The history of the affiliation between Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual and Indiana Lumbermens Mutual only dates back as far as 2013, but the stories of these two mutual insurance companies is rooted deeply in history. Both forming in the second half of the 1890s, PLM and ILM have been offering consistent insurance products to the lumber and building material industries for over 100 years. With the combined experience of these two mutual insurers, it was only natural that the two join forces to become America’s premier provider of insurance products and services for the wood niche.
In early 2013, PLM President and CEO, John K. Smith, was determined to expand his company’s reach through the entire United States. At the same time, ILM, a smaller-sized competitor of PLM, was looking for a way to jumpstart its operations and continue offering its products and services across the country. Following a series of talks with former ILM President and CEO, John Wolf, it was decided that the two companies would form an affiliation through the use of three agreements— The Master Affiliation, Management Services, and Reinsurance Agreements, allowing the companies to combine resources to best serve the lumber and building material industries.
After the announcement of the proposed affiliation, PLM and ILM had to wait four months to obtain regulatory approval from Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas, the domiciliary state of the ILM subsidiaries, Lone Star National Insurance Company and National Building Material Assurance Company. During this time, transition teams made up of PLM and ILM counterparts from each department worked and continue to work on determining best practices in all operational areas to improve your insurance buying experience. Approval from all necessary states was received at the end of October 2013 and the first day of the affiliation was on November 1, 2013.
Although many processes currently remain the same, PLM and ILM are assessing the products and services they both provide, and are looking to make improvements that will further tailor the insurance buying experience to each individual insured. With more diversified product offerings and an expanded geographic reach, PLM and ILM hope to prove that together, they are better.
To learn more about the affiliation and to get updates, click here. Continue down to learn more about our roots.
In the autumn of 1895, a group of lumber dealers and woodworkers from several eastern states met to discuss issues of mutual concern. Among the largest concerns was that of insurance coverage and the high rates being charged to members of their industries by stock insurance companies of the time.
It was at this meeting that one Philadelphia lumber dealer, Edward Henson, proposed a plan for these business owners and operators to form a mutual insurance company dedicated to meeting their unique insurance needs. Henson’s ideas were positively received by the group, and the result was the establishment of Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Fire Insurance Company.
More than 100 years later, the company continues as Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company. PLM still writes specialized coverages for the wood products and building materials industries, and has grown to include building material dealers, sawmills, manufacturers and distributors.
In the 1930s, the company not only expanded its lines to offer a broader range of coverages and risks, but also expanded geographically. The company first moved to adjacent states and by the mid-1960s, extended its reach both north and south of its home base in Pennsylvania.
Today, PLM provides protection for some 6,000 businesses nationwide. Its primary lines include Property, General Liability, Inland Marine, Business Automobile, Commercial Excess Liability and Equipment Breakdown coverages – a mix that is designed to protect every aspect of one’s business.
The story of Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company began in the winter of 1896 at the Indiana Retail Lumber Dealers Association annual meeting. The main topic of discussion was the high rates being charged for fire insurance coverage on lumberyards.
Determined to find a solution to the rate problem, the association appointed a committee to study the matter. Their report and an initial investment of $2,500 resulted in the formation of Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company with Henry Coburn as elected president.
To begin operating, the state legislature had to pass a law to grant a charter. Although this took fifteen months, the determination of Coburn and his chairs to offer experience rated insurance coverage to lumber yards was unwavering. Once the charter was granted, Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company opened for business on April 1, 1897.
After a series of heavy losses in 1897, the treasury was exhausted. Instead of accepting defeat, the Officers and Directors of ILM pledged their personal security, and borrowed $1,000 to write new business. After paying the losses, they ended up with $527.75. This gave ILM a second chance to continue offering insurance to the industry that the employees were passionate about. Since this time, ILM has an unwavering presence in the wood materials insurance industry.
ILM began expanding quickly into the surrounding states and by 1910, the company had the need for a field representative to provide customer service in far away states. Today the company is licensed to do business in 49 states that expand across the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
Soon following expansion through the Midwest, ILM, at the center of the insurance industry, began expanding its lines of business to include more policy forms and coverage types. Today, ILM offers hundreds of coverages to meet the specific needs of its insureds, and provides a mix of property, general liability, inland marine, business auto, and excess liability policies to help businesses of all sizes feel secure.