the National Association of Life Underwriters created the John Newton Russell Award in 1942. The organization is now known as the National Association of Insurance and Financial Professionals, and the award still exists to this day.