From New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company to NYCM Insurance: A Story of Our History - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Aug 14, 2020

From New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company to NYCM Insurance: A Story of Our History





You may be familiar with NYCM Insurance (or - as you may still call us - New York Central Mutual) as your auto, home or commercial insurance provider. Or maybe you know us from our community outreach efforts. Or maybe still, you’ve seen our orange advertisements out and about in your New York town.
While you probably know that we’re an insurance carrier and that we love the color orange - you’re probably not too familiar with our story. Read on to learn a little bit more about our history and our journey over the last 120+ years.

Once Upon a Time, in a Town Called Edmeston…

Our story begins in Edmeston, NY - a tiny rural town known for its agricultural community. It was in this small town where one farmer lost everything in a fire. Realizing that the town needed to be better prepared for the future, 27 businessmen and residents came together to pool their money to protect one another from fires and lightning, officially establishing the New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company under founder Van Ness D. Robinson in 1899.

It was a small operation back then. New York Central Mutual's first offices were housed in the center of Edmeston in the Opera House Building, which was destroyed in a fire in 1958. During its first year of operation, our company wrote $2,912 in direct written premiums and incurred no losses. We only had two employees - Van Ness D. Robinson and his wife, Grace, who worked as a part-time clerk. Our business has since remained a family affair, with the company remaining under the continuous management of the Robinson family throughout its 120+ years of operation.
With business up and running, it came time to make some initial branding decisions. The first prominent decision made on behalf of the company’s brand (aside from its name, of course) was adopting a train image in 1902 as part of the company's visual appearance. At the turn of the century, the railroad was a symbol of strength and progress -- a feeling that our leaders believed to be inline with New York Central Mutual’s commitment to its policyholders.

Through the Years…

New York Central Mutual remained in the Opera House Building for the next 15 years, until our company moved its operations down the street to the newly-completed First National Bank Building in 1917. By this time, we employed five people, including E.L. Bouton who was hired as a special agent in 1918. Bouton was the first regular traveling representative of the company.
Almost 20 years later, we opened our first branch in Buffalo, NY, employing six people in 1936.

New Markets and a New Building

As the business grew, so did our ability to tackle new markets. New York Central Mutual hit a major milestone in 1956 when we began writing homeowners policies and again in 1974 when we entered the automobile market.
After acquiring several other insurance providers over the years, New York Central Mutual outgrew its office space in the First National Bank Building (even after adding a third floor in 1941) and in 1962, moved its 38 Edmeston employees into a newly-constructed office building located at 1899 Central Plaza East, where we can still be found today! Placed on 100 scenic acres on the edge of Edmeston, the building was designed in the style of Early American 18th century architecture and is often mistaken as a college of sorts for passersby unfamiliar with the area.
It wasn't long before additional space was needed and in 1969 the first addition, a wing of executive offices, was added. Later, in1975, the building was expanded again with two symmetrical wings completed to house our Accounts and Underwriting departments. At this time, the company was active in 10 states and was represented by approximately 700 independent agents.
Yet another milestone was hit in 1988 when we introduced our Businessowners line.

A New Look for a New Name

In 2009 we made the decision to simplify our name to NYCM Insurance (we realized New York Central Mutual is a mouth-full!) and rebrand our entire look and persona. Aside from the shorter alias, we also adapted a vibrant orange to represent ourselves in the marketplace. Rebranding efforts were completed in partnership with Dalton Agency.
In 2019 we celebrated our 10-year “Brandversary” with our employees. Today, we still proudly tout our new name and look.

Where Are We Now?

Over the last 121 years, we’ve grown tremendously from our humble roots. Now under the direction of Van Ness’s great grandson, V. Daniel Robinson II, we’re still operating in Edmeston and Buffalo (Orchard Park to be precise!) but have also expanded to include two additional offices in Sherburne and Canajoharie.
We’re also currently in the midst of another addition project at our Edmeston headquarters, where our campus is also home to an on-site fitness center for employees and a cafe that is open to employees and their guests.
Our current team is made up of over 800 employees, with an ecosystem that also expands to include a network of over 1,200 independent agents. We’re proud to provide superior service and a quality customer experience to our over 525,000 insureds.
We’re also big on community involvement. Every year we corporately sponsor notable causes and encourage our employees to give back in the community by supplying every team member with 16 hours of paid volunteer time to use throughout the year, giving back to the causes they are most passionate about.

Current Offerings

Similar to our employee base, our product offerings have also expanded over the years. Our insurance lines currently include Home, Auto, Umbrella, Business and more. Working with various business partners, we’re proud  to offer additional types of coverage for many areas of your life including special events, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, bicycles, yachts, collector cars and more.

Times May Change, But Our Purpose Never Will

At the end of the day, our reason for doing business is the same as it was 121 years ago. We believe in providing genuine care; so that we can all have hope for a better tomorrow and the courage to persevere.
To learn more about our services and find an agent near you, visit our website at nycm.com.





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