The Society issued its first policies in late 1814. For reasons of convenience, however, the directors named the official start date as 2nd January 1815.
Business was slow at first. By the end of 1819, only 196 policies had been issued. But that same year, Scottish Widows set up its first agency in Glasgow. A second opened in Dundee, in 1823. It was followed by a whole raft of agencies, including Perth, Aberdeen, Inverness, Ayr, Kelso, Dumfries and Lerwick.
In 1832, the Society resolved to extend its branch network to 'places in England where an extensive Scotch connexion is known to exist'. Over the next three years, agencies were successfully established in Bradford, Huddersfield, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and London.
Thereafter, the Society steadily gained ground. By December 1831, funds had grown to well over a quarter of a million pounds. By 1845, they stood at more than £1.7 million.