SECURA celebrates 115 years — A look back

There were many significant accomplishments in the first part of the 20th Century, including the Model T Ford (1908), the Wright Brothers’ first flight (1903), and even the invention of the chocolate chip cookie (1930).

But before them all, a man in the rural Wisconsin farming town of Cicero saw another need for society following a catastrophic event that took place in the nearby community of New Richmond. News spread quickly about the 1899 tornado that ravaged the area, killing more than 100 people and injuring 500 others. Homes were destroyed and property damage approached $800,000. In modern dollars, that would equate to nearly $23 million.

One man’s vision
Julius Bubolz, a local farmer, decided that something needed to be done to ease the inevitable financial burden caused by future storms. On March 1, 1900, he shared his plan for a mutual insurance company with his neighbors, proposing that each member would have an equal voice in management and promise to assume his share of losses and expenses.

So began The Farmers Home Mutual Hail, Tornado and Cyclone Insurance Company of Seymour, Wisconsin. Known today more succinctly as SECURA Insurance, our home office is now located in nearby Appleton, Wis.

Times have changed
This year, our company celebrates 115 years of serving policyholders. What started in Julius Bubolz’s farmhouse with 135 charter members has grown to become a super-regional property and casualty insurance company with coverages for home, auto, commercial, farm-ag, and specialty businesses in 12 states.

The claims paid in that first year totaled a mere $78, compared to $235 million in 2014, and we now offer protection and peace of mind to more than 100,000 policyholders. Our first employees were hired in 1914: two office clerks who earned $5 per week plus board. Now, we have more than 650.

While many things have changed through the years, SECURA remains a mutual company that is owned entirely by our policyholders instead of stockholders and outside investors. We also have remained dedicated to the independent agency model, relying on the strong relationships formed with agents and policyholders.

Dedication to the community is what the company was founded on and remains an integral part of our genuine culture. Whether supporting youth development, education, environmental efforts, the arts, or providing the most basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and safety, we’re committed to making the world a better place.

Still going strong
As we look to the future, we’re investing in product advancement and technology to reflect the ever-changing needs of customers. We continue to build financial security and stability even during challenging economic times. Recently, SECURA was recognized among Ward’s Top 50 property and casualty insurance companies nationwide, and we’re consistently rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best. Our financial strength supports the reason we’re here: to meet our financial obligations and pay claims.

Current SECURA President and CEO, Dave Gross, serves as only the fifth leader in our 115-year history, attesting to our strength and dependability. “It’s still about helping our neighbors and being there for them when they need us,” says Dave. “That hasn’t changed. Caring for our policyholders and agents is not just a part of our history, but the fabric of all we do and who we are today.”