Company Overview: Erie Insurance Group, or “The Erie” as they refer to themselves, was established in 1925 by H. O. Hirt and O. G. Crawford, who based their corporate philosophy on “simple common sense, mixed with just plain decency.” Moving forward, the pair spent several months building support for their new business, then called the Erie Insurance Exchange, using that catchphrase and a business plan scribbled on a dime-store tablet. It took two months, but they finally opened on April 20 of that year.
Three years later, the company was already expanding, beginning with a second office that was opened in Pittsburgh, PA.
It took another twenty-five years for ERIE to move beyond their home state, but in 1953 they opened a branch in Silver Spring, MD, and by the year 2000, they were operating in 11 states, including Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia. Continued expansion plans involve a branch in Minnesota, to be opened in 2009.
While ERIE was expanding its operations base, it also increased its product line. Originally, it carried only auto insurance, with the “Super Standard Auto Policy,” a policy which included many features that have since become standard throughout the industry, launched in 1934. Fire insurance was added to the portfolio in 1940, and inland marine insurance became available in 1954, but it wasn’t until they added homeowners insurance in 1961 (in the form of the Pioneer HomeProtector program) that they became a true multi-line insurance company.
With the addition of business insurance in 1963, and life insurance in 1967, the ERIE rounded out its product line, which remains essentially the same today.