In 1936, during the Great Depression, an event unique in the history of Life Insurance occurred in Rome, Georgia. By a special act of the Georgia State Legislature, 113 citizens of Rome were granted temporary licenses to act as insurance agents and sell insurance policies to resurrect a company which had been in custodianship under the state insurance commissioner since 1914.
Their goal was to sell $ 1,000,000 of insurance. In just three weeks, they sold, without compensation, $ 1,431,000 of new life insurance policies. That new business, along with the policies that had been managed by the insurance commissioner’s office formed the foundation of State Mutual Insurance Company.
This occurred as a result of the vision of six prominent citizens of Rome who wanted to provide a source of employment for the people of the town. A large bronze plaque hangs on the wall in the company’s lobby commemorating this historic event.
State Mutual headquarters has been located in several locations in Rome as it has grown and needed additional space for its employees. With each move, the plaque is lovingly removed and placed in a prominent location in the new home office.
State Mutual is a mutual insurer, owned by its policyholders and run for their benefit. It was originally chartered under the laws of Florida – there were no legal provisions in Georgia to accommodate a company without stockholders at the time – with headquarters in Rome, Georgia. In 1982 the company was re-chartered in Georgia.
In the late 1980s, State Mutual was a pioneer in the consolidation of the life insurance industry. Six other life insurance companies – mostly other mutual insurers – were absorbed over a period of about five years. What had been a small regional insurer found itself with policyholders and agents operating in all but a few states. During this time a local Savings and Loan was also purchased. It was rehabilitated and later sold.
During the 1990s State Mutual made a commitment to offer insurance products to the senior market. Life insurance and Medicare Supplement products were developed for older Americans, and by the early part of the new century, the Company had over 100,000 Medicare Supplement policyholders, many of whom also had Life Insurance policies with the Company. As a part of the focus on the senior market, State Mutual contracted with a national marketing company that provides products to seniors through thousands of agents nationwide.
State Mutual is reducing its expenses and improving efficiency and service by transferring most of the administration of its policies to its Florida-based operational center. This includes policy underwriting and issue, policyholder service, and claims payment.
Since State Mutual significantly reduced its home office staffing by transferring the labor-intensive administration workload to its Florida-based operational center, it no longer needs the 50,000 square foot office building it has owned and occupied for the past twenty years. Therefore, another move was just completed to a historic manufacturing building in downtown Rome, very near the location where it all began in 1936.
The commemorative plaque has been carefully removed and reinstalled at the new location.