Life on the western frontier was filled with opportunity and risk. And while most insurance companies charged pioneers exorbitant premiums, our founders believed in treating all policyholders fairly. Out of that need Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company of California, now Pacific Life, was born. From its earliest days, Pacific Life adapted to the needs of its policyholders. The company created an accident department in 1885, a radical move for the day.
With every claim filed, Pacific Life delivered on its commitment to serve the individual needs of its policyholders. Pacific Life's first president, Leland Stanford, founded what is known today as Stanford University. Following Leland Stanford's death in 1893, the university was on the verge of financial ruin. Stanford's widow used the money from an honorary Pacific Life policy to pay professors and staff, rescuing the university from potential collapse. As the company grew, so too did the commitment and dedication of its staff. The earthquake of 1906 shook San Francisco to its core. One employee Richard J. Mier went to the company's headquarters and found $72,000 in bonds that weren't in the company's fireproof safes.
He rushed home and buried the bonds in his basement for safekeeping. The office burned to the ground later that day. Those important documents survived and so did Pacific Life. During the Great Depression, so many disability claims were filed that it nearly sunk the company. The state of California stepped in with a bold plan to save the company and make policyholders whole. As part of the reorganization, policyholders voted to mutualize, making them owners of the company. A new era was ushered in. Since then, Pacific Life has built upon its time-tested strengths to help generations of families build long-term financial stability.
Independent advisors replaced career agents, greatly expanding the reach of Pacific Life's products. The success of PIMCO fueled Pacific Life's growth in the retirement market. Several acquisitions diversified the company and expanded its footprint. Today Pacific Life is a Fortune 500 company with more than a $150 billion dollars in assets and over $2 billion dollars in insurance and annuity benefits. A lot has changed in 150 years, but we remain committed to our original vision: supporting the financial goals of our policyholders and giving them confidence to live life to the fullest. With a sound strategy and the stability that 150 years brings,.
Pacific Life will continue to empower success for generations to come.