Iowa History Daily: On September 26, 1866, Henry Scholte Nollen, a critical early leader of Iowa’s insurance industry was born in Pella. A pivotal leader of the Insurance Association (now Principal Financial) and Equitable Life Insurance, Nollen and his younger brother Gerard left an indelible imprint on one of Iowa’s most important industries.
A descendent of Pella’s founder, Dominie Henry Scholte, Educated at home because his father believed American schools lacked rigor, Nollen showed great mathematical abilities and started serving as bookkeeper at the Pella National Bank when he was 12-years old. A series of jobs brought Nollen to Des Moines during his early career where he worked in the financial offices of businesses in varied industries including implement dealing, fuels, and insurance.
Hired by Edward Temple in 1893 hired Nollen as an auditor in his new business, the Insurance Association. Nollen's mathematical skills allowed him to understand how Temple's assessment plan would bankrupt the company in the long run, and his calculations ultimately led Temple to abandon the plan and save the company. The Insurance Association eventually became Bankers Life (now Principal Financial), and Nollen climbed the company's leadership ranks until Temple's death.
Forced out of Bankers Life’s leadership structure in December 1912, Nollen resigned and joined the rival Equitable Life Insurance Company of Iowa as a Vice President. By 1921, Nollen rose to serve as Equitable Life’s President, a position in which he thrived. While Henry Nollen presided over Equitable Life, his younger brother Gerard rose to the presidency of Banker’s Life. The younger Nollen left a significant impact on the company, overseeing the relocation of the business to Principal’s current downtown location. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar