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Crop Hail History

Because so little is known (or remembered) about Crop Hail coverage and its humble beginnings, RateMate™ has decided to put on its professor robes and bestow bits of crop hail coverage lore upon you. 

Feel free to drop us a line and add to the hail knowledge base on our site. We will review and post many of our visitors' shared historical and 'fun facts' anecdotes about crop hail insurance.

Crop-Hail Insurance Actuarial Association

In December 1947, the Crop Hail Insurance Actuarial Association was organized by 62 Capital Stock fire insurance companies. Originally its purpose was to operate as a statistical and advisory organization to the state fire insurance rating bureaus, giving advice as to crop hail insurance rates and forms. In 1953, its constitution was amended to permit it to act as a rating organization on a national scale. In 1959, the scope of the Association was further enlarged to include the rating of rain insurance on "public events, business ventures, and private proceedings."

Operating as a non-profit research, statistical and rate-making organization, it is now supported by over 166 member and subscriber companies (1984 figures). The Association's work consists mainly of the preparation and filing of rates and forms with the insurance departments of each having laws providing for the appointment of same.

The Association receives its operating expense by assessing its supporting companies annually, and each company pays in proportion to the amount  of premiums which it wrote during the past growing season.

Farmers Mutual Hail Company History

The idea the "just wouldn't work"    

Disclaimer: RateMate™ does not list the following information as an endorsement for or against Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance. This information is shared for the sole purpose of conveying some of the history of the crop hail insurance industry in the United States.

The concept of crop hail insurance as we know it today began as the brainchild of William A. Rutledge and the Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Association (FMH). That was in 1893.

What was then a small collective of Iowa farmers is now a leading national insurance company, protecting nearly ten million acres of America's prized farmland.

Through the years, time has also witnessed Farmers Mutual Hail's cultivation of an impressive portfolio of reinsurance business and the acquisition of four affiliated companies. Yet, despite over one hundred years of ever changing times, much of the company's early philosophy and tradition remains remarkably intact.

It was a cold February morning in 1892 when W.A. Rutledge, an obscure young farmer from Early, Iowa, was recruited by his neighbor to become Secretary of the Sac County Mutual Insurance Association. To this date, just what his neighbor said to the Sac County Board of Directors is still much of a mystery, for the man he sold them knew very little about the principals of mutual insurance. Nevertheless, W.A. Rutledge was given the job. What happened through the following years changed much of his life. And to that end, much of ours.

W.A. had presided as Secretary of Sac County Mutual for eight months when he attended the Iowa State Convention of Mutual Insurance Companies in the fall of 1893. While there, he observed a meeting at which a committee had been appointed to investigate the practicality of crop hail insurance. In its report, the committee referred to the idea of insurance on growing crops as "impractical" and suggested that the matter be forgotten. The report was adopted.

But to W.A., a farmer who had experienced the costly devastation of hail storms, it was an inspiration. With all the enthusiasm of his inexperience, he was certain that crop hail insurance could be written and that he was going to write it.

Although W.A. Rutledge is attributed with the found of FMH, he was certainly not alone. His wife, Jessie Rutledge, shared in much of the toil. During the summer of 1893, the ambitious new Association wrote more than 2,600 crop hail policies. And Jessie...carefully filled out each policy, drawing red lines under key words and figures, then personally recording each and every one. when it was mailed, the policy was truly a work of art. it is often said that the tireless Jessie did not leave her desk until midnight during those first few months, working more than 100 hours a week.

During the following year, he Association grew rapidly. People quickly came to know and trust the FMH name, as it brought much needed peace of mind to the hail-ridden farming communities of northwestern Iowa. In November 1894, an aspiring W.A. Rutledge led the Association to Des Moines and finally headquartered its offices in the Observatory Building. There, the upstart FMH continued to prosper, adding special agents (field supervisors) to its work force and expanding it crop hail coverage into all corners of the state.

It was also near that time that the idea for a national association of mutual insurance companies first originated. Soon, under the guidance of W.A. Rutledge and FMH President W.D. Forbes, the National Association of Cooperative Mutual Insurance Companies was organized, holding its first official meeting at the FMH Home Office in 1895. Known today as NAMIC, the trade association is the largest of its kind, with more than 1,250 member companies worldwide.

Reference: Information taken from the Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance of Iowa web site

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