John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company was founded in 1862 in Massachusetts. At the time, John Hancock was the governor of the state. His company initially had four employees and was located in the back of the building on 41 State Street in Boston, Massachusetts, and its first policyholder was Albert Murdock, who was also named general agent in Boston for the company.
Just two years later, the company reported assets of over a half million dollars; by 1872, this number approached $20 million. By 1879, the company sold its first industrial life insurance policy. Company agents at the time waited outside the gates to sell policies to factory workers.
By 1918, John Hancock reported that more than a billion dollars in life insurance policies were in force. The company continued to prosper, moving into a 26-story building in Boston in 1949 and then the 62-story John Hancock Tower in 1976. By 1999, the company had become one of the most easily recognized names in the industry. It started trading publicly on the NYSE in 2000, and in 2004, the company merged with Manulife Financial, the largest life insurance agency in Canada. It now serves millions of people in 22 countries around the world.