USF&G Insurance Company

USF&G Insurance Company
100 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21202-1036
(410) 779-1219

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, United States Fidelity and Guaranty (USF&G) Insurance Company is part of the USF&G Corporation, a huge U.S. property and casualty insurer that distributes its insurance solely through independent brokers and agents. It currently has 12,600 employees, with assets amounting to $13.60 billion.

The USF&G Corporation was established as a holding company in 1981, but its origin rests in the foundation of its leading subsidiary which is USF&G Insurance Company. USF&G Insurance Company was incorporated in 1896 by John Randolph Bland. The company is a leader in the casualty-surety field, and includes automobile, workers’ compensation, other liability, homeowners, commercial multi-peril insurance, and surety bonds in its products line. USF&G expanded in 1959 to include life insurance. In 1985 it formed a financial-services subsidiary.

USF&G’s first Board of Directors consisted of businessmen and politicians, such as former seven-time Baltimore Mayor Ferdinand Latrobe, and former Maryland Governor Frank Brown, who became the company’s first President. Bland, who was originally the first Vice President and General Manager, became Brown’s successor. He led the company for 26 years, guiding its expansion under a growth-with-profit philosophy. Bland based his philosophy on the theory that as risks are spread they grow smaller and more predictable.

USF&G’s original charter was limited to issuing surety bonds and insuring the fidelity of attorneys and other persons of trust. By 1899 the company was operating in every state and territory in the country. In the early 1900s, USF&G amended its charter to include burglary insurance and became known as one of Baltimore’s Big Four bonding and insurance companies. In 1901, the company established operations in Europe while in 1903, it expanded to Canada. USF&G entered the casualty business in 1910. Aside from automobile and workers’ compensation, the company’s initial casualty lines included coverage of plate-glass windows, steam boilers, and flywheels. Health insurance lines and a forgery bond were also introduced in 1910. Aviation-risk coverage was added to USF&G lines in 1928.

USF&G celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1946. USF&G became the largest insurance and surety company in Maryland and the fourth largest in the country during that period.

In 1947, USF&G’s charter was amended to include fire and allied lines. Underwriting profits grew throughout the late 1970s, and in 1978 USF&G had the highest underwriting profit of any stock insurance company in the country.

In October 1981, the USF&G Corporation was formed as a holding company to organize the group’s 13 subsidiaries. USF&G became one of the first insurance companies to offer tax-exempt bonds. The $170 million offering included 50 different sets of bonds, mostly with maturities after the year 2000. During the 1980s life insurance sales grew from $9 million to $898 million and came to represent nearly 10% of company revenues and better than 25% of all assets.

At present, USF&G maintains John Randolph Bland’s growth with profit philosophy. The company targets to continue its growth from life insurance and financial-service subsidiaries, in order to counterbalance large property and casualty losses in the future. With more than 5,300 independent agents and brokers marketing property and casualty insurance, the flagship USF&G Insurance Company started by Bland almost a century ago is likely to remain steadily established as the corporation’s leading business.

USF&G Insurance Company is rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best.