When you think about it, you kinda want to do business with an insurance company that has been around a while. These two started in 1794 and are still going strong today.
On January 21, 1794, a number of respectable citizens assembled to establish a fire insurance company similar to that created in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin. This meeting gave rise to the birth of the Baltimore Equitable Society. Policy Number 1 was issued on April 10, 1794 to Humphrey Pierce on his three-story brick house on Baltimore Street. By the end of its first year of operation, the Society was incorporated, making it older than Baltimore City itself, which was not incorporated until three years later.
Today, A.M. Best Company, which evaluates the financial stability of insurance companies, has rated Baltimore Equitable Society A - Excellent., meaning in Best's opinion, BEI has an excellent ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations.
"That the citizens of this state may insure their buildings against losses and damages occasioned accidentally by fire and that the insured pay the losses and expenses, each his share, according to the sum insured." So reads the 1794 charter for the Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia
A mutual insurance company is owned and operated by its policyholders. It is run for their exclusive benefit. There are no stockholders. Each policyholder has a voice in the affairs of the company. Collectively, they elect its board of directors who, in turn, elect the officers who serve as the active managers of the business. Pure mutuals continue to operate in substantially the same manner they did when they began. Today’s economic challenges and technological changes must still be addressed, but the underlying concepts and principles remain.