History

1874

On September 5, 1874 a public meeting of forty members of the Evangelical Association and others of the Township of Hay was held to discuss the expediency of establishing a Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company upon the Mutual Principle for the County of Huron. Important in the initial planning was the statement that the organization was to be based on the Mutual Principle, in other words it was to be a co-operative effort.  As a result of that meeting, subscription books were opened to secure subscribers and a license was obtained from the government to transact mutual fire insurance business.

1875

At a public meeting of subscribers nine Directors were elected and it was resolved: that the Company should be known as “The Hay Township Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company” and that the location of the Head Office should be in Zurich.

The first President was Mr. John B Geiger and Mr. Henry V. Dirstein, Manager and Secretary- Treasurer. The first premiums were 5 cents for every $100 of insurance written and covered only non-hazardous farmers’ risks, churches and school houses for the peril of fire. With 119 policies in force, the largest risk was for $2,600.

1881

Office quarters were moved to Crediton when Henry Eilber was named Manager and Secretary-Treasurer.

1900

Total insurance in force reached $3,000,000. 85 Mutual companies exist in Ontario.

1910’s

Canada’s fire loss is $3.00 per capita, the highest in the world. 

Office of the Fire Marshal established by provincial legislation. 

The end of the Great War sees the expansion of purebred herds, larger barns and increased use of power equipment. 

The worst storm ever recorded on the Great Lakes took place on November 9, 1913.  That storm claimed over 200 lives and destroyed 12 lake freighters, eight of which sank in the waters of Lake Huron.

1920’s

The average farm exposure has increased from $1,000 in 1900 to $10,000 by the 1920’s.

Farm Mutuals insure houses in towns. 

1930’s

Fire Extinguishers introduced. 

1940’s

Mutuals purchase war bonds and victory bonds during the war.

1950’s

The office was moved back to Zurich.

Supplemental perils endorsements are added to fire policies so as to insure windstorm.

Farm Mutual Reinsurance Inc. was established to reinsure farm mutual business.

1960’s

Hay Mutual participates in reinsuring risks with the Farm Mutual Reinsurance Inc.  

Machinery and Livestock floaters are introduced. Burglary, robbery and theft coverages added to household contents.

Composite Dwelling Policy including a Liability Clause is introduced.

A tornado striked portions of Hay, Tuckersmith and Hibbert Townships on April 19, 1967.  The tornado flattened barns, homes, trees, utility poles and anything else in its destructive path. Residents of Huron County miraculously escaped injury as the tornado touched down.   

1970’s

Hay Mutual celebrates 100 years. The company built a new office in Zurich.

Auto insurance coverage is introduced.

The great winter storm of January 1971 trapped residents in their homes for three days.  School children were transported by snowmobiles to local homes for accommodation.

One of the worst ice storms ever experienced occurred on March 2, 1976.  The Village of Zurich was without hydro for five days and five nights.  

1980’s

Introduction of Farmers’ Limited Pollution Liability coverage, clear language personal residential policy, underwriting of commercial risks and property discount resulting in 20% reduction in property premiums.  
Computer system was purchased to process policies and claims. 

1990’s

Company name changed to Hay Mutual Insurance Company.

Mutual Protect Theft Reduction Program is launched in cooperation with the OPP.

2000’s

Refund of premiums distributed to policyholders totaling $2.6 million.

Severe windstorms occurred on November 13, 2003 and April 18, 2004 exceeding the company’s catastrophe retention.

Hired an in-house claims adjuster. 
Purchased land for future office building requirements.

Construction of new office building completed.  

2010’s

Refund of premiums distributed to members totaling $1.1 million. Two catastrophic events occurred in 2011 resulting in millions of dollars in damage.  On April 10 a hailstorm caused extensive damage in the Kippen area.  A devastating tornado struck the Goderich area on August 21.