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Tommy T. Martin Chair of Insurance

2008 Inductee Thomas Maclellan

Born in Scotland in 1837, Mr. Maclellan moved to Canada at a young age and then to the U.S. following a business failure. 

We know little of Thomas Maclellan’s education or professional affiliation.  It is lost to antiquity.  What we do know is that his major legacy was in making a small accident insurance company in Chattanooga a major force in the disability income industry nationwide.

Finally, in 1892, Mr. Maclellan saw an opportunity in a tiny, failing insurance company in Chattanooga that later changed its name to Provident Life and Accident Co. Provident was founded in 1887 as a side venture by Chattanooga businessmen who knew little and cared less about insurance. The company could barely afford its $15 monthly rent.  When Mr. Maclellan appeared with a friend offering to pay $1,000 for half interest in the company, the offer was accepted.  Within a few years of hard work, long hours and great endurance, the ambitious pair had turned Provident into a viable business.

            When Mr. Maclellan purchased his company share in 1892, Provident was a small local concern collecting $5,000 or $6,000 yearly in premiums.  By the time of his death a quarter-century later, he had grown Provident into one of the South’s leading financial institutions, with policies in 15 states, hundreds of agents, and more than $700,000 in premium receipts. Provident was one of the first companies to offer insurance to workers at the bottom of the industrial pyramid.

Mr. Tommy Martin
Dr. Dave Wood,
Martin Chair of Insurance
Rebecca Darden,
Program Coordinator