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Arthur L. Williams, Jr.
Born April 23, 1942 (1942-04-23) (age 67)
Georgia (U.S. state) Cairo, Georgia, USA
Occupation Retired
Net worth US$1.4 billion (2008)[1]
Title Founder, CEO chairman of A.L. Williams Corporation
Spouse(s) Angela Williams
Children 2
Art Williams

Arthur L. Williams, Jr. is a billionaire insurance executive living in Palm Beach, Florida. He is the founder of A.L. Williams & Associates, known as Primerica Financial Services since 1991.


Early life and education

Williams was born on April 23, 1942 in Cairo, Georgia[2]. He obtained his bachelor's degree in arts and sciences at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi and his master's degree in science from Auburn University. From his early days in high school Art always aspired to be a professional football coach.


In 1965, Williams' father suddenly died of a heart attack. He had a whole life insurance policy that left their family underinsured. Five years later Art Williams' cousin Ted Harrison introduced to him the concept of term life insurance, a much cheaper and simpler alternative to whole life that was almost never sold and rarely heard of. Williams was taken aback by the idea of not knowing that there was a choice when buying life insurance and described the whole conversation as "disturbing,"[3] recalling his father's death and referring to the fact that people had no idea of such a product. Believing that families were paying too much for whole life policies that left them poor in the wallet and deeply underinsured, Williams joined his cousin at ITT Financial Services in 1970. In June 1973, six months before ITT went out of business, he left and came on board with Waddell & Reed, another BTID company that saw early success.

Williams gained momentum at W&R and became regional vice-president (RVP) the same year, having a sales force that covered 6 states. Despite the numerous benefits of working at W&R in comparison to former ITT, it became clear to Williams that with a corporate structure where the executives, not the sales force, owned the company, financial decisions would always have priority over the clients and there would be limits on how much the company could grow.

On February 10, 1977 Williams and 85 associates founded their own company A.L. Williams & Associates on a simple philosophy: "Buy Term and Invest the Difference."[4] He convinced many customers to switch from their conventional whole-life insurance to term policies. The company's rapid growth to the largest seller of life insurance in the U.S. was enhanced by his emphasis on "pushing up" his people. He was one of the first to have weekly video conferences on the company's private television broadcast system. This allowed him to personally speak to each of his 100,000 plus agents and to create a family feeling that inspired them to want to please him, by succeeding.

Becoming concerned about what would happen to his people if he were to become ill or die, Williams sold his company to New York-based Primerica Corporation for $90 million in 1989.

Williams has made a large portion of his fortune from investments, particularly in Citigroup, of which he owns 21 million shares.


As of 2008, he ranks number 843 on the Forbes list of the "World's Billionaires" with an estimated wealth of $1.4 billion.[1]


  1. ^ a b Forbes 2008, accessed on March 6, 2008
  2. ^ The 700 Club. "Art Williams : The Life Coach". Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved 2007-09-02.  
  3. ^ Williams, Art; Karen Kassel Hutto (June 2006). Coach. Atlanta, Georgia: Art Williams Productions. ISBN 0-9786266-0-5.  
  4. ^ Williams biography, accessed on July 8, 2006

See also



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