Reliance Insurance Company, now officially known as Reliance Insurance Company, was founded in Philadelphia in 1817 and has undergone numerous corporate makeovers in the intervening years. As of October 3, 2001, the company has been in liquidation.
Reliance’s company slogan for many years was “Quality is our policy.” Yet for the most part the company engaged in relatively little advertising directed at the general public since most of its business was placed through independent insurance agents and brokers. As a consequence the company was not as widely known as some other insurers of comparable size who undertook more mass marketing.
One Reliance ad, however, that ran in trade publications in the 1970s, was so outright sexist by today’s standards as to be humorous in retrospect. This full-page ad, aimed at insurance agents, featured the catch phrase, “Have we got a girl for you!” and depicts an attractive young female, who is identified as “The Claim Service Representative.”
The ad then directs the reader to various parts of the woman’s anatomy and asserts how it will aid the agent in handling claims. The caption to the line drawn to woman’s forehead reads, “Brains. Our girls are a lot more than just a pretty face. They’re all well educated.” The caption to the line drawn to her ankle reads, “Well-turned ankle. No use to you, but it’s pretty to look at.” The ad goes on to encourage the targeted insurance agent to “Think about it, if you had an accident, wouldn’t you appreciate a chat with a pretty girl? Of course you would.”
What the ad doesn’t say but which was not only true of Reliance but most every insurer at the time, their employees in the often hectic and stressful work environment of handling insurance claims were largely staffed by young women. This not only gave the agent “an extra pair” of hands but also kept salary costs comparatively low.
Reliance Insurance Company
2001 Market St #1500,
Philadelphia, PA 19103