Montgomery County Illinois History

The Pana District Mutual Wind Storm Insurance Company was organized in 1894 by the representatives of the various mutual fire companies in the territory occupied by them, to insure against wind storm, for the reason that their charters did not permit them to insure against damage from wind, nor would it have been practical, owing to the smallness of their territorial limits. At the time of its organization, December 6, 1894, it embraced within its jurisdiction the following counties: Montgomery, Christian, Macoupin, Shelby, Bond, Fayette, Effingham, Coles, Moultrie, and Macon. The following directors and officers constituted the first board: Samuel Harper, president and director, Shelby County; A. T. Strange, secretary and director, Montgomery County; W. E. Killam, treasurer and director, Shelby County; Jacob Haller, Montgomery County; James Branyan, Christian County; James Ridge, Christian County; E. T. Rice, Macoupin County; John Herwig, Montgomery County; Simon Schwendeman, Bond County; W. M. Fogler, Fayette County; F. A. Pauchert, Shelby County, and George D. Taylor, Montgomery County. Of the officers it is pleasing to note the few changes.

Mr. Strange, who also is in charge of the Montgomery County Mutual Fire Company, has had the control of the company's office since its organization. Mr. Killam has handled the company's funds for the entire twenty-one years and there is no thought of change, nor has there been any charge of corruption made against him. Mr. Harper remained president till failing health compelled him to ask to be relieved, and Mr. Taylor succeeded him and is still presiding over the deliberations of the company. At the time of organization the company had enrolled as members 160 property owners, with property offered for insurance to the amount of $123,099. The number of members and the amount at risk has been increased from year to year at an average of about $500,000 per annum, and when business was closed December 31, 1915, there were enrolled 3,727 members and risks to the amount of $6,511,888. The territory has been added to from time to time by the addition of the following counties: Clark, Jersey, Greene, Edgar, Iroquois, Cumberland, Champaign, Vermillion, Piatt, Ford, and Douglas, so that now it includes twenty-one counties in its jurisdiction. During the first several years its losses were insignificant, but have gradually increased as its amount at risk has grown. During 1915 the company adjusted 214 losses, aggregating $5,873.63. For the twenty-two years of the company's activity 845 losses had been adjusted and paid up to the close of 1915, at an average cost of about one-tenth the usual charges for farm insurance against wind by the stock companies. This company's policy is broad in its terms, the officers have been liberal in their adjusting, and the standing of the company is regarded above question by the best informed business men, who are generally supporters and friends of the company.

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