On April 1, 2015 an era of the Insurance Industry ended when ACE Insurance finalized the purchase of Fireman’s Fund personal lines. So, after 152 years of operations a peak of the insurance landscape faded from view. In reflecting on this I find it challenging to differentiate my personal feelings (I worked for the Fund just under 16 years) and a deep sadness over the loss of the company.
First hand I experienced the Fund’s commitment to its customers, to the community, to the industry, and to its employees. The Fund demonstrated its commitment to customers when the San Francisco earthquake not only devastated the city but the ensuing fire destroyed the Fund’s corporate office and records. With an innovative solution Fireman’s Fund not only survived, but also paid all the claims. This commitment to doing what was right for the customer continued throughout the Fund’s history.
From inception the Fund’s committed a portion of its profits to a relief fund for widows and orphans of fallen firefighters. Thus the reason for “Fireman’s Fund” in the name. This commitment to contributing back to the community continued with the Heritage Program, which provided millions of dollars in grants to fire departments across the country. A portion of this program will continue under the Allianz name but the Fund’s active involvement in the community has ended.
For years the Fund also contributed to innovative insurance products, including (if my memory is correct) the first integrated homeowners policies. These policies included liability, fire, and theft, and became the industry standard. Along with this the Fund’s personnel provided leadership in the industry. This part of the Fund’s legacy is now diffused as Fund employees move to other operational structures in other companies.
Personally I benefitted from the Fund’s commitment to their employees. The Fund provided me enhanced employee experiences: serving on cross functional process improvement teams, travel opportunities, functioning as a subject matter expert, and numerous educational opportunities. One of these educations opportunities was paying for my coursework to obtain the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation. This is the highest insurance industry designation.
On just a personal perspective I found stability working for the same company for 16 years (well, one month short of that to be precise). During the time I worked for the Fund I experienced: two moves, three high school graduations, three college graduations, three graduate school graduations, the marriages of three children, the loss of my father-in-law, a brother-in-law and my mother, and the marriage of my father (at age 85!). For almost sixteen years the Fund provided a sense not only of stability but also of continuity.
I have moved on to work with another insurance company. I did not stay for the transition period which ended today and several people I worked closely with over the years are now retired or looking for work. I miss them and wish the best for them.
So with the cessation of the Fund a prominent feature of the insurance landscape is gone.
The insurance industry says “Good-bye”.
I say, Good-bye Fireman’s Fund.
I shall miss you.