Travelers Insurance is owned by its shareholders, as it is a publicly traded company with no parent company. On the other hand, Geico is an independent company owned by Berkshire Hathaway. James Batterson, the son of a stonemason from Bloomfield, Connecticut, founded Travelers Insurance in 1823. At the age of 15, he was an apprentice at a printing company in Ithaca, New York, where he spent his evenings studying the books of his friends at university. After three years, Batterson returned to help with his father's stone carving business, which gained a national reputation under his leadership.
Batterson died in 1872, leaving control of the company to Sylvester Dunham. Dunham introduced the branch system to Travelers. Before 1902, company agents were responsible for selling policies, recruiting agents, and performing administrative tasks. With the opening of its first branch in New York City, Travelers established an administrative system to support agents and allow them to focus on selling insurance.
The branch provided services to existing policyholders, oversaw sales operations, and provided inspection and investigation services. Offices were soon established in Louisville, Kentucky; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo, Ohio, and have since grown to hundreds. When the stock market crashed in 1929, many institutional investors went bankrupt. However, Travelers had placed its investment portfolio in the care of L.
Zacher who had assumed the presidency just two days before the crisis. He had the foresight to withdraw Travelers money from stocks and put it in United States government bonds - one of the safest investments available. During World War II, Travelers took on a number of extraordinary risks such as ammunition, bombers, warplanes and submarines. Travelers also financed the Alcan Highway project between Fairbanks (Alaska) and Dawson Creek (British Columbia), and eventually joined the Pan-American Highway that extended south to Rio de Janeiro.
The company insured a wide variety of industrial hazards including oil fields in Iran and construction sites in South America. Perhaps the riskiest funding of all was that of the Manhattan Project which secretly developed the atomic bomb. This experience led Travelers to participate in securing nuclear power plants after the war. Randall became president of Travelers Insurance Company while Cole became president of the entire group which now included Travelers Indemnity Company - a subsidiary.
After World War II Americans began moving from cities to suburbs which promoted installment lending and expensive new appliances such as televisions refrigerators and air conditioners. The improvement of roads also encouraged greater car production which led Travelers to offer packaged insurance plans for individuals. The Extended Coverage Plan and Additional Extended Coverage Plan offered homeowners protection against more hazards than ever before while in 1955 the homeowners policy included all insurance needs for homeowners against fires personal liability windstorms medical coverage for injured outsiders on the premises and living expenses when a home became uninhabitable. In 1957 The Premium Budget Plan allowed homeowners to pay monthly premiums.
The increase in car use led to a large increase in accidents with costs of personal injury claims increasing by 86% over ten years after World War II. To combat this Travelers began basing insurance rates on a driver's safety record which studies have shown significantly reduces chances of another mishap occurring. With this new rating system Travelers was able to make its car accident insurance division profitable again. Doyle DeWitt became president of Travelers during whose tenure group insurance began to play a larger role in profits - particularly major medical centers which showed impressive growth during the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1958 with business booming Travelers installed its first computer to help keep up with paperwork while also opening its first branch in a suburban neighborhood near Atlanta Georgia which served homeowners and people with small businesses. During the 1960s crime rates continued to rise as did traffic accidents while health care costs were skyrocketing and court settlements had higher limits - all factors that had an impact on Travelers' premiums due to The Medicare program's introduction. To combat this Sterling Tooker announced Travelers' intention to respond to changes holding back growth with Beach responsible for developing long-term planning while Malone from MIT led a new research department to detect trends and help respond accordingly. In 1969 Sterling Tooker resigned as president and CEO of The Travelers Corporation being succeeded by Roger C.
Later that year Apollo II astronauts were insured by Travelers while premiums had doubled from their 1960 level by 1970 when Beach became president and Roger Wilkins became president - ranking second among diversified financial companies in The United States at that time. Way resigned unexpectedly as president of The Travelers Corporation in 1983 being succeeded by Budd who took office following announcement while several life insurance policyholders committed suicide or threatened to do so if Travelers didn't lend them money - something Batterson had done when he first learned about passenger accident insurance (i). Batterson met with local banker James Bolter at Hartford Connecticut's post office where he founded The Travelers Insurance Company as is customary with most insurers in The United States never dissolving various companies it acquired but simply converting them into wholly-owned subsidiaries and training employees to act on behalf of those subsidiaries. After World War I in May 1919 Travelers introduced a comprehensive aviation insurance program that included life policies civil liability workers' compensation and passenger accidents while Weill renamed Primerica as Travelers Group purchasing Aetna Life and Casualty Company's property and accident insurance businesses in 1996.