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History of Pekin Insurance

It all began over 90 years ago, when a new Chevrolet cost $850, 40 mph was highway cruising speed, traffic jams and tailgating were unknown, and liquor was illegal. Not a bad year to start an automobile insurance company.

When did Pekin Insurance first start doing business?

On April 1, 1921, a small group of farmers, who were all members of the Tazewell County Farm Bureau, formed an organization for the purpose of bringing automobile insurance service within their financial reach. The auto insurance business at that time had just emerged from the now famous horse and buggy days, and because of lack of experience and a difference in motive, the price of auto insurance was prohibitive.

“I think we can do it,” said a Delavan man to a man in Boynton. “We sure can if we think we can,” said the man in Minier to the man from Morton. “Well, let’s go ahead,” said the man from Washington, Illinois, and they did. A conversation of this kind started several men to seek 250 applications as a required start for the new organization to be known as The Farmers Automobile Insurance Association.

How has Pekin Insurance grown since 1921?

It has been a fascinating and challenging journey since the founding of Pekin Insurance in 1921, and today’s company operations bear little resemblance to those at its birth. We are literally a company that started from scratch, and we did not get to where we are today by peering in rearview mirrors. Remaining ever centered on the future and always looking forward, our purpose to offer the best possible service to our policyholders, whatever their needs, has never wavered. We are proud of our past, have trust in our future, and will continue to go Beyond the expected® for our employees and policyholders each and every day.

Where was the first Pekin Insurance office located?

Our first office was located in the Tazewell County Courthouse, the space donated by the County Board of Supervisors. The office force consisted of one part-time secretary. There were 187 policies in force, and the six-month premium was $5 for glass, fire, lightning, windstorm, full-coverage collision, property damage, and bodily injury. All cars regardless of age, type, or value, were charged the same premium. We soon outgrew our courthouse quarters and moved to the Arcade Building on South Capitol Street and later to the Farm Bureau office. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, we built two buildings on the corner of St. Mary and South Capitol Streets.

When did Pekin Insurance move into its current headquarters?

Groundbreaking was held for a new Home Office on Court Street, our present location, and the building was first occupied in 1966.  Two other buildings have since been constructed on the 30-acre property: the L. Keith Holloway Lodge in 1996 and the Service Building in 1998.  In 2013, the Parkway Office was acquired off-site, was remodeled, and today houses our property/casualty claim operation. We currently also have 8 service offices located in our six-state marketing area to provide maximum and efficient claim service that goes Beyond the expected® for insureds and agents in those respective areas.

What makes Pekin Insurance stand apart from other insurance companies?

For more than 90 years, Pekin Insurance has sold more than insurance. We sell protection and help build futures. We provide financial protection and peace of mind for our policyholders, shareholders, and employees. Auto insurance was, of course, our first line of coverage. To further enhance the protection, in 1932, “24-hour claim service” was established. The telephone number “1334” was left open day, night, and on holidays for instantaneous claim service. Our initial 187 policies grew to 20,000 by 1939 and grew even further to 30,000 in 1945. The year 1952 saw Fire Insurance added as a new line of coverage, and in 1960, Inland Marine coverage was added.

In what states does Pekin Insurance provide insurance protection?

While Pekin Insurance originally protected insureds in Tazewell County only, we have now grown to offer our full line of competitive insurance protection to insureds in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  Pekin Life Insurance Company also offers a limited range of products in Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Virginia with expansion to additional states coming soon.  View our complete listing of products available by state.

What insurance products does Pekin Insurance provide today?

In addition to auto insurance, Pekin Insurance began offering life insurance and established the Pekin Life Insurance Company in 1965. That same year, we added the sale of Bonds. We began selling Credit Life coverage in 1969, Group Health insurance in 1970, and Pre-Need Insurance in 1993. In 2011, we created a third party administration unit called Group Plan Solutions to extend our professional support to businesses that prefer to self-fund their benefits. Today, we offer a complete line of Life, Health, Auto, Home, and Business coverages with an impressive list of competitive coverage enhancements.

What can I expect from Pekin Insurance?

The Pekin Insurance logo has undergone numerous changes throughout the last 90 years. In 2010, the company underwent a significant rebranding. Beyond the expected® became our new slogan which demonstrates our ability to deliver on our promises. Our new, modern-looking logo and our new slogan both mirror the “above and beyond” service we and our independent agency force provide.

How many independent agents does Pekin Insurance have?

Our independent agents have been building relationships with our policyholders since 1921. Those early agents would be amazed to learn that our small organization has grown into an operation that protects over 900,000 policyholders today. Through the years, our belief in the Independent Agency system has provided an exemplary record of service to our policyholders and to their respective communities. We have great pride in our agency force, which totals over 8,500 independent agents today, and we truly believe that this special “partnership” is the reason for our success.

Call Toll-Free 1-800-322-0160