AARP vs Colonial Penn – The Facts

AARP could be the nation’s leading organization for people age 50 and older. It serves their needs and interests through information and education, advocacy, and community services that are given by a network of local chapters and experienced volunteers through the entire country. The company also provides members an array of special benefits and services, including Modern Maturity magazine additionally the monthly Bulletin.

AARP (The American Association of Retired Persons) is a not-for-profit association with 33 million members, a membership second only to the Catholic Church in America. This gives its publication Modern Maturity a colossal circulation. Fortune polls found it to be probably the most influential lobby on Capitol Hill; the group spent $35 million lobbying in 1995. Although it sells health insurance, among other things, the company is regarded as a nonprofit group and receives many tax breaks and federal grants ($86 million in 1997). Its economic influence goes far beyond its membership revenues, administrative allowances, and commissions on product offerings, which include a lot of different insurance and financial loans, as well as its pharmacy service, which controls 10 percent associated with the mail-order market. Investigative journalist Dale Van Atta estimated “that the sum total revenue for AARP as well as its partners in 1994 was $5.6 billion.”


Colonial Penn has directed their efforts within the last fifty years at directly providing life insurance policies to consumers at a realistic price. They normally use television, the United States postal service, and a call center to promote their policies and benefits to the widest array of an individual that you can. Their ultimate goal is always to provide the peace of mind and financial protection due to their members and their member’s families.

Even AARP detractors credit California educator Dr. Ethyl Percy Andrus as “one regarding the truly great women of recent American history,” as Dale Van Atta put it. Andrus had get to be the first female senior school principal when you look at the state of California, and upon her retirement she became thinking about the poverty of her fellow retired teachers trying to live on tiny pensions.

In 1958 Andrus and Davis created the American Association of Retired Persons to share with you the insurance coverage benefits the NRTA had gained utilizing the general retired population. Davis provided the $50,000 of start-up capital. The company publication, Modern Maturity, consumed most of this capital but proved a successful marketing tool, touting an “invitation to security” within the organization’s medical health insurance plans. A business publication, the Bulletin, described the group’s lobbying efforts. A large number of volunteers also worked to promote the offerings of AARP/Colonial Penn.


Colonial Penn is a Pennsylvania-based insurance company that was founded in 1968 It initially functioned whilst the insurance that was provided through the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) as well as only served consumers age 65 and over. In 1985 FPL Group bought Colonial Penn and then sold it to Leucadia National in 1991. In 1997, Conseco acquired this company where in the second year the name would be changed to such after which in 2001 Conseco changed the name back once again to the initial Colonial Penn.

In 1963 Davis bought 750,000 policies from Continental and set up a holding company, the Colonial Penn Group. Based on Morris, Colonial Penn’s revenues grew from $46 million to $445 million between 1967 and 1976, thanks to NRTA/AARP members, which provided almost all of its health insurance revenues. This made Colonial Penn the most profitable company in the us, according to Forbes magazine. At the same time, Consumer Reports published a very critical writeup on Colonial Penn’s service to AARP members. A U.S. Postal Service investigation into the organization’s utilization of nonprofit mailings ensued. The post office, in fact, recommended that criminal federal prosecutors bring charges against AARP and Colonial Penn for fraud. Charles Morris and Dale Van Atta reported, however, that Leonard Davis was indeed expunged from official AARP histories as a result of his questionable reputation. In reality, he lost his insurance license in 1965 in a New York bribery scandal. Andrus died in 1967, the season the Age Discrimination in Employment Act was passed.

In 1978, after being fired by Davis, Executive Director Harriet Miller (who eventually became mayor of Santa Barbara, California) filed a $4 million suit leveling most of the same charges, contending that control of the corporation rested in the hands of Colonial Penn. A 60 Minutes exposé demoralized AARP workers, members, and volunteers, and Davis left the corporation in February 1979. AARP settled Miller’s suit for $480,000 and began inviting competitive bids for the insurance business in 1981. Prudential Insurance Co. won the contract and devoted an employee of 4,500 to your project.

In 1983 Davis retired from Colonial Penn. A few years later, the company, which had lost AARP’s health insurance contract, sued its former partner for not allowing competitors to advertise in Modern Maturity.

The NRTA and AARP had merged officially in 1982. The membership age was lowered from 55 to 50, making it possible for a more substantial pool of potential members. South Carolina native Horace Deets, a former Catholic priest, became chief executive of AARP in 1988. The organization lobbied to standardize Medigap coverage during the late 1980s, which Smart Money reported had the end result of drying up competition.

AARP tried piecing together a federal credit union, that was vigorously opposed by other bankers. AARP Federal failed within two years, since it do not open any regional branches, and senior citizens proved cautious about placing transactions without talking to tellers in person. Van Atta reported that the AARP Travel Service was another seemingly logical marketing concept that soon failed. When you look at the mid-1990s an offering of a simplified cellular phone, the Roadphone, fell apart as soon as the provider, ASCNet, went bankrupt. Van Atta noted that AARP initially refused to pay members when it comes to $200 phones but relented after an intense public outcry.

AARP fought another publicity battle when Republican Senator Alan Simpson attacked the company’s tax exempt status in congressional hearings. Deets characterized these proceedings as “an absolute witch hunt.” At the same time, articles in National Review, Fortune, yet others lamented an inter generational inequity when you look at the Social Security system. They observed that the current generation of retirees would reap a lot more advantages of the money-losing program than their children ever would–the funds simply are not there to aid them. As Simpson place it, “Do some of you care a crap regarding the grandchildren?” Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca delivered much the same message during the 1992 AARP convention.

AARP still faces the challenge of capturing the Baby Boomer generation, something it must do to survive as natural attrition trims two million people per year from the rolls. This has tried marketing tactics such as for instance sending alternate magazine covers to younger (not as much as 60 years of age) members as well as has considered changing the publication’s name from Modern Maturity to something more inviting towards the more hip and independent group demographic. In fact, one or more analyst urged the organization to alter its own name to something more positive as well. One of its very own ads implored: “Forget for a second that your message ‘retired’ is in our name.” In 1998 the group began using the acronym AARP (pronounced to rhyme with “harp”) as its official name. Direct Marketing writer James Rosenfield summed up the organization’s image problem: “Experiencing adolescence into the ’50s was a mite distinctive from adolescence during the ’60s. Were 2 full decades ever more in contrast?”

While few discount the influence of this venerable organization, AARP faces serious threats to existence within the next century. Even though the U.S. elderly population was likely to double by 2040, the youngsters of Woodstock have values distinctive from those of the children of the Depression. Perception is reality in lobbying and marketing; the group is attempting to keep up the look of power and prestige while on top of that staying relevant and credible featuring its varied membership constituency.

Colonial Penn is a Pennsylvania-based insurance carrier which was founded in 1968 It initially functioned as the insurance which was provided via the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and additionally they only served consumers age 65 and over.

In 1985 FPL Group bought Colonial Penn after which sold it to Leucadia National in 1991. In 1997, Conseco acquired this company where in the next year the name could be changed to such and then in 2001 Conseco changed the name back once again to the original Colonial Penn.

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