Charles B. Cooper - Quotes from CEO
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Bernard and I ran American Income together for 25 years. When his biography was published I naturally flipped first to the parts about me. I thought he was generous with his praise, but that was how he always has been. A few weeks later we were having lunch and I commented that his accolades might have been a little excessive. "Absolutely not" was his response, "every bit of it is absolutely true, and I should have said more!". So with that endorsement, here are the quotes, including one from me.

From: Being Rapoport: Capitalist With a Conscience
By Bernard Rapoport (as told to Don Carleton)

A couple of months after (Kenneth W.) Phillips joined the company, I hired Charles Cooper as our senior vice president. Cooper has a bachelor’s degree in economics and a law degree from the University of Washington. He learned the insurance business at the Capitol Holding Insurance Group, for whom he had handled the acquisition of five life insurance companies. Cooper served for a couple of years as chief operating officer of Georgia International Life Insurance Company, one of the companies he had helped acquire for Capitol. One thing that attracted us to Cooper was his role in resolving the post acquisition problems of Capitol's new subsidiaries, which meant that he initiated and supervised significant changes in the structure and management of those companies. He was highly recommended as someone who knew how to improve workflow systems and reduce operating costs.

"I came down and interviewed with Bernard. There were signs right off that the company had some problems. He took me around and introduced me to everyone. As we walked around, I saw that there must have been ten thousand applications sitting in stacks all over the department. There was a formidable logjam. It was easy to see just what a shambles the place was. But what was really exciting to me was the volume of paper that was coming in. You can easily clear a logjam, but you can't just go out and generate that kind of business easily." --Charles Cooper

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Cooper and Phillips also brought American Income into the automation age. When they started, there were only two computer terminals in the entire company. We had purchased expensive new software that we used for a pilot operation. It had the capacity we needed, but with only the two terminals, we were fumbling around with it. Cooper and Phillips brought in a bunch of computer terminals and put the software to work in a way that allowed us to streamline a significant portion of our operation. Cooper also stopped several activities that were irrelevant or useless. In every company there's a ton of wasted effort. Quite often, a large company can make more money simply by stopping some of its daily procedures. Cooper was a master at that. He could find waste and cut out inefficiencies that I never saw.

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Cooper stayed with us until 1999. He continued to do an excellent job of devising new insurance packages for our sales force. We seemed always to have the best product at the right time. In 1977 he led us into the credit union market, where we could use some of the same strategies we had perfected to our labor union business. We gained the confidence and endorsement of credit union leaders, and then we solicited their membership on an individual basis. Our entrance into the credit union market helped boost our premium income from $39 million to $58 million within two years.

In 1979 Texas Business magazine declared that American Income was the fastest-growing insurance company in the United States. By then, we had more than $1 billion of insurance in force, assets exceeding $100 million, and nearly 1100 sales agents. Bringing professional management to American Income was among the wisest business decisions I ever made.

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