Dan Amos
1951–



Chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president, American Family Life Assurance Company (AFLAC)

Nationality: American.

Born: August 13, 1951, in Pensacola, Florida.

Education: University of Georgia Business School, BBA, 1973.

Family: Son of Paul Amos (cofounder and former chairman of the board of AFLAC) and Mary Jean Roberts; married Mary Shannon Landing (a philanthropist); children: two.

Career: AFLAC, 1973–1982, sales representative; 1983–, president; 1987–1990, COO; 1990–, CEO; 2001–, chairman of the board.

Awards: Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Georgia Business School, 1990; Silver Award, Financial World CEO of the Year competition, 1994; Executive of the Year, Georgia Securities Association, 1995.

Address: AFLAC, 1932 Wynnton Road, Columbus, Georgia 31999; http://www.aflac.com.

■ Dan Amos's father, Paul, said that he raised his son to become the leader of American Family Life Assurance Company (AFLAC), but Dan Amos proved to be more than a scion taking over a family business. He was a charismatic leader who attracted bright, hardworking people and who guided his company through dramatically changing business environments. His innovations kept AFLAC at the forefront of the supplemental insurance industry, and in the first four years of his tenure as CEO, AFLAC's income grew from $2.7 billion to $9.6 billion. According to the AFLAC Web site, he remarked: "Give your employees everything they need to succeed and they will give everything they can to help the business succeed." AFLAC prospered under his leadership, and it did so while being consistently rated as one of the best businesses for which to work.

RAISED TO LEAD

Amos was only four years old when AFLAC was established by his father, Paul, and his uncles, John and Bill, in 1955. The company focused exclusively on supplemental cancer coverage. By the time Dan Amos entered the University of Georgia Business School in 1969, he seemed to have formed most of the core values that directed his management style, especially his Christian views. When he graduated in 1973 with a bachelor's degree, with a focus on insurance management and risk management, he immediately became a salesman for AFLAC. For ten years he worked in various aspects of sales, assuming leadership roles by directing the work of other salespeople, and he became one of AFLAC's top earners. In 1983, when the flamboyant company president John Amos died, Dan Amos became the new president. It may have been tough succeeding his charismatic and much-loved Uncle John, but Dan Amos proved to be charismatic himself. Unlike his uncle, who wore white linen suits, Dan dressed conservatively and fit the image of a buttoned-down business executive.

SERVING JAPANESE SUBSCRIBERS

In 1974 AFLAC had won permission from Japan's government to be one of only two foreign insurance companies in the country. Cancer was the leading cause of death in Japan, and AFLAC quickly attracted Japanese subscribers, who made payments through payroll deductions as Americans did. As president of AFLAC, Amos took it upon himself to build strong relations with Japanese salespeople, who tended to be retirees selling to their old employers, as well as with AFLAC subscribers. He improved working conditions and made sure that some AFLAC profits were reinvested in Japan. For instance, when AFLAC built new corporate buildings in Japan, at Amos's direction AFLAC used Japanese construction companies rather than American ones, which might have charged much less. This decision made AFLAC resemble a native Japanese business, respected even more than Japanese insurance companies. Amos's son, Paul Amos II, even learned Japanese in preparation for joining the business.

In 1990 Dan Amos became CEO and had to chart AFLAC's direction during a period in which Japan's economy almost ceased to grow and new subscriptions in the United States began to stagnate. Amos decided that diversification was the answer, and he devised new ways in which AFLAC could serve its customers. For instance, in Japan, AFLAC offered a plan that would provide treatment for senile dementia and a policy called Super Cancer, which made sure that an AFLAC policy would cover all shortcomings in government assistance for cancer sufferers. These moves were big hits in Japan. By 1996 AFLAC drew 75 percent of its income from Japan, where 23 percent of Japan's people were covered by AFLAC policies and 96 percent of publicly held companies offered them as payroll deductions. In the United States, expanding services to coverage of disability attracted new subscribers. Yet AFLAC's core product, cancer insurance, remained Amos's passion.

TREASURING EMPLOYEES, AN AMOS MANAGEMENT STYLE

Amos invested heavily in cancer research and developed Georgia's AFLAC Cancer Center at Atlanta's Egleston Children's Hospital, which in 1999 merged with the Scottish Rite Children's Hospital and took the name Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Amos and his wife, Mary, devoted much of their time to this hospital, which treated cancer-afflicted children, and they and AFLAC contributed millions of dollars to cancer research.

In an effort to attract high-quality employees in the 1990s, AFLAC offered to pay for the college educations of business students who would then come to work for AFLAC. This program was a disappointment and was discontinued before the end of the 1990s. More successful was the creation of an attractive, friendly working environment that included child care and flexible work hours, particularly suitable for working mothers. In 2001 women held 29 percent of top-management positions and represented 42 percent of the top earners for AFLAC.

In 2000 AFLAC began a television-advertising campaign featuring the AFLAC duck. Amos fretted when he saw the first commercial, worrying that the company's board of directors would not like it, but thanks to the duck, by 2004 polls indicated that AFLAC was recognized by 96 percent of all Americans. On May 7, 2001, Amos's father, Paul, retired as chairman of the board for AFLAC and was replaced by Dan Amos, making Amos president, CEO, and chairman all at once.

ANTICIPATING CUSTOMER NEEDS

From 1997 to 2004 AFLAC's annual profits grew to more than $1 billion, roughly tripling. In 2002 AFLAC opened an enormous customer service center in Omaha, Nebraska, a key aspect of Amos's hope of expediting payments of claims, and by 2004 AFLAC had created a computer center that could be accessed through the Internet, allowing clients to file claims online.

See also entry on AFLAC Incorporated in International Directory of Business Biographies .

sources for further information

Bremner, Brian, "How AFLAC Laid a Golden Egg in Japan: Can the Insurer Keep Racking Up Huge Profits?," BusinessWeek , November 11, 2002, p. 56.

"Company Philosophy," https://www.aflac.com/about_us/corp_overview_philosophy.asp

Hardman, Adrienne, "American Sumo: Heft May Come from Japan, but Its Agility Is Georgia Bred," Financial World , August 3, 1993, pp. 42–43.

McLean, Bethany, "Duck and Coverage: Insurance Seller AFLAC Has Had an Extraordinary Ride to the Top—Some of It on the Back of a Mascot," Fortune , August 13, 2001, p. 142.

Williams, Chuck, "Two Columbus, Ga., Companies Honored by Magazine," Working Mother Magazine, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer , October 10, 2001.

—Kirk H. Beetz

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