The history of the Insurors Indemnity Companies can be traced back to the late 1890s when John Francis Marshall established an insurance agency in Waco. After working for other agencies, he established the Marshall Agencies around 1900. Shortly thereafter, John sold the company to his brother, E.W. Marshall who was an extensive investor in early local businesses. The small, family-owned company that began operation as the E.W. Marshall Company in 1911 has evolved to become the company we know today as the Insurors Indemnity Companies.
Around 1915, Davis Gurley Stribling approached Mr. Marshall seeking a sales position with the firm, but Mr. Marshall declined his overtures. Shortly thereafter, while Marshall vacationed in Europe, Stribling began working in his office without pay. Upon his return, Marshall reiterated that he had not hired Stribling and would not pay him for the time he had worked. Mr. Stribling replied that Mr. Marshall was indeed correct, but that he would soon prove his worth to the firm. In 1923, Mr. Stribling became a partner with Mr. Marshall and in 1930 became the sole owner.
The Marshall and Stribling families had distinguished histories in Central Texas. E.W. Marshall was an esteemed investor and banker and President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas in 1917. In addition to his brother John, his other brother Percy was for many years the Special Agent for the London, Liverpool and Globe Insurance companies, managing that English company’s business in Texas. All were well respected in the insurance industry of Texas in the late 1890s and early 1900s. The Stribling history in Central Texas dates back to before the Civil War, with the Striblings being a member of several prominent Waco families including the Harrisons, Earles and Gurleys.
The Marshall Company was located at 508 Franklin until shortly before World War II. In the early 1940s, the expansion of the business dictated that Davis Stribling move the firm to larger offices in the Liberty Building, where it operated for the next 16 years. During that time, the company insured many of the leading businesses of Texas including William Cameron & Company, Southwestern Drug Corporation of Dallas, and Crawford Austin Manufacturing Company. During that period the company changed its name to the Stribling Insurance Agency. Davis Stribling was the sole owner of the company until his son, Thomas Stribling, became a partner in 1947 upon graduation from the Harvard Business School.
Tragedy struck the city of Waco in 1953 when a deadly tornado killed 111 people and destroyed much of the downtown area. The Stribling Agency insured a large portion of the damaged buildings and offices. Few businesses could continue operating in the downtown area due to the extensive damage, and consequently the Striblings directed their employees to gather what files they could and reopen the company in Mr. Stribling’s home until temporary offices could be obtained. Many of the claims for the tornado were handled from this makeshift arrangement, long before the days of sophisticated disaster recovery plans and duplicated computer backups of information were available.
In 1954 Davis Stribling died and his son Thomas took over ownership of the agency. Growing the agency rapidly, the Stribling Agency merged with two other well-established firms, Rolla Greig and Company and E.C. Woodward and Company. Together they formed Stribling, Woodward and Greig, or SWG, Inc., as it came to be known, which was the largest agency in Central Texas. Stribling moved the offices to the First National Bank building to accommodate the greatly expanded company.
In 1972, Davis Stribling’s grandson, Tom Chase, joined the company and subsequently became the President in 1980. SWG, Inc., then acquired Jackson and Barrett, and changed the name of the combined firms to Insurors of Texas. The building size was doubled to accommodate the new employees, and the firm continued to prosper, establishing offices in Temple and Austin shortly thereafter. Berkman and Wood, another leading Waco company, became a part of Insurors in 1992. Insurors continued expanding by locating offices in Dallas, Bryan and San Antonio. These branches were started or purchased to expand Insurors’ growth along the Interstate 35 corridor.
Feeling that the major stock companies represented by the agency were not responding to the needs of the independent agency world, the Directors of Insurors of Texas authorized the formation of a property and casualty insurance company in 1983. Insurors Indemnity Company was formed with capital of $300,000 and began limited operations.
Due to its small size and lack of a Best rating growth in written premiums was limited until in 1992 Insurors Indemnity Companies entered the surety business. Capital was increased and in 1996 a treasury listing allowing it to write federal bonds was obtained.
In 1996, the Great Waco Chamber of Commerce honored Insurors Financial Corp. as one of the leading firms in Central Texas. In 1998, the Independent Insurance Agents of America selected Insurors as the “Best in the Nation” from among the top 180 agencies of its size participating in its Best Practices study. The award was based on overall performance of the company in client service, growth, stability and financial management.
The companies received the first A. M. Best rating in 2003 at B++ (Very Good). In 2001 the company expanded its writings to property and casualty in addition to surety. Jim Piper became President in 2002, building P&C and Surety underwriting teams led by Nancy Tussy and Somers Goodman.
In 2006 Insurors purchased and completely renovated a downtown landmark building which had been vacant since 1989. Built originally in 1911 and expanded in 1925, the Waco Drug Company building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has won several historical renovation honors. As much of the historical fabric as possible was retained in its restoration.
The companies continued their growth becoming licensed in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas with over 300 agents appointed. A.M. Best upgraded the companies’ rating to A- (Excellent) in 2008.
On January 1, 2014 in order for the underwriting companies to focus more diligently on its particular business model, the entire agency retail operations were split out of the holding company, and became owned by the producers working there. While Insurors of Texas Agency remains an important agent of the companies, there is no longer an ownership or management relationship between them.
Today, Insurors Indemnity Companies is made up of the following entities:
In July 2014 Jim Piper turned over the reins of the companies to Dave Talbert, formerly President of Hochheim Prairie Insurance Companies, and took on the role of business development manager for expansion into states west of Texas. Under Talbert‘s leadership the companies have implemented a new marketing effort to rebrand the companies, and are implementing a state of the art P&C policy administration system to complement its e-Surety surety bond automation.