In 1936, two young men, Joseph P. Doucet of Church Point, NS, and Adolphe A. Theriault of Belliveau Cove, NS, both insurance agents for tariff companies, realized the need for property insurance protection in the area. After consulting local business people on the matter and studying the possibility of forming a mutual insurance company, it was decided to make application to the Department of Insurance in Ottawa for registry. The first requirement by the Department of Insurance was to obtain pledges for membership by at least 100 applicants, and secondly, a $1,000.00 deposit had to be made to the Department of Insurance. During these years, times were hard and money was scarce. In order to raise enough money, the Premium Note plan was adopted, whereby; each member would sign a note for $20.00 and pay $12.50 in cash for a $1,000.00 policy for three (3) years. The people became interested and soon enough pledges were made and application for registry was sent to Ottawa. The Department of Insurance accepted the request and Certificate of Registry was received on March 30, 1936, and the newly formed company opened its doors for business on April 7, 1936, under the registered name of “Clare Mutual Fire Insurance Company”. The first Board of Directors was made up of fourteen (14) members.
More people became interested and membership continued to grow. Unfortunately, a house was destroyed by fire within the first year and a claim for $1,000.00 had to be paid. Not being enough money in the treasury to pay the claim, all members were requested to pay an additional $2.50 on the unpaid balance of their Premium Note. This caused a furor in membership and soon policy cancellations were the order of the day. After much explaining by the Directors and Management, the Members understood their obligations, and enough money was raised to pay off the claim. Business was slow the first years, but luckily only small claims were experienced. The maximum coverage at the time was only $1,000.00 on any one risk and the restrictions imposed by the Department of Insurance kept the Company from enticing new business and building up the revenues. Gradually, the Department of Insurance granted permission to increase coverage, and in 1969, the Company was writing policies up to $80,000.00 covering Fire and Lightning only. As all tariff companies provided supplemental coverage on their policies, the Clare Mutual was no longer a competitor for the local insurance market. Homework was done, and in 1982, with the help of the Mercantile & General Reinsurance Company and Sterling Universal Canada Limited, the Clare Mutual Insurance Company was able to add supplemental coverage, and in 1988, Liability to a limit of $100,000.00 was also added. This now meant that the Company could offer homeowner’s policies to its Members, and once again be competitive with the tariff companies selling in the area.
In January 1992, after serious deliberations, the Board of Directors of the Clare Mutual made the decision that the Company should become a non-voting member of the Farm Mutual Reinsurance Plan. In 1997, the Clare Mutual was accepted as a Class A Voting Member of FMRP. The Farm Mutual Reinsurance Plan (FMRP) is a Canadian owned reinsurance company, owned by Canadian mutual insurance companies FMRP, now Farm Mutual Reinsurance has its head office in Cambridge, Ontario.
Clare Mutual is now capable of offering coverage up to $2,000,000 property and liability coverage on farm, commercial and residential risks. Higher coverage can be offered and reinsured through facultative reinsurance treaties.
On March 29, 1994, by Order in Council from the Government of the Province of Nova Scotia, the name Clare Mutual Fire Insurance Company was changed to Clare Mutual Insurance Company. The word Fire was deleted, this was done to reflect the broader scope of insurance coverages which the Company now offers.
After 62 years of renting premises for its office headquarters, on June 30, 1999, Clare Mutual purchased the property it had been leasing since November 1, 1995, and made 3300 Hwy 1 Belliveau Cove, NS, its permanent Head Office location.
It has always been the policy of the Company to provide its clients with the best customer service possible and try to the best of the circumstances to settle claims promptly.
Clare Mutual is the success it is today, because of its people – from the Directors, Employees to its Policyholders – people, who believe in the mutual insurance concept. A Mutual, like a Co-op or a Credit Union, is owned by its members, the Policyholders, and works for the good of its people, may it be in the community or in the workplace.
The Company is federally and provincially licensed and regulated under the Insurance Act of Canada. An insurance company, be it a mutual or a stock company, is considered a financial institution, and comes under the same scrutiny by the Federal and Provincial government as the banks.
An annual audit by a federally accepted auditing firm is conducted yearly at the end of the Company’s fiscal year ending December 31st. Grant Thornton LLP has been auditing the Company’s books since 1978.
An Annual General Meeting is held every year prior to April 30th. At this meeting, there is the presentation of the Company’s audited financial statements for the past year, the nomination of Directors to the Board of Directors, the appointment of auditors for the coming year, and any
other business that needs to be addressed, such as changes to By-laws, remuneration paid to Directors (if so required), or any other items deemed necessary to be brought forward for discussion at the Members’ Meeting.