The year was 1894, and the business owners of West Bend were faced with a problem – a big problem. So begins the history of West Bend Mutual Insurance Company.
That problem became the seed that grew into an insurance company now protecting the assets of well over one hundred thousand families and businesses throughout 11 Midwestern states. What was the problem? A devastating fire that, just the year before, destroyed an entire commercial block of this small-but-bustling Wisconsin city of 1,800 residents. To make matters worse, the same thing happened 15 years earlier.
In 1894, fire insurance was expensive and controlled by large East-coast stock companies. Because of the fire, the cost of that insurance for these West Bend businesses was going to become even more expensive. The business owners were determined to find a more economical way to protect their valued livelihoods.
The solution was a mutual insurance company. In a mutual company, policyholders are the owners, and profits are returned to them as lower rates at the outset, as annual dividends, or are accumulated in the company surplus fund to provide financial stability. It was the right solution. The company constitution was adopted April 13, 1894 and the first policy sold just two weeks later on May 1.
As time passes, things change. But not our reason for being. Because of that fire, our company was formed. And even then, we began to show that something good can come from something bad.
One hundred and twenty years later, West Bend still prides itself on its mutual roots. We don’t answer to Wall Street. We decide what to do, and these decisions are always based on what’s best for our agents, our policyholders, and our associates.
And we’re proud of our Silver Lining reputation. Of our sincere desire to help our customers through problems and adversity. To make sure that positives come from negative situations. To step up when you need us. To do the right.
Because the worst brings out our best.® That’s The Silver Lining.