In the late 1800s, to become a policyholder of either Ixonia Mutual Fire Insurance Company or Watertown Mutual Fire Insurance Company, one was required to sign an undertaking. The undertaking bound them and their heirs to a pro rata share of all losses, which was a percentage based on the amount for which their policy was insured. After a loss occurred the board of directors would levee the assessment to pay for the loss. [Read more…] about By the Minutes: Early Challenges for a Young Mutual
Perhaps there’s no greater measure of time than the comparison of costs. This is certainly true when we look at the early days of our founding mutuals—Ixonia Mutual Fire Insurance Company and Watertown Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Let’s see how they handled their very first claim. [Read more…] about By the Minutes: A Mutual’s First Claim
Representing Forward Mutual, Howard and Lois Wiedenhoeft joined other Wisconsin mutual insurance companies in meeting with Representative Mike Gallagher (Wisconsin Legislative District #8) to discuss issues that affect their constituents.
Forward Mutual is proud to have recently participated in the Congressional Contact Program (CCP) in Washington D.C. to educate members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation on the issues facing the mutual insurance industry, its agents and policyholders. [Read more…] about Forward Mutual Heads to Capitol Hill
By HOWARD WIEDENHOEFT
Mutual companies need capital to meet the challenges of operating a business and offering insurance. Historically, mutual companies have managed a financial security that allows them to focus on all of their policyholders rather than a few select stockholders. Let’s learn how how our founding mutuals—Ixonia Mutual Fire Insurance Company and Watertown Mutual Fire Insurance Company— capitalized their companies in the late 1800s. [Read more…] about By the Minutes: Comparing the Capitalizing of Two Early Mutuals
By HOWARD WIEDENHOEFT
Three years after the state of Wisconsin passed a law allowing the formation of town mutual insurance companies, land owners in the Town of Ixonia gathered to form a mutual. On Saturday, November 6, 1875, 31 owners of land collectively valued at $32,250 met in Ixonia Center and formed Ixonia Mutual Fire Insurance Company.
The new organization elected John Gibb to serve as chairman and F.V. Piper as secretary. These men formed the board of directors along with Ferdinand Gauerke, Fred Huebner, Carl Pautz, John Lindemann and James McCall. The directors were charged with drafting a code of bylaws to govern the organization.
On November 13, 1875, the Articles of Organization and Bylaws were read and approved by members of Ixonia Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Similar to those of Watertown Mutual Fire Insurance Company in the nearby Town of Watertown, the bylaws followed the guidelines established by the Wisconsin Chapter 103.
According to Ixonia Mutual’s minutes, the bylaws additionally stated:
- The policy would be void if a fire was caused by ashes stored in a wood container within 40 feet of the insured building.
- Insured property owners were required to pay one dollar to become a member and 75 cents for a policy fee.
- The company would not be liable for damage caused by a hop house during drying season or from use of a steam engine on the premise.
- The maximum amount allowed on any livestock was $100 per horse and $20 per horned animal.
- Only citizens of the Town of Ixonia were allowed to become members.
On Tuesday January 4, 1876, the mutual held its first annual meeting. By this time there was a change in board members and serving as directors were Fred Huebner, president; F.V. Piper, secretary; H.E. Humphery, treasurer; Martin Stanton, Carl Pautz, John Lindemann and James McCall.
Written 142 years ago, these minutes are a fascinating history of our rural life. Did you know the cultivation of hops was a major agricultural industry in Wisconsin during the mid 1800s?
Our agriculture has changed many times over the centuries, but the dedication of our mutual insurance has not. Forward Mutual continues to support and provide protection for farmers in 16 counties of southeastern Wisconsin. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us.
By HOWARD WIEDENHOEFT
In 1872, when the state of Wisconsin passed Chapter 103 which allowed the formation of town insurance companies, the Town of Watertown in Jefferson County took full advantage of this opportunity. It’s interesting to note that Wisconsin historically uses the word “town” rather than “township” to denote the governing divisions within its counties. Knowing this verifies that the families coming together to form mutual insurance companies would have been Jefferson County’s most innovative and neighborly-minded farmers.
On Wednesday, November 13, 1872, 35 Town of Watertown property owners met in a school room at Ebenezer Church, south of the city of Watertown. Here they formed the Town of Watertown Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Under the guidance of Chapter 103, the new mutual company allowed property owners in the Towns of Watertown, Ixonia, Milford and Farmington to become members and insure their property. However, it was limited to insuring property in only four adjoining towns and it could not insure in any cities, such as the city of Watertown.
The bylaws they approved at this meeting stated in part that they would only insure for two-thirds of a property’s value. Policies would only be issued for five years. The bylaws also stated that any member who insured their property with more than one company would lose their coverage with Watertown Mutual. Remember, the only insurance offered was for damage caused by fire or lightning!
The mutual members also elected their first board of directors and officers at this meeting. They elected Christian Trachte as president and Friedrich Buckholz as secretary/treasurer. Franz Lehmann, Friedrich Rabbach, and Carl Fischer were also elected as board members. Can you identify them on the photo above?
The mutual commenced business on November 29, 1872, with 35 policies and $49,070 of insurance in force. At the annual meeting on January 6, 1874, the secretary/treasurer reported the mutual had 48 policies with $57,096 of insurance in force. At the annual meeting on January 4, 1875, the mutual had 77 policies with $86,346 of insurance in force.
We appreciate the founding work these early members did for our mutual and we’re proud to carry on the caring commitment they showed so long ago.