From a single idea, the Madison, Wis.-based insurer has thrived by providing value
Madison, Wis. (Sept. 24, 2002) – American Family Mutual Insurance, the nation’s fourth largest mutual insurance company, will celebrate its 75th anniversary on Oct. 3.
Ranked 337th on the Fortune 400 list, American Family employs 7,800 people – including 3,500 in the Madison area. The company markets its insurance and financial services products through 3,800 independent contractor agents in 17 states.
“Why have we succeeded? First, American Family agents and employees continue to provide personalized sales and service to our policyholders. We have earned their trust and confidence,” says Harvey R. Pierce, chairman and chief executive officer.
“Second, our company embraces change. Rather than fearing new ways of doing things, our tradition encourages innovation and rejects complacency. For those two reasons alone, I see continued great success in the years ahead.”
American Family’s history is a remarkable story that started with a single idea. A struggling insurance salesman named Herman Wittwer believed a company could make money selling auto insurance to only Wisconsin farmers.
Wittwer understood that farmers presented lower risks compared to city drivers because they drove less often and put their cars up on blocks for the winter. Armed with this customer knowledge, he opened the doors of Farmers Mutual Automobile Insurance Company on Oct. 3, 1927.
Over the years, American Family’s market grew from rural areas to small towns, suburbs and metropolitan areas. Customer needs also changed, and the company changed right along with them by expanding its products and services. In 1963, the company switched its name to American Family Mutual Insurance Company to reflect its broader customer base.
American Family has grown geographically as well. With expansion into Idaho and Utah this year, the company now sells its products in 17 states, with plans for additional growth in the coming years.
“Our customer relationships have helped us build a strong and stable Company with almost $3.3 billion in policyholder equity,” says David R. Anderson, president and chief operating officer. “As a mutual company, our customers and owners are one in the same. Our success is measured not by the rate of return for shareholders, but by the value we provide our policyholders.”
American Family Insurance history and timeline
Media Relations Director
American Family Insurance
Tel: (608) 242-4100, ext. 30680