Thursday, December 2, 2004

CHICAGO (February 12, 2004) - In a week when major Chicago employers Bank One and Fannie May Candies announced they will leave town, Mayor Richard M. Daley was happy to celebrate the 125th anniversary of one company's commitment to Chicago.

Bankers Life and Casualty Company, the City's oldest life and health insurance company, has been doing business and employing tens of thousands of Chicagoans since 1879, the year the electric light bulb was invented.

At a January 16 ceremony at Bankers' new offices at 600 West Chicago Avenue, in the Kingsbury Park neighborhood, the Mayor declared Saturday, January 17, 2004 Bankers Life and Casualty Company Day.

Congratulating the company's agents and employees both past and present, he thanked the national insurance company for being a good corporate citizen and stressed the importance of strong companies to the City's well-being. He also praised Bankers for being a company that gives back to its community through its work on behalf of the Alzheimer's Association, the International Longevity Center and Meals on Wheels, Chicago.

Bankers was founded as Hotel Men's Mutual Benefit Association in 1879. This summer, the company will move about 600 of its 1,200 home office employees into the new space at 600 West, the old Montgomery Ward catalog fulfillment warehouse. The company will retain its headquarters at the Merchandise Mart, Chicago.

Citing the rarity of companies more than a century old, Bankers President and CEO Ed Berube said his company planned to honor its rich history by pursuing an aggressive growth strategy in 2004. "We've always been an industry leader and we're proud of that heritage. This year, both the number of branch offices and the number of agents will grow substantially," he said.

Joining Mayor Daley and Berube on the dais at the morning reception were Dan Veto, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning for Bankers, and John McLinden, a principal in Centrum Properties, whose firm partnered with Taconic Investment Partners and others to reposition and renovate the 600 West property. Other guests included representatives from City and State government as well as Meals on Wheels and the national and state Alzheimer's Associations.

Established in 1879 and headquartered at the historic Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago, Bankers Life and Casualty Company focuses exclusively on the financial security needs of seniors. The company offers a broad portfolio of health and life insurance and retirement savings products designed especially for seniors. These products are distributed through a national network of professionally trained company agents. Visit us online at www.bankers.com.

Contact: Linda Heacox