American Family's Company History
American Family Insurance has a remarkable history that started with a single idea. A struggling insurance salesman named Herman Wittwer dreamed of success selling auto insurance to Wisconsin farmers. Herman 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, Herman confidently opened the doors of Farmers Mutual Automobile Insurance Company on Oct. 3, 1927.
Over the years, our market grew from rural areas to small towns, suburbs and metropolitan areas. We stayed ahead of the curve by expanding our products and services to meet our customers' changing needs.
Our company's name changed in 1963 to American Family Mutual Insurance Company to reflect a broader customer base.
American Family Insurance offers auto, home, life*, umbrella, business, health, and farm & ranch insurance, as well retirement* products. Through the years, we've expanded geographically, too. Currently, we operate in 19 states spanning from Washington to Georgia.
Our customer relationships have helped us build a strong and stable company with more than $5 billion in policyholder equity. As a mutual company, our customers and owners are one and the same. Our success is measured not only by the rate of return for shareholders, but also by the value we provide our policyholders.
We have been in business for more than 80 years, and we aren't stopping there. We remain committed to being the most trusted and valued service-driven insurance company.
*Issued by American Family Life Insurance Company
1927– Herman Wittwer launches Farmers Mutual Automobile Insurance Company on Oct. 3 in Madison, Wis., with 346 charter members. By year's end, 486 policyholders paid $8,130 in premiums but Farmers Mutual incurred only $45.85 in losses, proving that farmers were preferred risks.
1930 – To remain competitive, the company establishes the National Mutual Casualty Company to sell to non-farmers.
1933 – National Mutual merges with Farmer's Mutual, which experienced a 50 percent increase in premiums to more than $300,000. Farmers Mutual enters Minnesota.
1935 – Farmers Mutual establishes the State Farm Mutual Insurance Company of Madison, Wis., to sell windstorm insurance. It quickly becomes the fastest-growing windstorm company in the state.
1937 – The Farmers Mutual family grows to 45,000 members, up from 346 charter members on the day it was founded in 1927.
1938 – Both premiums and assets surpass $1 million.
1939 – American Family opens for business in Missouri.
1940 – Farmers Mutual becomes licensed in Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
1943 – Farmers Mutual becomes licensed in Indiana and Kansas.
1948 – Company renames State Farm Mutual of Madison as Farmers Mutual Insurance Company of Wisconsin.
1949 – Farmers Mutual becomes licensed in Iowa.
1952 – Farmers Mutual begins sales in Illinois.
1957 – Farmers Mutual offers sickness and accident insurance. Forty applications arrived the first day, and by 1960, annual premiums exceed $500,000.
1958 – The company introduces homeowners insurance and opens American Family Life Insurance Company in Wisconsin, Indiana, and North and South Dakota. Highly successful from the start, the new company enters another six states over the next 12 months.
1959 – Farmers Mutual enters the computer age with the RAMAC 305. The room-sized machine reduced the processing time for a week's worth of applications and 1,000 renewal notices from 40 hours to just two-and-one-half hours.
1961 – The company reaches a wider range of auto customers by establishing the American Standard Insurance Company.
1962 – The company offers farm owners insurance.
1965 – American Family copyrights a catchy jingle, which continues to be an integral and highly recognizable element of the company's advertisements.
1966 – American Family begins selling in Colorado.
1975 – American Family introduces Commercial Lines. The company becomes fifth-largest mutual auto insurer.
1977 – In the face of declining stock markets and 12 major storms, the company ends its 50th year in business with 2.3 million policies handled by 2,360 agents delivering industry-leading service.
1981 – American Family reaches a new milestone of financial strength, with assets surpassing $1 billion.
1985 – The company establishes American Family Brokerage, Inc. to serve policyholders by finding insurers to cover hard-to-place risks.
1986 – President Dale Mathwich introduces "Strong, growing and friendly" motto. American Family posts its first $100 million operating gain. Sales begin in Arizona.
1987 – The company organizes a centralized CAT program to more quickly and efficiently help customers affected by catastrophic storms and disasters.
1992 – Policyholders' surplus exceeds $1 billion. The company completes construction of national headquarters.
1995 – American Family opens for business in Ohio.
1998 – American Family begins selling in Oregon.
2001 – American Family begins doing business in Nevada.
2002 – American Family opens for business in Idaho and Utah.
2005 – American Family and the Green Bay Packers raise more than $1 million for breast cancer prevention, treatment and research through the sale of pink Packers caps.
2006 – American Family begins sales in Washington.
2007 – American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wis., celebrates it's grand opening, with American Family serving as the lead donor. The company also introduces the Teen Safe Driver Program SM, an innovative program that helps young drivers overcome the challenges of learning how to drive.
2009 – American Family opens for business in Georgia.
2011 – American Family launches the "Dreams Protected" advertising campaign challenging people to reflect on what matters most to them - their dreams - and emphasizing how the company helps protect customers' families, homes and possessions.
2012 – American Family Insurance acquires the Nashville, Tenn.-based Permanent General Companies and other subsidiaries of the PGC Holdings Corp., which specialize in serving the non-standard auto insurance market. American Family also purchases the Illinois-based Lumbermens Casualty Insurance Company.