Recognized nationally for his dedication to the insurance industry and his altruistic accomplishments, Watson Powell, Jr. served as chairman, CEO and president of American Republic Insurance Company. His career with American Republic spanned more than 50 years and included founding American Republic Assurance Company in 1968, American Republic Life Insurance Company of New York in 1971, and American Benefit Life Insurance Company in 1987. He is credited with pioneering direct marketed term life insurance, having introduced American Republic’s unique “Americare 39” policy in 1971.
Powell served as the Des Moines Chamber of Commerce president, as a trustee for Drake University and the Des Moines Art Center, and as chairman of the Insurance Economics Society of the United States and the National Alliance of Businessmen. From providing funds to rebuild inner-city basketball courts and support fledgling minority businesses, to launching the generous Americare scholarship and internship program, Watson Powell, Jr. demonstrated a deep concern for human rights and an extraordinary commitment to making Des Moines a better place to live.