The Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company was chartered by an act of the legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on April 6, 1853. The business of the company was prescribed to be the insurance of the members' homes, barns and other buildings and their household and personal property against loss or damage by fire in the counties of York, Cumberland, Perry, Dauphin, Lebanon, and Lancaster. In 1854, the scope of the company's operations extended to the entire Commonwealth. In 1870, Farmers Fire began to write insurance in other states and, in 1871, it moved into the building at 53 East Market Street in York, which was to remain its home for the next 126 years.
In its early years, the company issued policies on a mutual basis with its policy terms and premiums determined by the company's Board of Directors. Accessible deposit notes, usually calling for two and one half times the cash premium, were issued with each policy to protect the company against excess loss. Such was the underwriting management of the company that it never made an assessment during all its years of writing policies on a mutual basis.
As time went by and the company grew in size and financial strength, it began also issuing policies on a cash (non-Mutual) basis and, by 1874, this part of the business has become sufficiently important that the word "Mutual" was dropped from the company name. In 1886, the Farmers Fire Insurance Company entirely stopped writing insurance on a mutual basis and has, from that time, written policies solely on a cash basis.
In 1940, a period began of considerable expansion in the writings of Farmers Fire. Over time, it expanded into writing business in 33 states. This business was mostly placed with the company through general agencies, as was the common practice of the that period. With the industry-wide decline of the general agency system in the early 1960's, business produced on that basis was found to be less profitable than that produced by the company's directly appointed independent agents. Farmers Fire left the general agency side of the market during the 1960's and concentrated on the states of Pennsylvania and New York, writing exclusively business produced by appointed independent agencies.
The period from the 1970's through today has been one of consistently building up the company's assets and improving its surplus ratio. In 1975, the Farmers Fire Insurance Company had assets of $4,929,000 and a surplus of $2,076,000. This had grown to assets of $23,336,922 and a surplus of $16,208,843 by 2000. This very favorable ratio of surplus to total assets is a reliable guarantee of our company's stability through difficult times.