Company History

Associated Mutual originally commenced business on April 10, 1913 after the New York State Insurance Department approved a charter for a cooperative assessment plan. The company was then known as The Cooperative Fire Insurance Companies of Sullivan and Adjoining Counties. The organizers of the company consisted of Jewish farmers who were faced with difficulties in obtaining insurance for their properties; in part due to exorbitant rates they were charged when they took in boarders on their farms to subsidize their income. They grouped together to solve their problems and by doing so they began a specialty company built upon a real need and a niche market. With an office staff of one and $361,800.00 of insurance in force, our company was started.

The insured properties continued to grow to the point where the one company could no longer handle the amount of insurance in force. Over a period of six years, four additional companies were organized.

  • American Cooperative Fire Insurance Company of Sullivan and Adjoining Counties - July 15, 1920
  • The Third Cooperative Fire Insurance Company of Sullivan and Adjoining Counties - June 15, 1922
  • Mountain Cooperative Fire Insurance Company of Sullivan and Adjoining Counties - May 8, 1923
  • Fifth Cooperative Fire Insurance Company of Sullivan and Adjoining Counties - March 25, 1926

In the 1930's, in order to assume more risk and to provide for the growing needs of our membership, the company assisted in the organization of a statewide reinsurance company to assume risks from cooperative assessment companies. The Surety Cooperative Fire Insurance Company came to fruition in 1936.

Over the years the farms and boarding houses slowly grew into our well known resort community. One publication dubbed Woodridge, the site of our home office, and the surrounding communities as "Utopia in the Catskills." The company continued to insure the farms, boarding houses, bungalow colonies, hotels and other resorts in our writing territory.

Cooperatives were limited to writing business in their home county and adjoining counties and were restricted in their ability to assume risk. The restrictions limited the product that the company could offer. In addition, certain financial institutions would not recognize the insurance policies issued by cooperatives, which were further restricted by their inability to appoint independent agents.

The Board of Directors recognized that in order to survive, the company would need to expand its writings and broaden its range of products. The first step in overcoming the obstacles impeding the growth of the cooperative was to combine the five companies and convert to a mutual. This was accomplished in 1971 and the five companies then became known as Associated Mutual Insurance Company.

The company then started to offer new products such as general liability and a special multi-peril program. Tavern and food trades programs were developed and today the food trades continue to be our niche market. The company has, through the years, expanded its product line to include business owners, commercial fire, homeowners, mobile homeowners, dwelling and landlord’s package policies.

In 1994 this company was instrumental in the passing of a bill to allow for the reconversion of a mutual insurance company to an advance premium corporation or assessment corporation. We found it to be an appropriate time to pursue the change in law and we were successful in our efforts. The bill was signed into law on August 2, 1994 and became part of Chapter 670 of the 1994 laws. It was incorporated into article 73, Conversion to Different Type of Insurer, of the New York State Insurance Law, Section 7306-a. Reconversion of Domestic Mutual Property/Casualty Insurance Company into Advance Premium Corporation or Assessment Corporation.

In April 1996 the decision was made to proceed with a dual conversion, first to an assessable advance premium cooperative, and then immediately to a non-assessable advance premium cooperative. The process was completed and approved by the State of New York Insurance Department and on January 1, 1997 the company once again became a cooperative known as Associated Mutual Insurance Cooperative.

The company has been working on expansion and diversification of its writings using our expertise in our current niche markets and researching, considering and developing new products. Our plans for expansion include controlled growth in our niche markets and greater geographic spread of risk.