For years I have felt the necessity of a mutual insurance against hail by farmers. During the growing season, every black cloud which appeared on the horizon has caused a feeling of uneasiness, and we have felt how the waving and ripening grain might have been mowed down by this terrible destroyer. Last March 1893, the farmers themselves came together and organized The Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Association. The organization was established March 4, 1893, and on May 17, the first policy was issued. During the year, over 340,000 acres were insured and when the assessment was made, it was found that less then three cents per acre was necessary to pay up all losses in full. The members are jubilant and believe they have at last got something that meets their wants.
W.A. Rutledge, FMH Founder
A lot has changed at Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa since W.A. Rutledge wrote the above message in 1894. Although the company is still writing crop hail insurance over a century later, the operation has expanded to include both multi-peril crop insurance and reinsurance. Much has happened in our rich history so far, and here are just some of the highlights:
1893 March 4, The Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Association of Iowa is formed by W.A. Rutledge.
1894 FMH offices move from Early, Iowa, to Des Moines, Iowa.
1895 Under the guidance of W.A. Rutledge, NAMIC is organized at the FMH offices.
1898 The First Certificate of Authority is issued in Iowa.
1900 FMH files first annual statement.
1902 The FMH Board of Directors is reduced from 9 to 5 members after an unsuccessful takeover attempt by 4 members.
1904 The Rutledge brothers become the majority on FMH Board.
1905 A fixed value on crops is first allowed.
1914 FMH enters Alberta, Canada, only to leave two years later.
1915 - FMH restructures its accounting system to comply with new state regulations. In the same year, FMH takes over a smaller mutual hail association the first of several such transactions throughout the early 1920s.
1922 FMH reinsures a North Dakota county mutual and a South Dakota county mutual reportedly the first true reinsurance contracts written.
1927 FMH begins writing windstorm insurance.
1928 FMH merges with Implement Dealers Mutual of Nevada, Iowa, creating the Automobile Department.
1932 FMH merges with General Mutual Insurance creating the Dwelling Department.
1937 Executive power at FMH shifts from the Secretary to the President.
1940 FMH begins offering medical insurance to its employees.
1941 After 48 years as an Association, FMH changes its name to Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company.
1946 FMH purchases and renovates an office building at 1019 High Street in Des Moines.
1948 The FMH Reinsurance Department is formally organized. The company also installs its first unit record accounting system.
1949 W.A. Rutledge passes away.
1950 Writing of multiple lines of insurance is approved by the State of Iowa.
1951 The FMH Windstorm Department is discontinued.
1955 FMH relocates its Home Office to 2323 Grand Avenue in Des Moines.
1956 The company suffers a financial crisis, as surplus to policyholders falls from $6 million to $2.7 million.
1957 FMH discontinues its fire and casualty lines and merges with Property Owners Mutual Insurance creating the Poultry Department.
1963 FMH first pays Federal Income Tax based on net profits.
1965 FMH joins the Mutual Reinsurance Bureau and again suffers two major catastrophes Hurricane Betsy and the Palm Sunday Tornado.
1970 FMH installs its first electronic computer.
1980 To date, FMH pays its largest total amount of crop hail losses in a year - $48.7 million.
1982 FMH crop hail policies are first processed by a computer.
1989 Hurricane Hugo causes major losses in reinsurance. FMH acquires Burridge Storey & Company, Inc., Reinsurance Underwriters and FMH Mutual Insurance Company.
1991 FMH acquires Farmers Union Co-operative Company of Nebraska, Inc.
1992 Hurricane Andrew causes major losses in reinsurance and FMH experiences one of the worst crop hail loss years on record.
1993 FMH celebrates 100 years!
1994 FMH purchases Wheat Growers Mutual Insurance Company of Cimarron, Kansas.
1995 FMH closes the Poultry Department.
1996 FMH joins the worldwide web at www.fmh.com.
1998 FMH Board of Directors decide to enter the multi-peril crop insurance market.
1999 FMH begins writing crop hail insurance in Oklahoma.
2000 The company enters the new millennium without a glitch despite worldwide fear of computer system failures that never materialized. FMH assumes IMT's County Mutual business in the State of Iowa.
2001 The Crop Hail and MPCI Claims Department functions are first to combine with the creation of the Claims Reporting Center. FMH incurs substantial losses from terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon.
2002 FMH Reinsurance reports a $10 million loss due to the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist bombings of September 11, 2001 in New York City.
2003 Groundbreaking for FMHs new Home Office at 6785 Westown Parkway in West Des Moines, Iowa. FMH withdraws from Mutual Reinsurance Bureau Pool in order to deploy assets to support anticipated crop insurance growth.
2004 FMH reports record addition to surplus after all three business segments (Hail, MPCI, and Reinsurance) achieve underwriting profits.
2005 FMH moves into new headquarters in West Des Moines and Farmers Union Co-operative also moves office operations from Omaha, Nebraska, to FMHs new headquarters later in the year.
2006 FMH begins writing multi-peril crop insurance in Arkansas and Wisconsin.
2007 Square Deal/Nationwide exits Crop Hail business and reaches agreement with FMH to take over the servicing of their policyholders.
2008 FMH experiences a heavy claims and flooding season.
2009 FMH creates Management Committee to handle the day-to-day operations of the company.
2010 FMH President and CEO Steve Rutledge retires and Ron Rutledge takes his place. FMH begins writing multi-peril crop insurance in North Dakota and prepares for the big changes that the new SRA brings for the next year.
2011 FMH begins writing multi-peril crop insurance in Colorado, Michigan, and Oklahoma. On April 1, 2011 Central Iowa Mutual Insurance Association merged into FMH, creating the FMH Property and Casualty Division located in Story City, Iowa.