Eliphalet Adams Bulkeley (June 1804 – 13 February 1872) was an American business executive and the first president of the Aetna Insurance Company.
After graduating from Yale and practicing law, Eliphalet A. Bulkeley became a banker, a town representative to the state legislature, a state senator, a state's attorney and judge of a minor court, all in central Connecticut. Bulkeley became the president of the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, founded in 1846, the first life insurance company in Connecticut.
In 1847, Bulkeley became director and general counsel of the Aetna (Fire) Insurance Company. In 1850, when a subsidiary Annuity Fund was formed to sell life insurance, Bulkeley was named its administrative head. Judge Bulkeley's sons Morgan (the future president of the Aetna Life Insurance Company) and Charles (who would die in the Civil War) worked cleaning the office.
When Annuity Fund was reorganized in 1853 as the Aetna Life Insurance Company, Bulkeley became its first president. When the Panic of 1857 caused many Aetna stockholders to talk of dissolving the company, Bulkeley refused; his prudent management, tough underwriting, and conservative pricing led to Aetna's survival. In 1861, the industry again suffered a downturn; rather than pull back, however, Bulkeley embarked on a more aggressive marketing campaign which proved prescient when interest in life insurance soared during the war, and Aetna became one of America's leading life insurance companies.
Upon Bulkeley's death in 1872, he left to new president Thomas O. Enders a vigorously growing company expanding into new lines of business.