THE UNION INSURANCE COMPANY
THE UNION INSURANCE COMPANY–In May, 1861, ten prominent business men of San Francisco associated themselves together, each putting up $10,000 for the purpose of doing an insurance business. Having only a partnership arrangement, they styled themselves the California Lloyds. This was the first insurance company to do business in California. The success of the California Lloyds from its incipiency was so great that the accumulation soon amounted into the hundred thousands, and the gentlemen comprising the Lloyds considered it bad business policy to have such a large amount at the will of any one without some form of responsibility. There being no corporation, they deemed it best and safest to divide it. Accordingly, one-half of the amount was paid back to the original members, and the other half was used as a nucleus for the incorporation of what has since been known as the Union Insurance Company.
The Union Insurance Company was organized in April, 1865. It took the entire business of the California Lloyds, and the manager was made president of the company. From that time on the success of the Union has been phenomenal, and the company stands to-day second to none, either as a fire or marine insurance company.
Since its incorporation it has received in premiums $10,926,237.63; paid out in losses $6,232,042.24; paid in cash dividends $2,317,500.00; and in the Chicago fire of 1871, paid its policy holders $547,000.00. In the disastrous conflagrations of 1889, the company met by cash payments, without discount, the losses in Seattle, Spokane, Ellensburgh, Hailey (Idaho), Durango (Colorado), Bakersfield (California), Lynn and Boston (Massachusetts), and Buffalo (New York), paying out a larger amount than it did a the great fire in Chicago.
The unlimited liability of the stockholders of the company precludes the necessity of a large surplus. The first president of the company was Mr. Caleb T. Fay, and the first secretary, Mr. Charles D. Haven. In 1866 Mr. Gustave Touchard became president, and remained so until his death in 1888. Upon Secretary Haven’s assuming charge of the local business of one of the large English corporations, Mr. James D. Bailey was elected secretary, and still retains that responsible position. Upon the death of Mr. Touchard, Mr. Nathaniel T. James, then marine secretary of the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, was elected to fill the position.
The present directors of the company are as follows: Nathaniel T. James, President; James Moffitt, Vice-President; James D. Bailey, Secretary; and Gustav Sutro, D. E. Martin, Hon. George C. Perkins, Christopher Nelson, Joseph Brandenstein, E. Ransome and Albert Pissis, – whose names alone are sufficient guarantee of reliability and conservativeness,
One of the peculiar features of the company is that their assets are invested in interest-bearing securities or loans upon real estate, no stocks being owned by the company.
Transcribed by Elaine Sturdevant
Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 1, page 538-539, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892.
© 2004 Elaine Sturdevant.
California Biography Project
San Francisco County
Golden Nugget Library