Bill Seale, Tom Branon, Ernest Welch, and Melvin Storm form a partnership and found the company Tembico, Inc. (based on the initials of their first names). The four funeral directors begin to talk seriously about the formation of an insurance company that can furnish preneed products for their respective funeral homes.
In February, the four gentlemen acquire Wilkerson’s Burial Association in Brady, Texas. The company is converted from a local mutual aid company to a legal reserve life insurance company, the first ever conversion of its kind in Texas. With start-up capital of $165,000 and a single employee, Ben Burton, Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company is born.
A young man from Snyder, Texas graduates from Baylor University. He has a job lined up in Dallas, Texas, but before he can report to his job, his father, Bill Seale, asks him to try to establish the accounting office for FDLIC. Kris Seale agrees to stay on “temporarily” as a bookkeeper until things are sorted out. FDLIC has $2.5 million in assets at the end of 1985. In September, Affiliated Funeral Supply, Inc. (AFSI) is formed, and warehouse space is purchased at 52 Windmill Circle in Abilene, TX. AFSI begins selling and distributing caskets throughout West Texas.
With five employees and no sales people, FDLIC moves from Brady to Abilene, TX and joins AFSI at 52 Windmill Circle. Kris decides to remain in the family business and becomes a member of the Board of Directors. The company begins to grow considerably, and it isn’t long before a portable building has to be set up to accommodate the influx of new employees. In addition, the Dollar for Dollar insurance-funded preneed plan is introduced. All in all, there are 17 people selling FDLIC’s products (15 are funeral directors and funeral home staff).
A marketing coordinator is hired and FDLIC holds its first sales training session in Abilene. In September, the new and revolutionary Decisions Made Early Plus (DME) preneed contract is developed in response to requests from funeral directors. The DME product allows for commissions to be paid upfront rather than on premiums collected, and FDLIC’s sales force begins to grow considerably. Assets increase to $9 million with the reinsurance of several smaller insurance companies.
FDLIC receives the first-ever trust conversion approval issued by the Texas Department of Banking. Total assets rise from nearly $13 million to over $25 million within a year.
After a tremendously successful year in 1988, the first-ever incentive trip is held in January of 1989 in Las Vegas, NV. Kris Seale assumes the duties of President and CEO of the company.
INC Magazine names FDLIC one of the 500 fastest-growing privately-held companies, with 783% growth over a five-year period.
FDLIC celebrates ten years of service. The company now holds $41 million in assets.
With a vision for growth and expansion opportunities, FDLIC breaks ground on a new building located at 6550 Directors Parkway in Abilene, TX. FDLIC has 36 employees who are looking forward to a little bit of elbow room at the new facility. FDLIC’s holding company, Directors Investment Group, Inc. (DIG), is created.
FDLIC and AFSI move into the new 37,500 square foot building and with ample room to expand, there are new opportunities for growth and development. A. M. Best Company grants FDLIC its first rating at B+ (Very Good).
FDLIC reaches total assets of nearly $150 million, and A.M. Best upgrades FDLIC to B++ (Very Good). In addition, the company begins the process of becoming paperless through the use of electronic imaging – the company becomes completely paperless by 2001.
AFSI is sold to Batesville Casket Company.
The company reaches $200 million in assets.
FDLIC launches www.funeraldirectorslife.com
FDLIC reaches its 20th anniversary and has grown to 80 employees with 300 sales professionals. The company gains the endorsement of several state funeral director associations.
The company reaches $300 million in assets.
FDLIC’s A.M. Best Rating is upgraded to A- (Excellent).
FDLIC reaches $500 million in assets. The company begins to make loans to funeral home owners. In addition, Directors Choice Assignment Services (DCAS) is created.
In September, FDLIC withstands the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression with less than 1% of assets impaired, and strengthens its financial position with high quality investments purchased at extremely low rates.
The company is licensed in 45 states and actively produces business in 36 states. DIGicon, a proprietary software program that eliminates the need for paper contracts, is launched with great success. FDLIC achieves 40 consecutive months of record sales, reaches the milestone of $15 million in sales in a single month, and increases assets by a whopping $76 million, shattering all previous records, all in the midst of a global economic downturn.
FDLIC celebrates its first Sabbath Year, granting all employees 30 days off to rest, renew, and rejuvenate. Total assets increase by $82 million to $714 million.
The company launches a new consultative sales system designed with the unique needs of Baby Boomers in mind. In addition, the company launches a sales professional employee program hiring and training top tier sales professionals as part of the unique Select Producer program. FDLIC celebrates 30 years of service and achieves another record year. FDLIC is recognized as one of the top 50 life/health companies in the nation by The Ward Group in the first year of eligibility.
FDLIC reaches $1 billion in life insurance in force and is once again recognized as one of the Ward’s Top 50 list as the top 50 life/health insurance companies in the nation. FDLIC embarks on a wide-spread remodeling effort that includes the addition of an open concept Operations area, a beautiful Work Café, an onsite clinic and an expanded state-of-the-art workout facility.
FDLIC is recognized for a third consecutive year as one of the Ward Group’s top 50 life/health companies domiciled in the U.S. For the first time, FDLIC achieves over $200 million in sales for the year. The company ends the year just shy of $1 billion in Total Assets with 132 employees.
FDLIC is named the #1 Best Company to Work for in Texas in the mid-size company range (100-499 employees).