Company Profile

1900s

1909

Mutual of Omaha, then known as Mutual Benefit Health & Accident Association, files articles of incorporation with the Nebraska Insurance Department. The company’s first president is Harry S. Weller, who serves until 1932.

1910

Mutual Benefit Health & Accident Association becomes authorized to issue health and accident insurance in Nebraska.

1917

Mutual extends coverage to working women as they flood into the workplace to fill the vacancies left behind by men leaving to fight in World War I.

1918

Mutual Benefit consolidates with Omaha Health & Accident Association, assuming more than 3,000 policy owners through the agreement.

Mutual Benefit Health & Accident Association rented a single office in the Bee Building, located at 17th and Farnam in Omaha.

1920s

1920

Mutual Benefit is licensed to sell insurance in 15 states and its premiums went over a million dollars – $1,296,482 – for the year.

1926

Incorporated on Aug. 9, United Benefit Life Insurance Company provides life insurance, pension and annuity products for groups and individuals.

1929

Becoming the first woman to hold office in the company, Mabel L Criss is elected vice president and general manager of Mutual Benefit on Feb. 11.

Mrs. Mabel Criss, the first female officer at Mutual Benefit.

1930s

1933

Four years to the day after his wife became vice president, Dr. C.C. Criss is elected president of Mutual Benefit.

1936

In response to the Great Depression, Mutual Benefit offers its first hospital insurance to protect families. This insurance provided payments for daily hospitalization, operating room, anesthesia, X-ray, laboratory and physician fees.

1939

The company is licensed in all 48 states and two territories.

Mutual Benefit breaks ground on its new corporate headquarters at 33rd and Farnam streets in Omaha on Sept. 4. The building remains in use today as part of Mutual's home office complex.

Dr. C.C. Criss, president of Mutual Benefit.

1940s

1941

Mutual Benefit forms its Group Insurance Department.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, Mutual Benefit changes its policy war clause provisions, providing full coverage for civilians “killed or injured in Hawaii, or within the continental United Sates or Canada by bombing or any other act of war.”

1949

In response to changes in state regulations, Mutual Benefit forms Companion Life Insurance of New York to ensure that New York agents had a total package of health and life insurance products to offer their clients.

Dr. C. C. Criss resigns as president on April 10 due to ill health. He is appointed chairman of the board and on April 14, V.J. Skutt is elected president.

Mutual dedicates the first structure in its present home office complex on May 1, 1940.

1950s

1950

The company name is shortened to Mutual of Omaha and its new insignia – a painting of a Native American chief in full headdress – debuts in an advertisement in “The Saturday Evening Post.”

1952

Founder and chairman Dr. C.C. Criss passes away on March 9.

1953

V.J. Skutt is named chairman of the board and president of Mutual of Omaha.

1955

Increasing Mutual of Omaha’s wealth of products to protect consumers, the company acquires Tele-Trip Company in August 1955. The new product provides trip travel plans and 24-hour, all-accident protection to travelers around the globe.

On the forefront of technology, Mutual becomes the first health and accident company to order an IBM electronic data processing system, in 1955. The computer system goes into use in 1957.

Mutual's income triples during the 1950s due to increased advertising from 1948 to 1957. Significant sponsorships included:

  • 1950-1955 – Mutual of Omaha Calling, a program to reunite servicemen overseas with their families at home via a transoceanic telephone call.
  • 1951 – “On the Line” with Bob Considine, a syndicated column (sponsorship continued for 20 years).
  • 1953 – Arthur Godfrey radio and TV programs (Godfrey broadcasted live from the home office in September 1957).
  • 1955-1957 – “Zoo Parade,” narrated by future Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom host Marlin Perkins.
  • Other sponsorships included “The Breakfast Club” with Don McNeil, the “Today” show with Dave Garroway, “What’s My Line?” with John Daly, “Father Knows Best,” “The Tonight Show” and “The Lawrence Welk Show.”

1958

On Oct. 23, Mutual of Omaha passes the $1 billion mark in benefits paid to its policy owners.

V.J. Skutt, chairman and president of Mutual of Omaha.

1960s

1960

Mutual becomes the first insurance company to include a rehabilitation provision in its disability income protection policies.

1963

Setting the standard for today’s wildlife and reality programming, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom debuts on network television. The show featured hosts Marlin Perkins and Jim Fowler and introduced viewers to the world’s wildest and most exotic animals and locations.

1966

With Medicare's inception in 1966, Mutual is selected to administer both parts A & B of the program.

Jim Fowler and Marlin Perkins get up close and personal with wildlife while filming an episode of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

1970s

1973

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom makes broadcasting history by participating in a scientific exchange between the Soviet Union and United States. This is the first time a photographic crew had been invited to film the wildlife conservation programs of the Soviet Union. They film two reports, “Winter in Russia” and “Summer in Russia.”

1978

Mabel Criss, co-founder of Mutual of Omaha, dies on March 19.

1979

Once again at the forefront of change, Mutual's new energy-efficient dome, a three-story underground building, is completed. It adds 190,000 square feet of space.

An aerial view of Mutual of Omaha's dome, located on the north side of the home office.

1980s

1981

United Benefit Life Insurance Company changes its name to United of Omaha Life Insurance Company.

1984

Thomas Skutt is named vice chairman and CEO.

1985

Jim Fowler becomes host of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, and is joined by wildlife reporter Peter Gros. Marlin Perkins remains with the show.

1986

V.J. Skutt becomes chairman emeritus of Mutual of Omaha. Skutt leads Mutual of Omaha to diversify its offerings during a period of soaring health care costs and national legislation, which threatened the future of private health care.

Marlin Perkins, original host of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, dies at the age of 81 on June 14.

1987

Jack Weekly is named president of Mutual of Omaha.

A series of six “Mutual of Omaha’s Spirit of Adventure” television specials airs on the ABC network.

Thomas Skutt, the company's third chairman and CEO.

1990s

1992

Building on the company's conservation efforts, Mutual of Omaha's Wildlife Heritage Center is formed to promote awareness and appreciation for the natural world at the community level.

1993

Former Chairman and CEO V.J. Skutt dies on Feb. 23. His career with the company spanned 69 years.

1997

Mutual of Omaha launches its first website.

1998

Jack Weekly is elected chairman and CEO, capping a career with the company that began with an entry-level data processing position in 1950.

Under Weekly's leadership, the company merged business units, implemented ambitious customer service requirements and introduced numerous products to respond to the changing marketplace.

Jack Weekly, chairman and CEO of Mutual of Omaha.

2000s

2001

Mutual launches an initiative to revitalize its brand. The initiative included an extensive advertising campaign, new “Begin Today” slogan, updated insignia and new corporate sponsorship of USA Swimming.

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom also enters a new dimension with the launch of its website.

2002

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom roars back to television on the Animal Planet network.

At the same time, the first Wild Kingdom Kids Summit, which challenged 9-12-year-olds to think of ways to save endangered wildlife, is held in Los Angeles.

2003

Daniel P. Neary is named president of Mutual of Omaha.

Mutual of Omaha's Duel in the Pool is launched – pitting top American and Australian swimmers in head-to-head competition. Duels take place in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011.

Mutual ceases sales of individual major medical insurance policies in February and all variable life and variable annuity products in May. Security Benefit Group assumes the reinsurance of Mutual’s existing variable annuity and variable life insurance blocks.

Taking a swing at a whole new audience, Mutual of Omaha expands its brand efforts through a new marketing sponsorship – professional golf.

2004

Mutual of Omaha’s Drive, Chip and Putt Junior Challenge, presented by the Golf Channel, kicks off in February of 2004 and runs through 2008. A golf skills competition for kids ages 7-14, it is held in more than 100 cities across the country.

Chairman and CEO Jack Weekly passes away Dec. 17.

Dan Neary, chairman and CEO of Mutual of Omaha.

2005

Daniel P. Neary is named chairman and CEO. He is only the fifth chairman of the company.

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom Adventure Tour, a unique interactive mobile experience that conveys excitement and adventure of the Wild Kingdom, kicks off and visits fairs and festivals nationwide.

In order to handle the company’s significant charitable giving, the Mutual of Omaha Foundation is established.

2006

Revitalizing the area around its headquarters, Mutual of Omaha unveils a $300 million mixed-use urban development project called Midtown Crossing at Turner Park.

2007

Mutual of Omaha forms Omaha Financial Holdings, Inc. (OFHI) as a holding company for banking operations. OFHI opens Mutual of Omaha Bank with 13 locations and more than $700 million in assets after acquiring community banks in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, and Golden, Colorado.

Mutual exits the group health business, with Coventry Health Care acquiring the company’s group health line.

Mutual's home office gets wrapped with a giant image of a swimmer to celebrate the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials and the company's sponsorship of USA Swimming.

2008

The company sponsors the Mutual of Omaha Swimvitational. It was the final opportunity for swimmers to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Trials, which were held in Omaha.

Mutual of Omaha Bank acquires from the FDIC the deposits of the failed First National Bank of Nevada and its affiliate, First Heritage Bank of Newport Beach, California. The acquisition significantly increases the bank’s size and geographic reach.

2009

Mutual of Omaha celebrates its centennial.

The million-square-foot development, Midtown Crossing, opens in 2009.

Midtown Crossing features condos and apartments, a community park and pavilion, shopping, fitness, dining and entertainment.

2010s

2010

Mutual of Omaha Bank expands to Florida, opening locations in Tampa and Naples and taking over a failed bank on Marco Island.

2012

The second Mutual of Omaha Swimvitational, a precursor to the 2012 Olympic Swim Trials, is held in Omaha.

2013

The 50th anniversary of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom is celebrated with a nationwide contest to find its new “Wild Guide.” Stephanie Arne of Honolulu wins the Wild Guide contest and hosts the program’s new web series.

Mutual of Omaha enters IndyCar racing, becoming an associate sponsor of the Andretti Autosport team and driver Marco Andretti.

Stephanie Arne, host of the web series for Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

2014

Mutual of Omaha becomes one of the few insurance companies to offer an online application for Medicare Supplement policies. The initial application launched in seven states and will be made available in all states throughout 2015.

James Blackledge is appointed president of Mutual of Omaha.

2015

James Blackledge is named CEO of Mutual of Omaha.

James Blackledge, CEO of Mutual of Omaha.

Marco Andretti's IndyCar displays Mutual of Omaha's sponsorship of Andretti Autosport.