top of page
Horizontal. Colored Icon. White Font with edge space.png

Our History

In December 1794, the "Mutual Assurance Society Against Fire on Buildings of the State of Virginia" was incorporated by a Special Act of the Virginia General Assembly and was the first statewide insurance company created in America. Because of the planned scope of operation, the Virginia General Assembly required a subscription of at least $3 million in insurance, which needed to be committed before starting operations. As a result, the Society did not commence business until December 1795 and did not issue the first policy until February 1796. 

In that first year, the Society's president and directors voted to donate their first year's salaries toward the purchase of a fire engine for the City of Richmond. This was the first of many direct and indirect contributions made to the safety and welfare of Virginians.

Antique etching of Norfolk fire, couple holding baby on horseback with fire in background
Library of Virginia black and white drawing of front of Monticello

Many of Virginia's Founding Fathers insured their homes with Mutual Assurance beginning in the early 1800s. Mt. Vernon, Monticello, Ashlawn, Marshall House, Stratford Hall, and Scotchtown are just a few of the historic houses across the Commonwealth that the Society has protected.

Like many other 18th-century companies, the Society’s long name became shortened over time. The Society was commonly known as Mutual Assurance Society and the Old Mutual until its name was officially changed in 1982 to Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia. Today we are known simply as Mutual Assurance. 

The Mutual Assurance Fire Mark

Fire marks, or house badges, were originally used in England to identify the buildings insured by a particular insurance company so that their firefighting brigades would know which dwellings to protect. 

Mutual Assurance did not distribute fire marks because Virginia fire brigades were pledged to the public good and responded to any fire, regardless of insurance status.

On our 200th anniversary in 1994, Mutual Assurance created a bicentennial fire mark to symbolize and reaffirm the mutual commitment of the Society and our members. Many policyholders proudly display the fire mark on their homes today.

Photo of Mutual Assurance Firemark
Man holding electronic tablet at table while man and woman clients look and point at it.

How Mutual Assurance Operates Today

The characteristics of a mutual insurance company are as valid today as when the company was founded. Mutual Assurance is owned and operated by our policyholders and run for their exclusive benefit. There are no stockholders. Each policyholder has a voice in the company’s affairs and collectively elects the board of directors, who, in turn, elect the officers who serve as the active managers of the business.

More Resources

To learn more about the Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia and its rich history, open our 32-page bicentennial history “Founded Upon Benevolence.”

Or call us at 800-648-1794

bottom of page