The Home Insurance Company is another in a long list of failed insurance companies that have gone into liquidation. This New York-based company was a subsidiary of TVH Acquisition Corporation, an entity formed by several international investors to acquire Home Insurance from AmBase Corporation. Prior to the company’s seizure by a federal bankruptcy court in 2003, it had been operating as America’s 23rd largest insurance entity in business for 150 years.
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The Home Insurance Company got its start in 1853 with the mission of providing adequate property coverage for both individuals and business owners. Being that the insurance industry in the United States was still in its infancy, it was difficult to purchase property coverage to adequately protect oneself from total loss. A group of New York investors formed the Home Insurance Company as one of the first such entities to offer full coverage on property.
Home Insurance Company Innovations
The company was widely regarded within the industry as being one of the most innovative. They are probably most well known for their development and promotion of the independent agent system. In the mid-1800s, agents were not widely used because local governments were reluctant to allow insurance companies to grow beyond their own counties. Yet, Home Insurance Company bucked that trend and quickly established relationships with multiple agencies, 18 in New York after just one month, and nearly 130 nationwide by the end of their first year.
The Home Insurance Company is also credited with introducing the idea of safety and engineering as part of risk management. They employed surveyors who were given the task of surveying any properties the company covered and keeping an eye on them during the policy period as a means of foreseeing any potential risks. On the advice of the surveyor, property owners were encouraged to make repairs or take other necessary action to prevent future loss.
Home Insurance Company Products
In addition to general property liability, the company was involved in several of other types of coverage. Fire and automobile insurance were atop that list, but nearly put the company out of business on several occasions. For example, a series of devastating fires that included the great Chicago Fire of 1871 nearly bankrupted Home Insurance Company. Even as nearly 100 insurance companies went out of business due to combined losses in Chicago, and Boston a year later, investors infused Home Insurance with more money to keep it going.
Home Insurance Company Failure
A variety of ups and downs continue to plague the company including the Great Depression, two world wars, and an extremely high number of automobile claims during the days before driving on public roadways was regulated. The company experienced both booms and busts but always managed to land on its feet and remain in business. Home Insurance came close to bankruptcy several times, including 1974 when a severe recession saddled the company with heavy losses.
Finally, in 2003, after weathering fires, earthquakes, and even hurricane Hugo, the Home Insurance Company could no longer prevail. Their financial situation had become so dire that the state of New Hampshire forced the company into liquidation pursuant to federal bankruptcy law. Eight years later the liquidation process continues as the court attempts to satisfy as many debtors as possible with as much financial compensation as they can.
In addition to the Home Insurance Company failure, the court also seized sister company U.S. International Reinsurance Corp. and ordered it to be liquidated in a joint action with Home Insurance Company. The court now exercises jurisdiction over both entities and has combined the liquidation into a single process.
Home Insurance Company Claims
Although the deadline for filing proof of claims against Home Insurance Company expired in 2004, others may still file claims under certain circumstances as allowed by New Hampshire law. All claims must be filed with the Superior Court of Merrimack County in New Hampshire. Complete instructions and claim forms can be found by visiting the liquidation website at www.homeinsco.com.
In 1995, Home Insurance Company entered run off; a situation where new policies are no longer offered but previous policies are still on her. In all likelihood, all of those previous policies have long since expired. It’s not clear how much longer the liquidation process will continue, but since home Insurance Company was involved with international operations through its reinsurance organization, it could potentially be several more years.
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