GERMANIA FARM MUTUAL INSURANCE ASSOCIATION
GERMANIA FARM MUTUAL INSURANCE ASSOCIATION. The Germania Farm Mutual Insurance Association, with headquarters in Brenham, specializes in property insurance against direct loss or damage due to fire, lightning, theft, and other causes. The firm began in 1894, when mercantile-store owner L. A. Niebuhr of Bartlett, responding to his customers' financial hardship, envisioned a plan to form a mutual-aid association to protect farmers' properties against losses. Niebuhr approached lawyer E. W. Hander of Waco, who eventually agreed to draw up a constitution for the proposed association, of which Otto Rau, of Perry, was made head. The company was organized at a schoolhouse in Perry in 1896 by a group of thirty-four charter members to provide rural Texans with low-cost property insurance, which was virtually impossible to purchase at the time. The firm was incorporated as the Germania Mutual Aid Association in 1897, with Rau as president, Hander as vice president, and Niebuhr as secretary. By 1897 the membership had risen to 116 members and six local chapters and had in force property insurance totaling more than $50,000. Officers of the company traveled by horse and buggy across Texas to enlist new members. The firm established its home office in Brenham in 1925.
Since 1897 Germania has underwritten fire and other coverage on churches, homes, and personal property throughout Texas, in time covering everything from hailstorms to gas explosions. In 1940 the firm joined the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. In 1960 the word Farm was added to the company's title, and in 1982 the word Aid was changed to Insurance. By 1992 the company had 138,476 members in 355 local chapters in nineteen districts across the state, with total insurance in force of more than $10 billion. The company and its affiliates, Germania Insurance Company (formed in 1978), Germania Life Insurance Company (organized in 1983), and Germania Fire and Casualty Company (incorporated in 1984), were administered by Edwin S. Schmid, president and chairman of the board, who had served the firm since the mid-1940s.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Anthony E. Fritsche, "GERMANIA FARM MUTUAL INSURANCE ASSOCIATION," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/djgws), accessed May 18, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.