CMI History

Over one hundred and twenty-five years ago, on October 27, 1888, a group of Spencer and county residents gathered in the Clay County, Iowa Courthouse with a specific agenda: to establish an organization providing fire insurance for farm homes in the county.

The concept was born of a necessity for economic survival – by banding together, the losses of a few would be spread among the group’s member pool.  In the late 1800’s, if insurance coverage was even available, the companies charged premiums that were cost prohibitive to most.

  • November 10, 1888 – First Board of Directors elected
    • A.W. Greene, Fred Lachner, E.H. Crandall, R.F. Archer, J.L. Eckley, J. Goodwin, F.A. Hiser, J.A. Livingston and J.C. Winsit.
  • December 3, 1888 – the Articles of Incorporation were adopted for Farmers Mutual Fire & Lightning Insurance Association of Clay County
  • February 1, 1889 - the doors at 13 West 4th Street in Spencer officially opened for business. 
    The Mutual’s coverage area extended to the contiguous counties of Buena Vista, Cherokee, Dickinson, Emmet, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto and Pocahontas, as it remains today.
  • February 1, 1889 – the first insurance policy is issued for $2,170 in coverage.
  • June 20, 1889 -  the first claim was paid out to a farmer who lost five steers due to lightning for $90.00
  • The risk in force (total exposure of written policies) the first year exceeded $90,000.
  • January 1, 1894 – business in force exceeds $1,000,000
  • October 1938 – to date, over a half-million dollars was paid out for losses
    Fifty years after forming, the mutual’s exposures exceeded $14,000,000
  • 1948 – Farmers Mutual Fire & Lightning becomes Clay Mutual Insurance Association
  • September 9, 1955 – the company settles into their new office on the same location.  It replaced the former building occupied by the association for 60+ years.
  • June, 1974 – Clay Mutual Insurance Association moves it’s office to its current location –
    515 Grand Ave
  • 1988 – One hundred years in business – $172,000,000 business in force
  • Currently, Clay Mutual’s risk in force exceeds $500,000,000.

The principles and values on which the company was established largely remain unchanged.  Clay Mutual Insurance is steadfast in providing our policyholders local, small-town service with the dedication, diligence and peace of mind in protecting your investments.  We possess the security and protection offered by larger companies – and are proud to provide service at a personal level.