Group of interested people got together in Roseau County the first part of 1903 and appointed a committee to draw up the articles of incorporation for a Farmers Mutual Insurance Company. This committee met at the Burkee Bros. Store in Badger on March 2, 1903. L. C. Hegstad was chosen Chairman and O.E. Howg was chosen as Secretary.
The Articles of Incorporation show the name of Roseau County Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company was chosen and the principal office of the new Company was given as Badger, Town of Skagen, Minnesota. (Badger was not incorporated as a village until 1906.)
The general nature of business of the Company was to sell fire and lightning insurance upon the township mutual plan. Thirty Townships were listed in which the Company would transact business. The management of the affairs of this Company was to be vested in a Board of Directors consisting of nine members, said Board to be elected annually by the members (policyholders) of this Company in the Annual Meeting assembled.
The corporate existence of the Company was to be from April 1, 1903 and continue for a period of 30 years.
Named as the first Board of Directors until the first Annual Meeting could be held were O. E. Howg, C. O. Haug, Peter P. Reudro, E. A. Aase, T. P. Anderson, B. J. Dahlen, L. C. Hegstad, B. C. Sater and Olaf Nilson. 32 signers witnessed the original Articles of Incorporation. The Board of Directors met March 30, 1903 and O. E. Howg was elected President and L. C. Hegstad Secretary. Meeting again on May 28, 1903, the Board voted to pay Agents $1.50 a day and 25 cents per application, but not to exceed $3.00 a day. Another motion was made that membership fee was to be paid in cash and the premium on policies may be paid with a note at 10% interest, due November 1, 1903.
O.E. Howg sold the first policy in the amount of $734.00 with a premium and fee of $4.67 for three years. This was to E. A. Aase of Dieter Township. That first year 70 policies were issued for a total value of $48,032. At the end of 1904 the policies numbered 182 and an additional $92,210 in coverage had been sold. Those first years, E. A. Aase, L. C. Hegstad and O. E. Howg were the most active as Agents for the Company. In 1906, Edward Erickson was named to the Board and he, too, became active as an Agent.
O.E. Howg left the area sometime in 1905 and his duties were taken over by B. L. Sundal, the Vice President. At the January 2, 1906 meeting, Sundal was elected President and A. G. Lokken replaced Hegstad as Secretary.
In 1911, the Annual Meeting was changed to June. At this time, Sundal left the Board and the Directors named O. E. Howg as President. In 1913, the Board changed the Annual Meeting back to January. A. G. Hegstad served as Secretary of the organization until the Annual Meeting in 1915 at which time T. G. Hegstad assumed the office.
In 1917, T. G. Hegstad moved out of the area and O. E. Howg was appointed Secretary. He served as Secretary until March 30, 1948. T. G. Hegstad returned to the area and was named Secretary. He served until June 1, 1953 and was replaced by M. V. Modahl, who served until June 1, 1958. Albert Kammen was then appointed to the Board and was named Secretary, a position he held until his resignation effective December 31, 1977. Marlin Erickson was appointed Secretary and served until 1982. Jack W. Jensen then served until 1991 when Joe C. Burian was appointed as Secretary. Bruce E. Olson was elected as Secretary in 2000.
N.E. Wold served as President of the Company from 1917 to 1927. Ole J. Winjum served until 1933. At that time Edward Erickson became President and he kept that office until his retirement in 1966. Mr. Erickson served the Company 60 years, since 1906. Stanley Alberg was appointed president and served until 1986. At that time, Vivian (Erickson) Thacker was named Chairperson of the Board and served until her retirement in 2000. Joe C. Burian was elected President and still is serving in that capacity.
The corporate existence of the Company was scheduled to end April 1, 1933, and the Board voted then to make the corporate existence perpetual. The Articles were then changed to elect three Directors each year.
In 1977, Vivian (Erickson) Thacker/Burggraf was hired as Office Manager. Her job was to manage the day-to-day operations of the Company and make reports to the Board of Directors. The President and Secretary of the Company were no longer responsible for the day-to-day operations. She served as Manager until March 1, 1986. James Svir was hired at that time and is still serving in that capacity.
Until January 1, 1978, meetings of the Company had been held at various places, many times at the home of the Secretary where the records were kept. The Secretary and President basically ran the Company, paid the losses, collected the premiums and did the other business of the Company. There was not the thing of day-to-day operations of the Company.
In 1978, the Company rented office space below the old post office on Main Street of Badger and in July 1978 they moved to a new office rented from Jan Geroy in a building located on the corner of Main Street. The other half of the building was a Café. The Company occupied this space until fall of 1997.
A 100th Anniversary of the Company’s existence was held in 2003.
The operations of the Company changed dramatically in 1978 with it’s own office space and Office Manager and the hiring of additional clerical support.
Several programs were started in the late 1970’s and 1980’s such as: A well rounded Reinsurance Program, Company Insurance Policies covering liability exposure as well as Professional Liability, an Inspection program, hiring of an Company Adjuster. In 1981, Policyholders voted to expand the service area to include some townships in neighboring counties. In 1987, the territory was again expanded to 150 townships in Roseau County, Marshall, Kittson and parts of Lake of the Woods County and Beltrami.
In 1986, the Company’s assets were at $251,232, policyholders’ surplus was $97,637, Net premium of $206,186, net losses paid of $183,705, operating expenses of $54,011 and investment income of $17,138.
In 1991, Border Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Baudette, Minnesota approached our Company about a merger of the two Companies. After long discussions, it was brought to a vote of the policyholders of the two Companies. Effective July 1, 1991, Border Farmers Mutual was merged into Roseau County Mutual Insurance Company with the Company office remaining in Badger, Minnesota. The new Board of Directors of the merged Company were: Vivian Thacker, Joe Burian, Jack Sovde, Maynard Braaten, Gilbert Loe, Jack W. Jensen, James Dostal, Donald Lofgren and Bill Mouw. Jim Svir would remain as Manager of the Company and the operating territory was expanded to 250 townships in Roseau, Marshall, Kittson, Lake of the Woods and parts of Koochiching and Beltrami Counties. The Agency force was expanded to its current force of Agencies.
The 1990’s brought a period of change with the merger of the Companies but also on how we write insurance. Coverages were broaden to meet Competitors policies. Rates were now analyzed and studied yearly. Sizes of individual policies were growing to meet the bigger farms, bigger buildings and bigger homes. Roseau County Mutual was now a stable, efficient, growing and well-respected Company in Minnesota.
Spring of 1997 brought yet another change for the Company with the planning of a new Office building. Land was purchased in Badger in April of 1997. Several meetings were held by the Board of Directors and Management to determine the size, design and hiring of a General Contractor. Rod Wulff Construction of Wannaska was hired as General Contractor and construction began in June. Completion of the new building was in September and the office staff moved the personal property into the new Office Building. It is a very efficient 36’ x 60’ building. An open house was held on October 10, 1997.
The current Board of Directors are: Chairperson Joe C. Burian, Vice-chair Donald Lofgren, Secretary Joel Erickson, Treasurer James Dostal, Ryan Severson, James Svir and William Thompson.
Manager Jim Svir and office staff of Kelly Lindland, Tabitha Bronson and Inspector/Adjuster Mark Berger.
We also like to remember some long time Employees, Agents and Directors of the Company. Employee Eileen Lunde, Director/Agents: Maynard Thompson, Jack W. Jensen, Stanley Alberg, Kenneth Johnson, John T. Eklund, Leonard Modahl, Albert Anderson, Ernest Johnson and Vivian Burggraf.
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204 East University Avenue Badger