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A Snapshot in Time: 1893 Phoenix Life Insurance Policy Surfaces in Texas

Hartford, CT, July 21, 2017 –  When Clyde N. Root, Jr., a former auctioneer in El Paso, Texas, found an old Phoenix life insurance policy in his collection, he graciously donated it to the archives of the company.

The policy, from 1893, offers a snapshot in time for a 19-year-old dry goods clerk in Ohio and a company in Connecticut that had already been in business for more than 40 years.

The snapshot and the story it reveals can now be seen on Phoenix’s website

“It’s easy to dismiss the power of forms. Over the years, we have processed massive numbers of forms from our agents and our policyholders. But each piece of paper tells a unique story about a person and their times and the legacy they wanted to leave their family,” said Paul Tyler, chief marketing officer.

The Ohio clerk was Joseph Kopf who purchased a $1,000 whole life policy on April 19, 1893. He had no wife or children at the time and made the policy payable to his estate. He clearly knew first-hand that untimely death can happen, having lost one brother to a train accident and another to diphtheria. The quarterly premium was $11.78 for the next 20 years – until 1913 – and the policy also gave him the flexibility to withdraw the cash value or take a loan as needed.

“Unfortunately, our story ends at the purchase of the policy. We have no records beyond that point,” Mr. Tyler said. “We hope Mr. Kopf lived a long and happy life, and we’re glad Phoenix could play a small but meaningful part as he built his career.”

About Phoenix

Founded in 1851, The Phoenix Companies, Inc. offers annuities and life insurance designed to meet income and protection needs of families and individuals planning for or living in retirement. Our products are available primarily through independent agents and financial professionals. Phoenix is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nassau Re and is headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. We have two insurance company operating subsidiaries: Phoenix Life Insurance Company, with a statutory home office in East Greenbush, New York, and PHL Variable Insurance Company, with a statutory home office in Hartford, Connecticut. For more information, visit


Phoenix and Nassau Re

Alice S. Ericson, 860-403-5946

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Alice EricsonA Snapshot in Time: 1893 Phoenix Life Insurance Policy Surfaces in Texas