The first Prudential agents were appointed in 1848, the year in which Prudential was founded. At first the company had a very small team of agents but after the Industrial Department opened in 1854 to sell affordable insurance to the working classes (known as' penny policies '), the team grew to a sizeable army. It was important to hire good men who would represent the company well: they had to stand out from agents representing other companies. The agents were issued with regularly-updated instructions which contained precise details about conducting business, filling in forms and keeping accounts. By the turn of the century there were 10,000 Prudential agents and they had sold insurance to one third of the population. In the 1960s, six million homes in Britain were visited by the Prudential agent.

Man from the Pru publciity photograph (1949)

Malaysian product leaflet (1963)

Pakistan product leaflet (1966)

The phrase 'Man from the Pru' was first used by the company in 1949 after Weekly Illustrated magazine produced a feature on the life of a real life Prudential agent, Mr Fred Sawyer. One of the pictures was so striking that the publicity department decided to use the image in their advertising. The image of a striding, purposeful Prudential agent was updated and modified over the years and appeared in publications and sales literature in Prudential's markets around the world, including Singapore, Pakistan, East Africa, Australia, Canada and South Africa. Both at home and abroad the use of the figure has done much to boost the prestige of the company. The figure of the Man from the Pru continues to represent a uniform aspect of the company's world-wide service and expresses the unity of the company, not only to the world public but also to those who work for Prudential.

Photograph of Mr Sondermann

Prudential agent's briefcase