Wawanesa Insurance

Last updated
Wawanesa Insurance
Private company
Industry Insurance
Founded Wawanesa, Manitoba, Canada  ()
Founder Alonzo Fowler Kempton
Area served
Canada, California, Oregon
Key people
Jeff Goy, President and CEO
Products Mutual
Services Property Insurance

Auto Insurance

Life Insurance
Subsidiaries Wawanesa Life
Wawanesa General (USA)
Website Wawanesa.com

The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. is a Canadian insurance firm. Currently, the company's executive offices are located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with regional offices across Canada and operations in the United States. With assets of over $9.5 billion and over two million policies inforce, Wawanesa is one of the 10 largest property and casualty insurers in Canada. [1]



The company was established as a farmers' mutual insurance carrier in 1896 in Wawanesa, Manitoba, and was subsequently incorporated by an Act of Parliament on May 1, 1929. It was founded by Alonzo Fowler Kempton, who started the company using money invested by local farmers. After two weeks, Charles Kerr, Alonzo's partner, completed the company's first policy, insuring a thresher for $600 at a premium of $24 for three years. [2]

A mutual insurance company is an insurance company owned entirely by its policyholders. Any profits earned by a mutual insurance company are either retained within the company or rebated to policyholders in the form of dividend distributions or reduced future premiums. In contrast, a stock insurance company is owned by investors who have purchased company stock; any profits generated by a stock insurance company are distributed to the investors without necessarily benefiting the policyholders.

Wawanesa, Manitoba Unincorporated urban community in Manitoba, Canada

Wawanesa is an unincorporated urban community in the Municipality of Oakland – Wawanesa within the Canadian province of Manitoba that held village status prior to January 1, 2015. It is the birthplace of The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co.

An act of parliament, also called primary legislation, are statutes passed by a parliament (legislature). Act of the Oireachtas is an equivalent term used in the Republic of Ireland where the legislature is commonly known by its Irish name, Oireachtas. It is also comparable to an Act of Congress in the United States.

The Wawanesa Insurance Executive Office building, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Wawanesa Insurance Executive Office building.jpg
The Wawanesa Insurance Executive Office building, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

A small room was rented above a local drugstore. The staff consisted of Alonzo Kempton, the secretary-manager, and Charles Kerr, the bookkeeper. Seven of the twenty original investors were named directors. Wawanesa issued its first policies without a premium payment because farmers didn't have cash until after harvest. [2]

Several years later, the company diversified its coverage to include building coverage. In 1901, Wawanesa moved to the Souris River valley, and the number of employees increased to five. By 1910, the company had become the largest fire insurance company in the country. [3] During the Great Depression, the company expanded, fuelled by large cash reserves and new offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Moncton - however, the company was forced to cut director's salaries by 20%, and on corporate visits, the company directors shared beds. [4]

Souris River United states and Canadian river

The Souris River or Mouse River is a river in central North America. It is about 700 km (435 mi) in length and drains about 23,600 square miles (61,100 km2). It rises in the Yellow Grass Marshes north of Weyburn, Saskatchewan. It wanders south through North Dakota beyond Minot to its most southern point at the city of Velva, and then back north into Manitoba. The river passes through the communities of Melita, Hartney, Souris and Wawanesa and on to its confluence with the Assiniboine River at Treesbank, about 25 miles (40 km) south east of Brandon. The main tributaries which flow into the Souris in Manitoba are the Antler River, the Gainsborough and Plum Creeks. Much of its drainage basin is fertile silt and clay deposited by former glacial Lake Souris.

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late-1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.

The United States branch was established under the laws of California on May 23, 1974. [5] Initial funds were realized from a contribution of the Canadian parent corporation. The first policy was written in the United States in April 1975. Head office for the U.S. unit is in San Diego, California, although they also write automobile policies in the State of Oregon.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Corporation Separate legal entity that has been incorporated through a legislative or registration process established through legislation

A corporation is an organization, usually a group of people or a company, authorized to act as a single entity and recognized as such in law. Early incorporated entities were established by charter. Most jurisdictions now allow the creation of new corporations through registration.

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Insurance equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another in exchange for payment

Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management, primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent or uncertain loss

Dividend payment made by a corporation to its shareholders, usually as a distribution of profits

A dividend is a payment made by a corporation to its shareholders, usually as a distribution of profits. When a corporation earns a profit or surplus, the corporation is able to re-invest the profit in the business and pay a proportion of the profit as a dividend to shareholders. Distribution to shareholders may be in cash or, if the corporation has a dividend reinvestment plan, the amount can be paid by the issue of further shares or share repurchase. When dividends are paid, shareholders typically must pay income taxes, and the corporation does not receive a corporate income tax deduction for the dividend payments.

Life insurance is a contract between an insurance policy holder and an insurer or assurer, where the insurer promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money in exchange for a premium, upon the death of an insured person. Depending on the contract, other events such as terminal illness or critical illness can also trigger payment. The policy holder typically pays a premium, either regularly or as one lump sum. Other expenses, such as funeral expenses, can also be included in the benefits.

Variable universal life insurance is a type of life insurance that builds a cash value. In a VUL, the cash value can be invested in a wide variety of separate accounts, similar to mutual funds, and the choice of which of the available separate accounts to use is entirely up to the contract owner. The 'variable' component in the name refers to this ability to invest in separate accounts whose values vary—they vary because they are invested in stock and/or bond markets. The 'universal' component in the name refers to the flexibility the owner has in making premium payments. The premiums can vary from nothing in a given month up to maximums defined by the Internal Revenue Code for life insurance. This flexibility is in contrast to whole life insurance that has fixed premium payments that typically cannot be missed without lapsing the policy.

Term life insurance or term assurance is life insurance that provides coverage at a fixed rate of payments for a limited period of time, the relevant term. After that period expires, coverage at the previous rate of premiums is no longer guaranteed and the client must either forgo coverage or potentially obtain further coverage with different payments or conditions. If the life insured dies during the term, the death benefit will be paid to the beneficiary. Term insurance is typically the least expensive way to purchase a substantial death benefit on a coverage amount per premium dollar basis over a specific period of time.

Crop insurance is purchased by agricultural producers, and subsidized by the federal government, to protect against either the loss of their crops due to natural disasters, such as hail, drought, and floods, or the loss of revenue due to declines in the prices of agricultural commodities. The two general categories of crop insurance are called crop-yield insurance and crop-revenue insurance. On average, the federal government subsidizes 62 percent of the premium. In 2014, crop insurance policies covered 294 million acres. Major crops are insurable in most counties where they are grown, and approximately 83% of U.S. crop acreage is insured under the federal crop insurance program. Four crops—corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat— typically account for more than 70% of total enrolled acres. For these major crops, a large share of plantings is covered by crop insurance. In 2014, the portion of total corn acreage covered by federal crop insurance was 87%; cotton, 96%; soybeans, 88%; and wheat, 84%.

Universal life insurance is a type of cash value life insurance, sold primarily in the United States. Under the terms of the policy, the excess of premium payments above the current cost of insurance is credited to the cash value of the policy, which is credited each month with interest. The policy is debited each month by a cost of insurance (COI) charge as well as any other policy charges and fees drawn from the cash value, even if no premium payment is made that month. Interest credited to the account is determined by the insurer but has a contractual minimum rate. When an earnings rate is pegged to a financial index such as a stock, bond or other interest rate index, the policy is an "Indexed Universal Life" contract. Such policies offer the advantage of guaranteed level premiums throughout the insured's lifetime at a substantially lower premium cost than an equivalent whole life policy at first. The cost of insurance always increases, as is found on the cost index table. That not only allows for easy comparison of costs between carriers but also works well in irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs) since cash is of no consequence.

Whole life insurance, or whole of life assurance, sometimes called "straight life" or "ordinary life," is a life insurance policy which is guaranteed to remain in force for the insured's entire lifetime, provided required premiums are paid, or to the maturity date. As a life insurance policy it represents a contract between the insured and insurer that as long as the contract terms are met, the insurer will pay the death benefit of the policy to the policy's beneficiaries when the insured dies. Because whole life policies are guaranteed to remain in force as long as the required premiums are paid, the premiums are typically much higher than those of term life insurance where the premium is fixed only for a limited term. Whole life premiums are fixed, based on the age of issue, and usually do not increase with age. The insured party normally pays premiums until death, except for limited pay policies which may be paid up in 10 years, 20 years, or at age 65. Whole life insurance belongs to the cash value category of life insurance, which also includes universal life, variable life, and endowment policies.

The Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), founded in 1851, is an American mutual life insurance company serving five million clients. With headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts, the company employs more than 7,000 in the United States, and a total of 10,614 internationally.

Great-West Lifeco

Great-West Lifeco is an insurance centered financial holding company (corporation) that operates in North America, Europe and Asia through 5 wholly owned, regionally focused subsidiaries. Many of the companies it has indirect control over are part of its largest subsidiary The Great-West Life Assurance Company; the others are managed by US based subsidiary Great-West Lifeco US Inc. Great-West Lifeco is indirectly controlled by Montreal billionaire Paul Desmarais through his stake in the Power Corporation of Canada which owns 72% of Great-West Lifeco. In the first half of 2011 premium income made up 63.99% of total revenue up from 56.07%. The hyphen in the company's name was originally a typesetter's error.

NFU Mutual

The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited, trading as NFU Mutual, is a UK registered mutual insurance composite. It underwrites more than £1 billion (2008) in annual premium in life and general insurance lines for rural communities within the UK. NFU Mutual is based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. In contrast to insurance companies owned by their shareholders, NFU Mutual is owned by its policyholders.

A Unit Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP) is a product offered by insurance companies that, unlike a pure insurance policy, gives investors both insurance and investment under a single integrated plan.

Federated Insurance Company of Canada is a direct writer of property and casualty insurance products headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Company has approximately 370 employees in nine offices across Canada, with approximately 150 in Winnipeg. Federated Insurance has an A. M. Best rating of "A (Excellent)."

Insurance in the United States refers to the market for risk in the United States, the world's largest insurance market by premium volume. Of the $4.640 trillion of gross premiums written worldwide in 2013, $1.274 trillion (27%) were written in the United States.

Frank Oliver Fowler was a Canadian politician serving as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, then in Winnipeg city politics as an alderman and subsequently as the 29th Mayor.

Juvenile life insurance is permanent life insurance that insures the life of a child. It is a financial planning tool that provides a tax advantaged savings vehicle with potential for a lifetime of benefits. Juvenile life insurance, or child life insurance, is usually purchased to protect a family against the sudden and unexpected costs of a funeral and burial with much lower face values. Should the juvenile survive to their college years it can then take on the form of a financial planning tool.

Jeffry Hall Brock (1850–1915) was a Canadian businessman who was also politically active at the time of Sir John A. Macdonald. He had a significant influence on the Canadian insurance industry, politics. During his tenure as managing director of Great-West Life the company's share of sales in Canada's insurance market rose from 0.5% to 13.8%.


  1. https://www.wawanesa.com/resources/docs/Wawanesa_2017AR_FIN_Web.pdf
  2. 1 2 The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, Wawanesa Insurance. "Company History - The Founders". Old Pathways New Horizons: A History of The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance company.
  3. The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, Wawanesa Insurance. "Company History - First Footsteps". Old Pathways New Horizons: A History of The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance company.
  4. The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, Wawanesa Insurance. "Company History - Charles Morley Vanstone". Old Pathways New Horizons: A History of The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance company.
  5. The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, Wawanesa Insurance. "Company History - A Venture South". Old Pathways New Horizons: A History of The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance company.