Mission Statement: “Our mission is to help our clients recover from the unexpected by offering them a promise of financial security, protection and peace of mind. We are committed to achieving sustainable growth to benefit our customers by providing a comprehensive range of quality insurance products and services.”
The first subordinate Grange in Pennsylvania was established in Montgomery, Lycoming County, on March 4, 1871. The Grange movement mushroomed across the state so that by the end of 1874 there were 440 Granges in the Commonwealth with a combined membership of 18,000 persons.
The members of the Grange, in common with other owners of farm property, had resented the high rates charged for farm insurance by stock companies. Worse still, the old line stock companies were loath to insure farm properties at all. Out of this dilemma, the Grange mutual fire insurance companies were born. When organized, the Grange companies invariably restricted their policies to Grange members, but during the depression years and later, many Grange insurance companies opened their services to non-Grangers.
In January, 1909 Bedford County Grange Mutual Fire insurance Company was chartered to provide fire insurance coverage for Grange members in the Bedford County area. The home office was originally in Osterburg, then moved to the Murphy Building in Bedford in 1950, to 143 North Richard Street, then to 446 West Pitt Street, and finally in 1982, moved to its present location at 477 West Pitt Street.
At the outset, Bedford County Grange Mutual Fire Insurance Company was organized on a post assessment basis with a premium note being the basis for assessment at the close of the year’s business. There were 162 policies issued with a volume of $30,937 the first year. Premium notes amounting to $16,269 and $1,159.69 of actual premium collected. One loss was paid in the amount of $350.66 and there was $179.41 of miscellaneous expenses. Until the late 1940’s, Bedford County Grange Mutual Fire Insurance Company primarily insured farmers who were Grange members, against fire and lightning losses. In 1947, with N.F. Richards as President, the charter was amended to make advance premium assessments on an approved basis. It was during this period that the company coverages were opened to non-Grange members as well as Grangers. The Company provided two million dollars of coverage to its members, with a $30,000 annual premium. Until 1950, all of the insurance work was done out of the home of the Pomona Grange Secretary. The first in-town office was located in the second floor of the Murphy Building, with a staff of one part-time secretary.
In January 1950, the charter was again amended to provide other coverages including windstorm, smoke, and explosion. During that decade with George Leonard as Secretary and general agent, and Clyde Sell as President, the company grew to a $38,000 annual premium volume.
During the 1960’s with Benjamin Slick as President and Howard J. Koontz as Secretary, the Company continued to grow steadily until 1970 when the volume of insurance in force was $35,175. In 1965, Bedford County Grange Mutual Fire Insurance Company joined with nine other Grange companies to form a reinsurance pool for fire business. The Pennsylvania Grange Mutual Reinsurance Exchange was dissolved in 2000.
In April 1975, the charter was rewritten and amended to write liability coverages needed to issue Homeowners’ Policies. That year closed with an annual direct premium volume of $121,000 and $47,000 insurance in force.
In 1980, Bedford County Grange Mutual merged Huntingdon County Grange Mutual Fire Insurance Company into its operation. This merger helped to expand the territory of the company into the surrounding counties and several of the Directors from that company still serve on the Board of Directors.
The first computer system was installed in 1985 with somewhat limited capabilities handling the basic operations of the company. Since 1993 the computer system has expanded to comprise the current network system. This expansion has enabled us to serve our customers betters, equipped us for further growth, and facilitated our interest to offer all-new updated lines of insurance to keep pace with the insurance industry.
In 1998, Elk County Mutual Fire Insurance Company merged into the company and continues to serve as a branch office in Kersey, PA. This same year, Bedford Grange Mutual converted to a non-assessable company, and “County” was dropped from the business name.
February of 2001 Bedford Grange Mutual organized and incorporated Fortress Insurance Agency. This was done in order to offer and provide additional coverages for our present and prospective policy holders.