Our History

Our History

More Than 200 Years of Incredible Achievements

Since 1810, we've been helping people pursue ambitions, seize opportunities and prevail through the challenges along the way to achieve what they set out to do.
Our History
1819 advertisement

Our Early Years

Our story began in 1810 – as a fire insurance company. Our first company president, Nathaniel Terry built our company on the commitment of helping others. Fifteen years later, we wrote the first insurance policy for an institution of higher education – Yale University.
1835 New York Financial District fire
In 1835, disaster struck the New York City Financial District. After a large fire destroyed most of the buildings, our president and directors pledged their personal fortunes to pay for claims. Unlike other insurance companies at the time, we stood by our customers, helping them prevail through the unexpected tragedy.
Abraham Lincoln policy
As time marched on, we continued to do the same. In 1861, that included providing protection for president-elect Abraham Lincoln’s home in Illinois. This policy ensured that his Illinois property was safe as he arranged his move to Washington, D.C. – where he’d serve his first term in office.
1906 San Francisco earthquake & fire
In 1871, disaster struck – again. After fire ripped through more than three square miles of Chicago streets, businesses, and homes – we stood by the city. And in 1906, our commitment to our customers was tested again when almost 500 city blocks in San Francisco (pictured) were destroyed by an earthquake with fires burning for days. We paid over $11 million in damage claims – helping our customers prevail.
Early 20th Century Car

Expanding to Meet Our Customers’ Needs

The 20th Century sparked technological evolution – for automobiles especially. And we didn’t hesitate to find better ways to protect Americans. In 1913, we formed our Accident and Indemnity Company, providing improved protection for automobiles and property from risks like fire, accidents, liability and more.
Babe Ruth's policy

Our Second Century

Our commitment to helping others achieve amazing things only grew stronger during our second century. In 1920, we protected baseball legend Babe Ruth with a policy (pictured) as he continued down his path to success. Years later, we also protected President Dwight Eisenhower’s 190-acre farm where he hosted many world leaders.
Hoover Dam
In 1931, we helped insure the Hoover Dam (pictured). In 1937, it was the Golden Gate Bridge. And in 1959, we insured the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Junior Fire Marshal Program
One of the best ways to protect and enable human achievement is through education. It’s one of the reasons we established our Junior Fire Marshal® program in 1947. Since then, the program has been teaching fire prevention and safety to millions of children – providing them knowledge that will last a lifetime and helping to protect them and those important to them.
small business

Standing by Our Customers in Changing Times

The '80s brought new demands for businesses, families, and individuals. In effort to help smaller businesses succeed, we became the first insurance provider to offer a dedicated small business service center in 1983.
AARP Auto Insurance
And in 1984, we expanded our coverage options even further by becoming the exclusive provider of Home and Auto insurance for AARP members. During this same year, we also established The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence. This center applies expertise on aging to help develop innovative products for our customers. Staffed by gerontologists, the center conducts original research in partnership with academic institutions and produces public education programs that empower mature adults.
9/11 World Trade Center
Caring for others in times of tragedy has been our hallmark throughout our history. In 2001, we paid over $850 million in claims as our nation was forever changed after the 9/11 terror attacks.
U.S. Paralympics
We’ve also been a proud sponsor of athletes with disabilities since 1994, becoming a Founding Partner and Official Disability Insurance Sponsor of U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, in 2003. Since then, we’ve expanded our commitment to helping athletes achieve all of life’s possibilities through our Ability Equipped program. Through this program, we’re providing access to adaptive sports and equipment for youth and adults with disabilities across the country.
2010 logo

Prevailing Another 200 Years

In 2010, we celebrated our 200th anniversary. From the beginning, our customers have trusted us to support them through tragedies and triumphs. And we continue to this day on a path of excellence. We’ve been fortunate to receive a variety of recognitions, including being named a World’s Most Ethical Company® 11 times over the years by the Ethisphere Institute.1 But it’s helping our customers prevail through unexpected challenges that we’re most proud of. And we’re looking forward to doing the same for the next 200 years and beyond.