Aflac
Overview
 
Aflac Incorporated (ˈæflæk) is the largest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States, founded in 1955 and based in Columbus
Columbus, Georgia
Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Muscogee County, Georgia, United States, with which it is consolidated. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 189,885. It is the principal city of the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area, which, in 2009, had an estimated population of 292,795...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

. In the United States, Aflac underwrites a wide range of insurance policies, but is perhaps more known for its payroll deduction insurance coverage, which pays cash benefits when a policyholder has a covered accident or illness. The company states it insures "one of four Japanese households" and is "the largest life insurer in Japan in terms of individual insurance policies in force".
Encyclopedia
Aflac Incorporated (ˈæflæk) is the largest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States, founded in 1955 and based in Columbus
Columbus, Georgia
Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Muscogee County, Georgia, United States, with which it is consolidated. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 189,885. It is the principal city of the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area, which, in 2009, had an estimated population of 292,795...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

. In the United States, Aflac underwrites a wide range of insurance policies, but is perhaps more known for its payroll deduction insurance coverage, which pays cash benefits when a policyholder has a covered accident or illness. The company states it insures "one of four Japanese households" and is "the largest life insurer in Japan in terms of individual insurance policies in force". Aflac is also well known for its supplemental medical policies.

Aflac currently is the number one Supplemental Health provider in the U.S., followed closely by Allstate
Allstate
The Allstate Corporation is the second-largest personal lines insurer in the United States and the largest that is publicly held. The company also has personal lines insurance operations in Canada. Allstate was founded in 1931 as part of Sears, Roebuck and Co., and was spun off in 1993...

 Workplace Division.

Aflac has a field force of over 72,500 agents in the U.S.

In 2009, Aflac acquired Continental American Insurance Company to expand its coverage beyond voluntary benefits alone.

History

The company was founded by three brothers, John, Paul and Bill Amos, in Columbus
Columbus, Georgia
Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Muscogee County, Georgia, United States, with which it is consolidated. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 189,885. It is the principal city of the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area, which, in 2009, had an estimated population of 292,795...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, in 1955, as American Family Life Insurance Company of Columbus. In 1964, the company name was changed to American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus.

The company, in 1990, adopted the Aflac initials, although the official name of the underwriting subsidiary remains American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus.

The company signed 6,426 policyholders in its first year. Aflac pioneered cancer insurance in 1958. Beginning in 1964, the company decided to focus sales on worksite settings, eventually through policies sponsored by employers and funded through payroll deductions. By 2003, more than 98% of Aflac policies in the United States were issued on a payroll deduction basis, making the company a leader in that approach to policy distribution. In 1973, Aflac established a holding company, the American Family Corporation.

Business

Aflac operates in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, and has its worldwide headquarters and corporate offices in an eighteen story tower just east of Downtown Columbus, Georgia
Downtown Columbus, Georgia
Downtown Columbus, Georgia, also called "Uptown" , is the central business district of the city of Columbus, Georgia. The commercial and governmental heart of the city has traditionally been toward the eastern end of Downtown Columbus, between 10th Street and 1st Avenue...

 in an area known as MidTown. The Aflac tower is the tallest building in the city. At the end of 2009, the corporation's total assets were more than $84 billion, and the company insured more than 60 million people worldwide.

Aflac is the largest provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States and the largest insurance company overall in Japan, when measured by individual insurance policies in force. Aflac launched a campaign in 2001 to promote their first accident policy in Japan, which The Wall Street Journal rated as one of the "ten most effective campaigns of 2000."

The company now offers several types of insurance policies in the United States, including the following:
  • Accident
  • Cancer/Specified Disease
  • Dental
  • Hospital Confinement Indemnity
  • Hospital Confinement Sickness Indemnity
  • Hospital Intensive Care
  • Life
  • Lump Sum Cancer
  • Lump Sum Cancer Critical Illness
  • Specified Health Event
  • Short Term Disability
  • Vision


Aflac also offers un-reimbursed medical, dependent day-care, and transportation flexible spending account
Flexible spending account
A flexible spending account , also known as a flexible spending arrangement, is one of a number of tax-advantaged financial accounts that can be set up through a cafeteria plan of an employer in the United States...

s. The company also offers human resources
Human resources
Human resources is a term used to describe the individuals who make up the workforce of an organization, although it is also applied in labor economics to, for example, business sectors or even whole nations...

 services for HIPAA and COBRA
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 is a law passed by the U.S. Congress on a reconciliation basis and signed by President Reagan that, among other things, mandates an insurance program giving some employees the ability to continue health insurance coverage after leaving...

 administration.

From 1979 to 1997, the company owned several television stations, most of them in small and medium markets. It sold the broadcasting division to what became Raycom Media
Raycom Media
- History :Although Raycom Media dates its birth to 1996, the core of the company was formed in 1992 when Atlanta native Bert Ellis formed Ellis Communications. He eventually controlled 13 television stations and two radio stations....

 in 1997.

Critics of cancer policies

Consumer groups and some government officials say that cancer insurance returns fewer premium dollars to policyholders than standard insurance. A U.S. General Accounting Office study found that the policies paid back as little as 35% of premiums. (AFLAC said its cancer insurance paid back 62.4%.) In comparison, New York State requires most major-medical policies to pay back 82% and group policies to pay back 75%. New York State does not allow stand-alone cancer policies. In 1997, AFLAC spent $175,000 on lobbyists and campaign contributions to change the law. New York State lifted its ban in 1998, for purchasers who already have basic coverage. Consumer Reports recommended that policyholders use the money instead to buy lower-deductible insurance.

The Aflac Duck

Since 1999, the company's identity has become more widely recognized as the result of commercials featuring the Aflac Duck, who frustratedly quacks the company's name to unsuspecting prospective policyholders. The Aflac brand has developed wide recognition recently with commercials starring the famous Aflac Duck
Duck
Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the Anatidae family of birds, which also includes swans and geese. The ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the Anatidae family; they do not represent a monophyletic group but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered...

 on television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 which started airing in December 1999. The duck concept and all of the commercials to date have been created by Kaplan Thaler Group
Kaplan Thaler Group
Founded in 1997 , The Kaplan Thaler Group is an integrated marketing and advertising agency based in New York City. Its capabilities include: digital marketing, such as web development, social media, mobile, and online advertising; direct response, television, print, radio, out of home, and...

, an advertising agency based in New York City. Struggling to come up with a concept to make the big but relatively obscure insurance company's name memorable, one of the agency's art directors stumbled upon the duck idea while walking around Central Park at lunchtime uttering, "Aflac, Aflac." He soon realized how much the company's name sounded like a duck's quack. The Aflac Duck character has now starred in more than 30 commercials. The Aflac Duck is enshrined on Madison Avenue's Walk of Fame as one of America’s Favorite Advertising Icons.

In April 2009, Aflac introduced a new marketing campaign called "Get the Aflacts," designed to educate consumers about the specific benefits of the insurance products the company sells. The Aflacts
Aflacts
Aflacts is an advertising slogan created by Aflac and Kaplan Thaler and introduced in April 2009 to broaden awareness about the specific benefits of the insurance products the company offers. The campaign, "Get the Aflacts," came about as the company's Aflac Duck campaign had built widespread...

 campaign gave the Aflac Duck "a more prominent role," designed to "help potential customers learn the Aflacts, er, facts about policies and other products," according to The New York Times.

Celebrities have starred in the Aflac ads, including Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase
Cornelius Crane "Chevy" Chase is an American comedian, writer, and television and film actor, born into a prominent entertainment industry family. Chase worked a plethora of odd jobs before moving into comedy acting with National Lampoon...

 (2003); Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra
Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra is a former American Major League Baseball catcher, outfielder, and manager. He played almost his entire 19-year baseball career for the New York Yankees...

; Yao Ming
Yao Ming
Yao Ming is a retired Chinese professional basketball player who last played for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association...

; Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Donald John Trump, Sr. is an American business magnate, television personality and author. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump's extravagant lifestyle, outspoken manner and role on the NBC reality show The Apprentice have...

's wife, Melania Trump; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards
Carl Edwards
Carl Michael Edwards, II is a NASCAR driver. He currently drives the #99 Fastenal/Aflac Ford Fusion in the Sprint Cup Series and the #60 Ford in the Nationwide Series for Roush Fenway Racing...

 (2008–); the United States Olympic
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

 synchronized swimming
Synchronized swimming
Synchronized swImming is a hybrid form of swimming, dance and gymnastics, consisting of swimmers performing a synchronized routine of elaborate moves in the water, accompanied by music....

 team (2004); and Wayne Newton
Wayne Newton
Wayne Newton is an American singer and entertainer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He performed over 30,000 solo shows in Las Vegas over a period of over 40 years, earning him the nicknames The Midnight Idol, Mr. Las Vegas and Mr. Entertainment...

 playing at Stardust Hotel and Casino for the 2003 commercial. The duck even appeared with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, and the Road Runner.

In 2005, the company logo was changed to incorporate the duck. The first commercial using the new logo featured Gilbert Gottfried
Gilbert Gottfried
Gilbert Gottfried is an American actor, voice actor and stand-up comedian, best known for his trademark comedic persona of speaking in a loud, grating tone of voice. He has played numerous roles in film and television, perhaps most notably voicing the parrot Iago in Disney's Aladdin , and...

 himself carrying the duck at a pet store because the duck kept saying "Aflac!" and he had to trade it in for another bird, which was a parrot, saying "If you're hurt and can't work".

The duck was voiced by comedian Gilbert Gottfried
Gilbert Gottfried
Gilbert Gottfried is an American actor, voice actor and stand-up comedian, best known for his trademark comedic persona of speaking in a loud, grating tone of voice. He has played numerous roles in film and television, perhaps most notably voicing the parrot Iago in Disney's Aladdin , and...

. After serving 11 years, Gottfried was dismissed on March 14, 2011 due to postings on Gottfried's Twitter
Twitter
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as "tweets".Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July...

 account referencing the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, also known as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, or the Great East Japan Earthquake, was a magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST on Friday, 11 March 2011, with the epicenter approximately east...

. The company's chief marketing officer stated that "Gilbert's recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac." On March 23, 2011, Aflac announced that the company was taking applications for the new voice of the Aflac Duck through QuackAflac.com until April 1. Commercials requesting the submissions, first aired in 2006 but updated, resemble a silent movie
Silent Movie
Silent Movie is a 1976 satirical comedy film co-written, directed by, and starring Mel Brooks, and released by 20th Century Fox on June 17, 1976...

. On April 26, 2011, it was announced that 36-year-old Daniel McKeague, a television advertising sales manager from Hugo, Minnesota
Hugo, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,363 people, 2,125 households, and 1,742 families residing in the city. The population density was 187.2 people per square mile . There were 2,174 housing units at an average density of 64.0 per square mile...

, would be the new voice of the Aflac duck. The first Aflac commercial featuring the new duck's voice first aired on May 1, 2011.

Corporate philanthropy and social responsibility

The company states that through a partnership with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a not-for-profit healthcare organization, was formed in 1998 when Egleston Children’s Health Care System and Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center merged. Both hospitals maintained their original locations, but the merger brought together Egleston’s teaching and...

, Aflac has contributed over $60 million to childhood cancer research and treatment.

Aflac employees are formally involved in an array of charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat For Humanity International , generally referred to as Habitat for Humanity or simply Habitat, is an international, non-governmental, non-profit organization devoted to building "simple, decent, and affordable" housing, a self-described "Christian housing ministry." The international...

, the Easter Seals
Easter Seals (US)
Easter Seals is a nonprofit charitable organization that assists more than one million children and adults with autism and other disabilities and special needs annually through a network of more than 550 service sites in the United States, Canada, Australia and Puerto Rico...

, and the United Way.

Aflac's stated objectives include the decrease of its environmental impact, for which the company is into a partnership with the Clean Air Campaign
The Clean Air Campaign
The Clean Air Campaign is a not-for-profit organization that motivates Georgians to take action to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion....

 to encourage employees to engage with greater frequency in alternate commuting methods.

Awards

  • Aflac National High School Baseball Player of the Year (first presented in 2004). The Jackie Robinson
    Jackie Robinson
    Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson was the first black Major League Baseball player of the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947...

     Award is given to the high-school player who is entering his senior year and who best displays character, leadership, and the values of being a student athlete
    Student athlete
    A student athlete is a term used to describe a participant in an organized competitive sport sponsored by the educational institution in which he or she is enrolled, a term primarily used in the United States. It is used to describe the direct balance of a full-time student and a full-time athlete...

     in academics and community affairs. The award is presented at an annual All-American Awards banquet, which was first held in 2003. The banquet follows the annual All-American Baseball Classic, an East-West all-star game featuring the 38 best players from around the nation who are entering their senior year of high school. First held in 2003, the game is played at PETCO Park
    PETCO Park
    Petco Park is an open-air ballpark in downtown San Diego, California, USA. It opened in 2004, replacing Qualcomm Stadium as the home park of Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres. Before then, the Padres shared Qualcomm Stadium with the NFL's San Diego Chargers...

    , San Diego, California. Proceeds from the game and banquet are donated to Rady Children's Hospital
    Rady Children's Hospital
    Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, the largest children's hospital in California, is a 442-bed pediatric care facility providing the largest source of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego, southern Riverside and Imperial counties...

    in San Diego and its fight against childhood cancer. In 2011, the name of the all-star game was changed to the Perfect Game All-American Classic.
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