Farmers’ Mutual—or the Farmers’ Union Mutual Fire Insurance Company as it was known in the beginning—was formed in 1895 to provide insurance to Farmers’ who were unable to find it elsewhere.
The only insurance product we offered back then was a fire and lightning policy to protect farm buildings, chattels and livestock. In our first year of business we wrote insurance for 197 policyholders and collected just over $1200 in premiums.
Today, Farmers’ Mutual is the largest farm mutual insurance company in Ontario and we offer a complete range of insurance products including residential, automobile, commercial, farm and watercraft. We have almost 40,000 policyholders, each of whom is also shareholder in the Company. We have assets exceeding $152 million and our investments are over $101 million.
- The company’s first policy was issued on June 3, 1895. The first loss occurred on July 27th of the same year – and totalled $5.
- Within ten years of its establishment, the Company was off and running, having accumulated a surplus of $10,000 in securities.
- The Great Depression represented our first big challenge. In 1931 the Board of Directors, facing an erosion of surplus, made a 20 per cent levy against the premium note. Many policyholders refused to pay their assessment and either allowed their insurance to lapse or went elsewhere for coverage. Two years later the Company had lost one third of its policyholders.
- World War II re-established prosperity to the farming communities of Ontario and by the end of the war Farmers’ Mutual was back on a sound financial footing. In 1944 the Company made its first ever refund from surplus. It was followed by four further refunds in the late 40s and early 50s. Most of those who received refunds from surplus were the same people who had been asked to pay the premium note levy in 1931.
- In 1950 Farmers’ wrote its first residential insurance policy.
- In the mid 1950s the company decided not to make any further refunds from surplus, choosing instead to reduce rates when resources would allow.
- In 1967 the Farmers’ Union Mutual Fire Insurance Company changed its name to Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company (Lindsay).
- In 1970 we started offering liability insurance along with our property policy. It signified the start of the issuance of package policies.
- In 1976 the premium note plan was replaced by the Fire Mutuals Guarantee Fund. This fund was established to protect policyholders in the event their company became insolvent. The creation of the Guarantee Fund by the mutuals was revolutionary. At the time no other company or group of companies licensed to sell general insurance in Ontario had the protection of such a fund. It wasn’t until the early 1990′s – after some general insurance company failures – that guarantee funds for property and casualty companies were put in place.
- In 1978 the company began offering automobile insurance – which now represents almost 50% of the annual premium volume written.
- In the early ’80s, we began writing insurance on commercial risks and in 1987 we started insuring yachts and cruisers.
- At the 1997 Annual Meeting, the policyholders voted in favour of a motion which deleted the word “Fire” from the Company’s name. On July 24th, 1997, supplementary letters patent were issued in the name of: Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company (Lindsay).