Sir David Paulin (1847 – 1930), Irvine-born founder of the Scottish Life Assurance Company.

On the 27th of October, 1847 one of the founders of the Scottish Life Assurance Company, Sir David Paulin was born in Irvine. 

David was the second born son of George Paulin, Rector of Irvine Royal Academy 1844-1877, and Anne McDougall from Borthwick, Midlothian. He had 3 brothers (2 of them became Reverends) and 4 sisters. 

David attended Irvine Academy and was to become one of Scotland’s most successful businessmen of his day. He started off his career as a banker but developed an interest in life assurance early on. He married Jessie McNeill in 1874 and they had 2 sons and a daughter. 

In 1881 he founded the Scottish Life Assurance Company along with James Sorely – a company he managed for the next 37 years. He held many prestigious posts in the financial world, he was President of the Actuarial Society, President of the Insurance Society of Edinburgh and Chairman of the Associated Scottish Life Offices as well as the Scottish Advisory Committee for the Welfare of the Blind. He was also a devoted Christian and a strong promoter of the Temperance reform.  

In 1892 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and was knighted in 1909 by King Edward VII, becoming the first person to be knighted for services to the insurance industry. 

In 1922 David presented a bust of his father to Irvine Royal Academy and in 1923 he was made an honorary life member of the Irvine Burns Club. 

David spent his retirement at is country estate Machrihanish in Argyllshire and he died there on December 1930 aged 83. 

Today Scottish Life Assurance Company is known as Royal London. 

Further Reading

Sir David Paulin at Irvine Burns Club