COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Paul S. Amos, who with his two brothers founded Aflac Incorporated nearly six decades ago, passed away late Wednesday night after a lengthy illness. He was 88 years old.
Amos, who continued to make daily visits to Aflac's offices in Columbus, Ga., and served as Chairman Emeritus, was beloved by the insurer's more than 8,000 employees and 185,000 agents worldwide. He was known affectionately throughout the company as "Mr. Paul."
In an interview with News Leader 9 in 2001, Amos said, ""I think how fortunate we've been because we've come up, the three brothers moved to Columbus, Georgia, with my mother and father. No money, no experience, and just a lot of ambition and hopes."
He continued, "We love Columbus, we love the people, and as far as I'm concerned and Dan's concerned we'll be here forever."
Amos was raised in Enterprise, Ala. and Milton, Fla. He and his wife, the former Jean Roberts, met in church when she was just 17 years old and celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in October of last year. The couple's only child, Daniel P. Amos, is Aflac's current chairman and CEO.
During his long tenure at Aflac, Mr. Amos held numerous positions, both at corporate headquarters and as a hands-on member of the sales force. He served as state sales manager for Alabama/West Florida, first vice president/director of marketing, president, vice chairman and chairman. Although he retired in 2001, he remained a familiar figure at Aflac and loved to be among the employees and sales team members who continued the company's legacy.
Amos' contributions to Aflac are too numerous to mention, but among his greatest achievements was introducing the concept of "worksite marketing," in which products are sold directly to employees at companies through payroll deductions. Today, policies sold at worksites throughout the nation account for 97 percent of Aflac U.S. sales.
"My father was a consummate businessman who led with compassion and dignity," said Dan Amos. "He was a straight-shooter who believed in the simple tenets of honesty and integrity. He was a gentleman, as well as a gentle man."
The Amos brothers founded Aflac in 1955 and, in its first year of business, the company had 6,426 policyholders and $388,000 in assets. Today, it is a Fortune 500 company with more than $121 billion in assets and insures more than 50 million people worldwide. Aflac is the leading provider of supplemental insurance products and pays cash directly to policyholders to use as needed.
In addition to helping build the world's largest supplemental insurance company, Amos established a quiet history of philanthropy and community service. Through anonymous donations and the endowment of educational funds and scholarship programs, he and Jean touched thousands of lives with major financial commitments.
Their efforts included the Paul and Jean Amos Educational Fund at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky.; the Paul S. Amos Family Foundation at Columbus State University in Columbus, Ga.; the Scholarship Fund at Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky.; and many unheralded contributions to those in need.
Amos received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Cumberland College in May 2001. Columbus State University honored him with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree in May 2002. In 2004, Amos received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Asbury Theological Seminary.
Amos is survived by his wife, Jean; their son Daniel P. Amos and his wife Kathelen; two grandchildren, Lauren Amos and her husband Tyler Clayton, and Paul S. Amos II and his wife, Courtney; and four great-grandchildren, Dan Amos, Mansell Amos, Knox Amos and Eden Amos.
Funeral services will be held at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Columbus, GA at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 5. It will be preceded by public visitation beginning at 2 p.m. at the St. Luke United Methodist Church Ministry Center. There will be a private burial service following the funeral.
In lieu of flowers, however, the family asks that contributions in his memory be made to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorder Center in Atlanta or St. Luke United Methodist Church in Columbus.