Mr. Henry Beers was trained as an actuary and worked for a time at The Travelers Insurance Company and The Home Life Insurance Company. He joined the actuarial department of AETNA Life, in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1923, and was to stay there four decades. In 1956, he was named president of AETNA and in 1956 he was elected chairman of that firm. He retired in 1963.
Mr. Beers was one of the early leaders in the development of group major medical expense insurance, a form of protection safeguarding millions of people.
In 1963, he was one of the chief architects of Connecticut’s unemployment compensation laws and served as Chairman of the Governors’ Commission on Unemployment Compensation. For more than 20 years, he was a member of the Connecticut State Employees Retirement Commission. He worked in formulating the federal employees group life insurance plan adopted by the United States Congress in 1954. On numerous occasions he appeared before congressional and state legislative bodies on behalf of life and group insurance.
As president of AETNA, he was in the forefront of companies that combined casualty, fire and marine insurance businesses into a unified operation. Also known for his dedication to corporate responsibility in communities, in a speech in 1960, he articulated some of the cornerstones of corporate social responsibility still viewed important today.
His influence within the insurance industry was unparalleled at that time. He served on more committees for a longer time than anyone else in the industry. And as America’s leader in the development of group insurance, he was the first chairman of the group insurance committee of the Life Insurance Association of America. He was chairman of the board of trustees of the S. S. Huebner Foundation of Insurance Education. He was vice president of the Actuarial Society of America and a member of the Board of Governors of the Society of Actuaries.