Who Was The Rocky Mountain Life Insurance Company?

From Jim Woods notes for his RML book

The Rocky Mountain Life Insurance Company (RML) was formed by Jim Wood in 1966, and five years later it was pushed out of business in 1971 by the company‚Äôs competitor. Even to this day the Rocky Mountain Life Plaza in downtown Calgary has retained the Rocky Mountain Life name as the company was a vital force in the building of this office tower.

Hindsight is a great thing, but "Never the less" the edifice is still standing strikingly in Downtown Calgary, as a great tribute to those who created it, in a very short time. RML was Probably one of North America's most successful Financial Institutions.

It is believed that our Eastern Canadian Financial Institutions played a major role in killing Rocky Mountain Life as they suffered extensively from the great success of the company.

RML normally always had five regions going in the Province. The Regions were:

                                                                                           1. Edmonton North

                                                                                           2. Edmonton South

                                                                                           3. Red Deer

                                                                                           4. Calgary Centre

                                                                                           5. Calgary South

Each Region was responsible for all their own expenses, including office space.

Each Region was led by a Regional Manager, and he or she was totally responsible for all the Sales Management in their Region. The perfect Region at the discretion of the Regional Manager, was to have thirty sales personal. Existing of five Divisional Managers, with five "Special Representatives" in each Division.

Top Jobs always went to the top performers. You earned the right to be a Divisional Manager by your sales performance, and Regional Managers came from the top Divisional Managers based on their performance as Divisional Managers.

Lack of Agent Ownership

Very few Life Underwriters own any shares in their own Companies. As often, this is where the real money is made in the Life Insurance business. In Rocky Mountain Life, every sale made by one of our "Special Representatives" carried options to purchase shares in the Company when they reached a certain level of Sales Performance. You work harder with more enthusiasm when you are a part owner in the Company.

The Company used the Emblem which was on the back of a Canadian ten-dollar bill - a picture of Mount Burgess which is located west of Banff, Alberta. We would "fine" our representatives if it was discovered they did not have a $10 bill in their possession.

Ray Hannigan our Senior Vice President commissioned one of Alberta's most famous Artists, "Grand Maison" to paint a picture of the Mountain which we proudly hang in our home to this day.

The commission paid to the Special Representative was 40% of the first-year premium and no renewals. This applied to both out Pioneer Contract Division and our Success Division. Even though our commission scale was the lowest in the business, we excelled in almost every other area in a Sales Organization.

It was Rocky Mountain's Innovative concepts that lead to the Companies success. It was Jim's education from the Life Insurance Marketing, at Purdue University that led to his innovative concept and thus the great success of the Company. Management used the simple concept of recruit, Train and Supervise.

It is only natural that you can't start a Life Insurance Company without people who can sell. The key being that you have to Recruit - both Women and Men - in other words you need a good Sales Organization.

How is this major goal achieved? The first thing you can't achieve any business unless you attract good salespeople - both Women and men - train them right and motivate them to succeed.

It sure sounds simple - doesn't it - and it is. You can't help repeating this simple fact.

The key to Rocky Mountain's is that we followed the simple fact and we were able to attract the right kind of people - people you could Recruit, Train and Supervise - simple yes but you don't want to complicate simple facts. We stressed motivation and work habits.

The Provincial Superintendent issues production standards of the top twenty Life Insurance Companies operating in Alberta.

The first full year of operation of Rocky Mountain Life was 1967, and "Rocky" stood seventeenth in the sales production. In 1968 the result was eighth. It was almost unbelievable that the Company was "Number One" with a little over one hundred and nine Million Dollars in sales production. It was obvious that Albertans wanted Rocky Mountain Life. It was also the big and powerful Eastern Life Insurance Companies didn't want Rock Mountain Life and enjoyed the power to have it their way. "Financial Democracy" at it's worst.

The Alberta Superintendent of Insurance at the time Alec MacPhee believed in Rocky Mountain Life and was very friendly and supportive of "Rocky" and thus the leaders of the Company knew how and why Rocky was "pushed" out of business.

It is interesting to note you can call Rocky Mountain Life in Calgary at 237-8300 or 225-4055.

 (Jim while writing his unfinished book, noted many years after RML was closed the numbers were still active and listed in the phone book.)