MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont’s largest insurance company is celebrating its 165th birthday.

In 1848, the Vermont Legislature chartered the National Life Insurance Company, based in Montpelier.

Since then the company grew into National Life Group, which includes a number of insurance and financial services companies.

The group, with primary offices in Montpelier and Addison, Texas, employs 900 people, making it one of the state’s largest employers.

During its first year of operation, National Life sold 381 life insurance policies.

Now National Life is a Fortune 1,000 firm whose member companies sell insurance, annuities and mutual funds in every state. It serves more than 800,000 customers, has $72 billion of insurance in force and is managing $26 billion of assets.