John Holcombe was president of the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA) in the United States, a non-profit organization serving the insurance industry. An imaginative creator of new approaches to insurance distribution, he was the driving force in the creation of the Life Insurance Sales Research Bureau, a predecessor to the Life Insurance Agency Management Association.
He was a trailblazer in recognizing the importance of personnel and market research in life insurance. He awakened the insurance business to the need for continuous improvement in distribution techniques. And he brought to common acceptance the idea of adapting research techniques to sales problems on an institutional basis. With vigorous leadership he demanded original research and insisted that the findings, whether favorable or unfavorable to vested interests, be presented as the basis for action. His dedication to the concept of practical research was of great value in strengthening the life insurance agency system.