According to an advertisement, a meeting was called for December 20th, 1878 at the Township of West Wawanosh Council Hall, as to whether it was expedient to organize a Fire Insurance company upon the Mutual Principle. It was moved by John Baillie and seconded by Edwin Gaunt that the meeting be in favour of organizing. Of those in attendance, 70 voted yeas and 12 voted nays. It was moved b Edwin Gaunt and seconded by James Rose that James Johnston, John Baillie, Charles Durnin, Edward Smith McLean, Robert Murray and Archibald Anderson be a committee, with powers to add to their numbers, to take subscriptions from owners of property as to the amounts they will insure as required by the Revised Statutes.
The committee met on February 11th, 1978 again at the Council Hall and reported they had received subscriptions to the amount of $51,700. An organizational meeting was called for April 5th, 1879 where Charles Girvin was named Chairman and Robert Murray was named Secretary. It was agreed the company be call the West Wawanosh Mutual Fire Insurance Company, the head office to be in Dungannon and seven Directors be elected for the current year.
The Directors elected by ballot were: Charles Girvin, Charles Durnin, Thomas E. Finlay, Wm Farquharson, John Cantelon, Edwin Gaunt and Thomas H. Taylor. At a meeting on April 12th, 1879, Charles Girvin was appointed President, Thomas E. Finlay, Vice President and Robert Murray Secretary-Treasurer.
The Company directors were the agents and the company commenced business May 1st, 1879. At a subsequent meeting of May 13th, 1879 applications for insurance in the amount of $93,550 with an annual premium of $56.11 were accepted. All property insured was on the premium note system and the premium note was calculated as follows: where buildings are isolated 80 feet ore more from any other buildings in which fire is used the premium note is four percent; where isolated from sixty to eighty fee the premium note shall be five percent; on property isolated forty to sixty fee the premium note shall be six percent.
The Director-Agent collected from each applicant the sum of 50 cents for his fee and 40 cents for the Secretary keeping the books and a sum equal to one and one half percent on the amount of the premium note for the general funds of the company.
Risks accepted were farm property, churches and school houses situated out of the limits of a village survey. The board meetings were held in the Township Council hall on the first Tuesday of the month. The meetings were held in the new Dungannon hall in 1882.
The introduction of steam engines for threshing caused great concern for the Directors and an additional fee was charged where steam engines were used. At the Annual Meeting of May 22nd, 1886, the Board of Directors was increased to nine members with three members retiring each year. Mr. Charles Girvin, President of the company for the first nineteen years died on March 1st, 1898 and Mr. John Ballantyne was then appointed President.
By the year 1900, the amount of insurance at risk had increased to about four million dollars. It would appear an assessment on the premium note had been made for the first 27 years of operation or until 1906 when the last assessment was made. At the Annual Meeting of February 2nd, 1916 districts were allocated for the election of Directors namely by Township districts a practice carried out for many years by the company. Following the resignation of Thomas G. Allen as Secretary, the company purchased the building from Mr. Allen for $2,500. Reinsurance was being shared with neighbouring Mutuals: Howick, McKillop, Hay, Dufferin, Elma and Usborne and Hibbert.
This was until 1969 when the old reinsurance agreements ceased and the company joined with the Farm Mutual Reinsurance Plan for reinsurance. Until 1972 the Directors had been the agents for the company, but due to the revision of the Insurance Act, directors could not longer act as Agents and all Agents were required to obtain a General Insurance Agents License. Five of the existing directors obtained this license: Donald McKay, John F. MacLennan, Fred McQuillin, Mason Robinson and Delmar Sproul.
On January 1st, 1973, they resigned their directorship and were appointed agents of the Company. At the Annual Meeting in 1973 the by-laws were amended whereby the Board of Directors was reduced from 9 to 6 members. The Farm Mutual Guarantee Fund was established January 1st, 1973 and the Premium Note was then dispensed with.
Service, Security and Stability had been the “watch words” of the Company. Still serving the area it was intended to on founding; never hoping to be the biggest, always hoping to the best. The confidence placed in the Directors and Management by the Policyholders, many of whom are generation after generation, gives the continued vigor to carry on to greater service, security and stability for many more years to come!