The Safeco Centennial: Celebrating the 100 Year Story


Here at Ashland Insurance, we partner and work alongside more than 200 of the nation’s top insurance carriersEach one has their own specialties, their own offerings, and every single one of them has their own stories. 

Some of those stories reach a pinnacle worth celebrating. 

Of the over 200 insurance carriers we are paired with, Safeco is one that we are honored to partner with for the philosophy and service they provide their customers. 

As of May 1st, 2023 Safeco celebrated their centennial anniversary, commemorating 100 years of service to their communities. In honor of such a milestone, we wanted to share a little of who they are as they serve so many, those in our own communities included. 

Who is Safeco?

Safeco is an insurance company committed to making it easy to protect what matters most to you. 

Founded in 1923 as the General Insurance Company of America by H.K. Dent, the company was seen to take what was considered a controversial approach to distribution: committing fully to partnering with independent agents.

What is an independent agent?

These are the agents that sell multiple policies from multiple companies and carriers.

There are some unique features to working with independent agents. 

They present different quotes from different companies, making it easy to find what works for you specifically. 

They provide options from different types of companies– the big ones with the familiar names, through to smaller more local providers.

And they will stay with you through it all, even if you switch agencies at some point. 

It’s from this jumping point that the Safeco brand was born in 1953. That’s after 30 year of the inception of the General Insurance Company of America- the company to later grow into the Safeco we know and love today. 

That’s after 30 years of setting a foundation from which the company we celebrate today could really grow. 

From starting as a property and casualty insurer, to expanding into writing liability policies for the booming auto industry. 

From reaching beyond the fire insurance sphere and into multiple arenas, their annual premium volume swelling from just $500,000 a year, to $6.5million by 1928. 

Growing from just 14 employees to 250 by 1936.

To even revolutionizing policy structuring with the creation of a “blanket policy” and being the first company to provide the sort of policy that combines multiple coverages into one. 

This is a company that doesn’t just boast evolution, but has shown it in their own growth. 

“Dent’s vision of innovative products and streamlined processes, together with his philosophy of being the “most agency-minded company in the country” have remained through decades of progress and many evolutions of the company.”

After the name change, Safeco continued the innovative tradition with more achievements to note:

    • 1966: grew into a diversified financial services institution 
    • 1969: Safeco Credit Company formed to provide short and medium term business financing 
    • 1990: So many big moves, even implementing a “casual day” once a week to give agents a taste of the same comfort and freedom they provide their customers
    • 2006: Safeco Insurance Foundation established as a philanthropic organization with a $90 million endowment 

With all that movement forward, not just down the path that already exists, but at times, laying their own path, there were still the principles that were most important to them.

Innovation | Evolution | Partnership 

It’s clear to see that their true commitment to the independent agency system is found woven throughout their history. 

Congratulations Safeco! This is a celebration you have earned over 100 years of service to your communities.