Headquarters address: 6301 Owensmouth Avenue, Woodland Hills, California 91367, US
Year established: 1928
Number of employees: 21,000
Number of affiliate companies: 40+
Gross written premiums: $24.2 billion (2021)
Total business operating profit: $1.6 billion (2021)
Underwriting expertise: Home, auto, commercial, and life insurance
Jeffrey Dailey (CEO), Deborah Aldredge (chief administrative officer), Giles Harrison (chief financial officer), Jim Hinchley (president, Farmers Business Insurance), Melissa Joye (chief marketing officer), Steve McAnena (president, personal lines), Tina Shaw (chief risk officer, Farmers Group, Inc.), Raul Vargas (president of distribution, Life and Financial Services), Steve Weinstein (general counsel, Farmers Group, Inc.), Mark Welch (chief people & diversity officer), Paul Wilson (Farmers chief of operations)
Farmers is the trade name for three reciprocal insurers – Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange, and Truck Insurance Exchange – which are owned by their policyholders. Along with their subsidiaries and affiliates, these insurers comprise the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, which together make up one of the largest insurance providers for homes, vehicles, and small businesses in the US. A number of these affiliate firms also provide a range of specialty insurance and financial services products.
Farmers Insurance Exchange, the largest of the three primary insurance insurers, is recognized as one of the companies on the 2017 Fortune 500 list. To date, Farmers has more than 48,000 exclusive and independent agents and nearly 21,000 employees, serving over 10 million households. It has written more than 19 million individual insurance policies across all 50 states.
The non-claims activities of the Farmers are managed by an attorney-in-fact, Farmers Group Inc., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zurich Insurance Group.
John C. Tyler and Thomas E. Leavey started Farmers Automobile Inter-Insurance in 1927 to offer preferred insurance rates to rural drivers, which was then an overlooked market. Tyler, the son of an insurance salesman from rural South Dakota, believed that farmers and ranchers experienced fewer risks compared to city drivers and were entitled to lower premiums. Together with Leavy, who also came from a rural background, the two put up their own money and went from farm to farm to gain their first policies. On March 28, 1928, the company opened for business out of a one-room office in downtown Los Angeles. Two weeks later, it sold its first policy, insuring a 1928 Cadillac Phaeton.
In its first two years of operation, the company found success in the rural niche market, issuing about 40,000 policies, and expanding its staff from four to 46, with almost 700 agents working in offices in more than 40 districts. By 1931, Farmers operated in nine states. The following year, its assets exceeded $1 million, with net written premiums reaching $1.43 million.
During the Great Depression, Farmers was one of the few insurers to able to pay customers’ claims in cash instead of IOUs. It also became the first insurance company to offer comprehensive auto coverage.
The 1950s was a decade of great expansion for Farmers. Among its acquisitions was the New World Life Company of Seattle. In the 1960s, Farmers became the first major insurance organization to offer a monthly payment plan that was not a finance plan. It also started drive-in claims services and offered uninsured motorist coverage and policies providing discounts to drivers between the ages of 30 and 60. The company was also the first major insurer to offer a non-smoker discount.
In 1998, Farmers Group, Inc. was acquired by Zurich Financial Services.
Dailey joined Farmers in 2007 as president of personal lines when the insurer acquired Bristol West, where he had been serving as chief executive since 2006. In January 2011, he was promoted to president and chief operating officer of Farmers Group, Inc. He was named to his current role as CEO on January 1, 2012.
Dailey’s career in the insurance industry spans more than three decades. After a brief stint as a claims adjuster with Mutual Service Insurance, he joined Progressive Insurance Company and quickly moved up the ranks. He went on to form Reliant Insurance Company, an auto insurance start-up owned by Reliance Group Holdings, which was sold to Bristol West Holdings Inc. in 2001. From 2001 to 2004, Dailey served as COO of Bristol West, after which he was named the company’s president. Dailey was instrumental in taking the firm public with its listing on the New York Stock Exchange and the sale of $345 million of common stock.
Taking care of its employees is a top priority for Farmers. To do this, the company has implemented different ways to provide employee support, including the Farmers Family Fund, which enables the Farmers community to respond quickly when employees experience financial hardship. Since its launch in 2012, the program has provided more than $2.5 million in grants to support employees.
Farmers also shows its commitment to diversity and inclusion through sponsorships of a broad range of employee groups, including the Women’s Inclusion Network, Farmers Pride, Veterans & Advocates, Farmers Asian Alliance, Somos Farmers, Black Professionals Alliance, Disability Inclusion Group, Farmers Future, FarmersFit, and Parent Connect.
Farmers likewise considers “giving back, serving others, and making a positive impact in communities across the country” to be “at the core of [its] social responsibility efforts.”
By 2021, the company’s total charitable contributions have exceeded $5.3 million, which was used to support more than 470 causes. Nearly 22,000 of its employees have also allotted time and effort to give back to their communities, making a difference in 235 cities.
In terms of sustainability, Farmers has reduced its internal paper use by more than 80% in the past five years. It has also removed polystyrene and plastic from its operations wherever biodegradable alternatives were practical beginning 2019. In 2020, over 20,000 trees were planted across the country on behalf of all Farmers employees through collaboration with American Forests.
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