NC Mutual (originally the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association) and later North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company) is an American life insurance company located in downtown Durham, North Carolina and one of the most influential African-American businesses in United States history.
Founded in 1898 by local black social leaders, its business increased from less than a thousand dollars in income in 1899 to a quarter of a million dollars in 1910. The company specialized in "industrial insurance," which was basically burial insurance.
The company hired salesmen whose main job was to collect small payments (of about 10 cents) to cover the insured person for the next week. If the person died while insured, the company immediately paid benefits of about 100 dollars. This covered the cost of a suitable funeral, which was a high prestige item in the black community.
It began operations in the new tobacco manufacturing city of Durham, North Carolina, and moved north into Virginia and Maryland, then to major northern black urban centers, and then to the rest of the urban South.
For much of the 20th century it was the largest company run by African Americans, and it is the largest and oldest African American life insurance company in the United States to this day.
North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.