Don't expect to see tractors in the parking lot at Farmers Group, dba Farmers Underwriters Association. The US subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services provides insurance management services to members of the Farmers Insurance Exchange, Truck Insurance Exchange, and Fire Insurance Exchange -- which combined form a top US property/casualty insurer. Its Farmers Management Services unit doesn't own the exchanges, but receives a fee acting as the companies' attorneys-in-fact. It chooses risks, distributes policy statements to customers, collects premiums, and provides other non-claims related services. Farmers is also the holding company of Farmers New World Life Insurance and specialty insurer Foremost Insurance.
Farmers Group accounts for about 32% of its parent's revenue.
Other holdings include Farmers Re, which provides reinsurance to the Farmers Exchanges and other activities, and Bristol West Holdings, a provider of nonstandard auto insurance in more than 20 states that the company purchased in 2007. Bristol West provides private passenger auto insurance to Florida residents. Its 21st Century Insurance offers personal auto insurance nationwide.
Additionally, Farmers Financial Solutions provides such products as mutual funds, life insurance, and annuities, and the firm's Farmers Action for Communities of Tomorrow (F.A.C.T.) program extends services to underserved areas of California that include urban districts.
Los Angeles-based Farmers Group is a top property/casualty insurer, serving customers across all 50 US states.
Sales and Marketing
The company serves more than 10 million households with 20-million-plus individual policies.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Historically, Farmers has stuck to insuring folks west of the Mississippi. However, 21st Century sells policies across the country, including such riskier areas as Florida. Farmers began moving east in 2011, starting with Pennsylvania. Other major East Coast markets are on its "to-do" list.
Farmers distributes its products through a network of some 15,000 tied and independent agents. At at time when the insurance industry is having trouble attracting new agents, Farmers places an emphasis on training its agents and employees in an effort to reduce turnover and grow its pool of agents. Zurich Financial has exported some of Farmers' agency practices back to Europe to boost productivity.
Farmers Group's revenue rose some 8% in 2013 to $1.5 billion. Its operating profit increased $114 million during the reporting period due to improvements among its Farmers Re business, which benefited from rate increases and the re-underwriting of its Farmers Exchanges business. The company also logged a $38 million decline in its Farmers Management Services unit as management fees and other related revenues dropped.
The Farmers Insurance Group of Companies was founded in 1928 with the formation of automobile insurer Farmers Insurance Exchange. A growth in the demand for insurance services led to the establishment of the Fire Insurance Exchange and the Truck Insurance Exchange.