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CELEBRATING

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This great company was founded with the purpose of doing things differently. Treating people fairly and with respect. Serving our customers, independent agents and communities. While much has changed in 100 years, our purpose has not, and we enter our second century with a renewed commitment to becoming the best property and casualty insurance company in the industry.

Mike LaRocco

President & CEO

 
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Our Story

State Auto is Born

August 15, 1921

The articles of incorporation for the State Automobile Mutual Insurance Association was filed with the office of the Ohio Secretary of State on Aug. 15, 1921.

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The articles of incorporation for the State Automobile Mutual Insurance Association was filed with the office of the Ohio Secretary of State on Aug. 15, 1921. Robert S. Pein established the first home office casualty company in Columbus, Ohio, with $30,000 in borrowed funds and three employees. Pein was determined that State Auto would be a different kind of insurance company. Rates were unreasonably high, he believed, and the claim process was slow and frustrating.

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The First Year of Business

December 31, 1921

By the end of 1921, State Auto had done $18,005.30 in business, with assets of $40,608.25.

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By the end of 1921, State Auto had done $18,005.30 in business, with assets of $40,608.25. In less than five months, $1,595.54 in claims were paid. Automobile insurance policies of the day were much different than what you’d find today. The standard liability limit was $2,500; property damage was written for $1,000. Theft, which wasn’t considered a major threat, was often covered for free. Less than half the auto owners on the road were insured.

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The Protective Giant

1924

Throughout the 1920s, State Auto adopted the Protective Giant advertising symbol, used on policies and other promotional materials. State Auto was a “Protective Giant able to cope with fire, theft and accident.”

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Don't Monkey with Fate

May 1930

State Auto’s creativity in promoting the relatively new company extended to what’s become known as the “monkey wagon.”

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State Auto’s creativity in promoting the relatively new company extended to what’s become known as the “monkey wagon.” 
“A man will travel continually with these monkeys and a special man will also go in the territory in which they are on display and help put on a guessing contest, the aim of which will be to gather policy expiration dates and write business.
… It seems as though everyone will stop to watch the antics of monkeys.” – State Auto agent newsletter

Moving to Broad Street

October 24, 1930

While other companies struggled or failed during the Great Depression, State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company formally opened for new business at an elegant new office building at 518 East Broad Street in Columbus.

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While other companies struggled or failed during the Great Depression, State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company formally opened for new business at an elegant new office building at 518 East Broad Street in Columbus. According to reports at the time, the company’s 150 employees were awed by the marble and French limestone lobby walls and bronze entry doors. The 40,000 square foot structure housed underwriting and sales on the first floor, claims and executive offices on the second floor and a variety of service functions in the basement.

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Rapid Growth

1931

Ten years after the founding of the company, the “State” earns the title of “Ohio’s largest insurer of automobiles.”

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Ten years after the founding of the company, the “State” earns the title of “Ohio’s largest insurer of automobiles.”

By the end of 1931, State Auto has assets of $2,959,942 and surplus of $700,000. The company enters Kentucky, West Virginia, New Jersey and Tennessee with an agency force of 700.

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State Auto begins writing business in Maryland

1932

Christmas Corner

December 1932

State Auto founder Bob Pein begins decorating the Home Office building on a lavish scale, and each subsequent year becomes an immense effort to outdo the last.

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State Auto founder Bob Pein begins decorating the Home Office building on a lavish scale, and each subsequent year becomes an immense effort to outdo the last. The 1932 display features 2,568 lights requiring 12 miles of electric wiring and 853 Christmas trees. Eight electricians work around the clock for a week to complete the spectacle.

Egg Giveaway

January 23, 1932

State Auto donates 1,000 “newly laid eggs” to the city’s needy.

State Auto donates 1,000 “newly laid eggs” to the city’s needy. In the depths of the Great Depression, Bob Pein purchases 1,000 dozen eggs, offering six each to 2,000 people. The effort is front-page news in the local newspapers and cements Pein’s, and State Auto’s, reputation as a caring community partner.

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Christmas Corner

December 1934

In its third year, Christmas Corner grew to 8,000 electric lights operated by a huge flasher with 18 different circuits, run by an electric motor which put the display in motion.

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In its third year, Christmas Corner grew to 8,000 electric lights operated by a huge flasher with 18 different circuits, run by an electric motor which put the display in motion. A church on top of the building stood more than 16 feet high and was surrounded by immense cut-out figures. The sky-high chapel was called “the little church in the air” by the local press.

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State Auto begins writing business in Michigan

1933

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Speedy Claims

1936

Two national telegraph lines are installed in the “home office” to speed claims service around the country. The company boasts adjusting a claim in California within four hours of receiving notice of the loss.