About Us

Homesteaders Life Company, a mutual company owned by its policy holders, is a national leader providing products and services to promote and support the funding of advance funeral planning and end-of-life expenses.

Our Story

The Homesteaders original logo with log cabinIn 1905, 22 people gathered at the home of John E. Paul in Des Moines, Iowa to discuss the formation of a new fraternal society. Less than a year later, "The Homesteaders" emerged with a purpose of providing insurance benefits for final expenses to its members.

Policy Certificate Number One was issued in Paul's name on February 24, 1906. Elected the association's first president, Paul helped instill a theme of "neighborly cooperation, fraternity, mutual helpfulness, protection and patriotism."

While Homesteaders was still in its infancy, its leadership faced one of the most profound periods of economic strife, war and unrest in American history. These early tests of our resolve became a benchmark of the tradition of strength that continues to this day.

Through it all, Homesteaders has emerged as a national leader in funeral service funding and is a trusted, reliable and secure choice for thousands of funeral professionals and the families they serve. We're proud to work alongside funeral professionals to help families experience the value of funeral service and the benefits of planning ahead.

As a mutual company, we're dedicated to ensuring the security of policyholders' funeral funds and keeping our promises to provide dependable preneed funding. Our commitment to always doing the right thing is one of the many reasons we are the most often-used preneed funding company in America.*

Homesteaders Milestones

  • 1906

    The Homesteaders, a fraternal society with a mission to provide insurance for final expenses, opened for business. The first policy was issued to Supreme President John E. Paul. Soon, 500 membership applications were received.

  • 1910

    George A. Young was elected Supreme President. The Homesteaders made substantial progress in the years that followed, with membership increasing to nearly 20,500. Homesteaders lodges formed across the Midwest, as far south as Arkansas and as far west as Washington state.

  • 1913

    The Homesteaders’ third Supreme President, Harry J. Green, was elected and began rebuilding the organization to secure its future. During a time when many fraternal organizations faced financial challenges, Green developed a strong, stable organization.

  • 1923

    Having paid all claims through the challenges and uncertainty of the First World War and the influenza pandemic, The Homesteaders became a bona fide life insurance company and changed its name to Homesteaders Life Association.

  • 1939

    Homesteaders was operating coast to coast as Arthur A. Ball became president. He brought Homesteaders’ Funeral Benefit Policy to the forefront of the marketplace. Under his leadership, the association mutualized and became what is known today as Homesteaders Life Company.

  • 1948

    Homesteaders became a more contemporary financial services organization under the direction of President Paul N. Mantz. The Board of Directors approved a plan to build a freestanding home office in Des Moines, Iowa where the company operated for the next 52 years.

  • 1972

    The company experienced steady growth as James O. Wilson became president. He had the conviction and foresight to build on Homesteaders’ roots in the final expense/burial business. Homesteaders’ first prearranged funeral contract was funded under his leadership in 1984.

  • 1986

    Homesteaders’ new president, Daniel M. Voecks brought a warm, personal leadership style. He helped establish Homesteaders’ account executive program, the catalyst of the company’s transformation into a funeral home-focused preneed funding leader.

  • 1995

    Graham J. Cook was elected president, and brought with him a leadership style that promoted open dialogue with stakeholders. His commitment to maintaining long-term business relationships helped the company achieve substantial growth in a highly competitive market.

  • 2006

    Homesteaders Life Company’s campus in West Des Moines, Iowa was transformed into the Healing Field of Central Iowa. This inspiring memorial to the victims of September 11, 2001 was visited by more than 30,000 people.

  • Today

    Led by President and CEO Stephen M. Shaffer, who succeeded Stephen R. Lang in 2018, Homesteaders remains committed to promoting the value of funeral service. Thousands of funeral professionals and the families they serve rely on the company for secure preneed funding.

*According to an independent brand tracking study commissioned by Homesteaders and performed by McGuire Research