State Farm Insurance is one of the most well known auto insurance companies today, and it is one of the world’s largest financial institutions. Since its creation in 1922, State Farm has come a long way from its beginnings as a small auto insurance company targeted toward farming communities. Even with that growth and success, State Farm takes pride in its founder’s original philosophy of providing insurance at fair prices. In addition, State Farm retains its policy of fair claim settlement. Staunch adherence to these aspects has proven pivotal to State Farm’s success.State Farm’s creator was George J. Mecherle (pronounced Ma-herl), an Illinois farmer. Despite a successful career in farming for twenty years, Mecherle changed careers in 1921 in order to take care of his wife’s health concerns, after it became clear that farming would be inadequate to the task. He moved to Florida, thinking the warmer climate would improve his wife’s rheumatoid arthritis, but soon returned to Illinois when Florida’s climate proved ineffective. He became an insurance salesman for a local company in the city of Bloomington, where the Mecherles settled.
The work suited him, and he became successful at his new career. However, he found fault with the insurance policy of the times, which charged farmers the same rates as non-farmers, even though consistent evidence indicated that farmers were less prone to accidents. Mecherle believed charging city rates to rural farmers was unfair, but when he suggested a better way, his employer laughed. “If you think you’ve got such a good idea, why don’t you start your own company?” Mecherle decided this was exactly what he was going to do.
In the spring of 1921, the Tazewell County Farm Bureau created a mutual insurance agency, a company owned by its members and designed to insure property (including cars). An observant Mecherle noted the company’s policy, and his own ideas for a fair insurance company developed further. After acquiring his state license to sell insurance, he was set.
On June 8, 1922, Mecherle’s new insurance company was created in Bloomington. State Farm Insurance introduced a number of valuable services for its customers. State Farm was a mutual insurance company (i.e., owned by its policy holders), inspired by the Tazewell County Farm Bureau. Mecherle introduced new low risk rates, as well as discounts for safe drivers and semi-annual payment plans. State Farm was not initially an insurance provider for crop owners, but rather for farmers with automobiles. It was an automobile insurance company targeted towards the farming community.
The new firm proved highly successful and soon expanded to Berkeley, California. This particular move marked the point where State Farm Insurance became a national insurance company, and set the course for it becoming a major national organization. State Farm’s headquarters remains in its hometown of Bloomington, Illinois, where Mecherle’s brainchild was birthed.
In keeping with his sense of fairness that led to the creation of State Farm, Mecherle wanted to give his customers the very best service available. Today, State Farm is still noted for its highly accessible and friendly customer service. Even more important is State Farm’s policy of reliability, a rare characteristic in much of today’s insurance companies.
Today, State Farm Insurance is a nation-wide provider for a large variety of insurance types, including homeowners and life insurance policies. State Farm also offers banking and financial services, a relatively recent modification to the company. One of Fortune 500’s top 25 largest corporations, State Farm has 17,000 agents and 68,000 employees. Together, these personnel work to insure over 74 million policies, including auto, fire, life, and home policies in both the U.S. and in Canada. Additionally, State Farm manages over 1.8 million bank accounts.
State Farm is available through a number of different means. Their website is statefarminsurance.com, and most State Farm agents offer a 24 Hour Good Neighbor Service®. This service only requires you to know one phone number—your insurance agent’s number—to get help 24 hours a day. Even outside of normal business hours, you can always contact a representative through the 24 Hour Good Neighbor Service team of agents. If you call during regular business hours, of course, you will be able to contact your personal agent or his staff. You can report claims, ask questions, and get any personalized help necessary regarding your insurance or bank account. Also, your agent will receive a complete report of any call you make, so that he is prepared to make any follow-up work for you. State Farm offers these services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.
It is this kind of service that has helped State Farm remain among the first in its class, nationwide. State Farm Insurance still honors George J. Mecherle’s vision for fair and reliable service, whether for insurance, banking, or other financial services.