Biographical Sketch of Felix Broeker
Felix Broeker. The astonishing growth of the Globe Life Insurance Company within the brief period of its existence is excellent evidence of the progresaive spirit of the Kansas people when they have been assured of the benefits derivable from an enterprise. This Salina organization, founded in December, 1915, had grown by leaps and bounds, and if its past success may be taken as a criterion for the future the company is due within a comparatively short space of time to take its position among the leading insurance institutions of the Middle West. Much of the success of this concern must be accredited to Felix Broeker, secretary and manager of the company, and whose untiring energies have brought about what promises to be the largest enterprise known in the history of Salina, an institution that will give the city prestige far beyond that which has accompanied any of its other industries.
Felix Broeker was born in Germany and grew up under the influence of a father who was greatly interested in school work. He received a thorough training in his native land, and in 1902 immigratcd to the United States and located in South Dakota, where he began his career as a teacher. From that state he drifted to Nebraska, but about 1904 took up his residence in Kansas, a state he had never since left. Here he continued his activities as an instructor, teaching two years each at Natoma and Scottsville, and, according to one of his former pupils, “was one of the best teachers Kansas ever had.” However, the young man finally came to the conclusion that fortunes were not to be made out of the prosaie business of teaching school, and he accordingly sought out Otto Kuehne, of Topeka, who gave him a chance as a salesman on the rosd. Within a year Mr. Broeker had been advanced to sales manager of the Kuehne institution. We herewith quote from the Topeka Capital, of November 17, 1916: “Yet, every inch ambition, ever fibre of his being tuned to the high pitch of enthusiasm, the young German who had dreamed of fortunes in America was by no means satisfied. Having crossed one oeean, this recently adopted Kansan longed for the broad expanse of another quite different–an ocean of financial posaibilities, where men of optimism and distinctive ability to match, become masters of the ship called Destiny. And that is exactly why Felix Broeker decided to become an insurance man. And he was wise enough to regard it as not at all necessary to leave Topeka in order to perform the evolution. He found in the person of Charles A. Moore, general agent for the Equitable of New York, at Topeka, a most excellent guide, a true-blue friend, and he covered the highways and byways of Kansas a year and a half under that gentleman’s instinctive instructions. After that Mr. Broeker added the finishing touches to his career as a life insurance solicitor in the capacity of distriet agent for J. N. Dolley’s Home Mutual, of Topeka, and then came to Salina and established an insurance, brokerage and investment banker’s business of his own. Among the more fortunate operations of this new venture was the exploitation, in association with Senator S. M. Porter, of Caney, and others, of an oil eompany which netted its owners handsome returns; and a list of his net accumulatibus. in addition to his fine home at Salins, would eredit Mr. Broeker with a valuable 3,200-acre ranch in Texas.
“When he saw the golden opportunity for establishing the Globe Life Insurance Company in Salina, Mr. Broeker used the good judgment not to bank too heavily upon either his own ability or the astounding resources of Salina’s territory, and additionally fortifled his new enterprise at the beginuing by seleeting a board of officials and directors who as individuals and business men stand high in the estimstion of Central and Western Kansas. Knowing, in other words, that successfully organizing life insurance companies in Kansas, notwithstanding the state’s progressive and patriotic tendencies, had never been a ‘walk-away,’ he shrewdly estimated the personal element as one of the greatest of the company’s present and future assets,”
The present board of officers is as follows: George Ripke, president; Howard Dreher, Sr., vice president; Dr. E. M. Miers, medical director; Karl von Harlessem, assistant secretary; David Ritchie, counsel; H, M. Leonard, actuary; Felix Broeker, secretary and manager; and Abe Sohneider, George Trible and Senator S. M. Porter, directors. The first meeting of the incorporators was held December 10, 1915, and on the following day the charter was granted. On December 28 the first publication notice was printed, the first sale of stock was made February 16, 1916, and by August 14 the capital stock was all sold and the company liceused by the state insurance department to write life insurance. The Globe received its first application for a policy August 23, and about thirty days later, or September 22, there was insurance on the books amounting to $437,000. Tho original stock of the company was $100,000, to which another $100,000 was quickly added, and it is now the intention of the company to raise the stock to $500,000, and to make arrangements to enter five states.
The real man behind the activities of this concern, as before noted, is Mr. Broeker. Still young in years, he had proven himself an excellent financier and a keen, far-seeing, practical insurance man. More than this, he had had the courage of his convictions, and by bravely grasping his opportunities instead of wasting time in procrastinating, he had succeeded in founding and placing upon a firm foundation what promises to be an institution of state-wide importance.