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A Fruitful Century
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Mutual Insurance

A fruitful century

As part of the rearrangement going on in the early 1950s, the B.C.F.G.A. assisted in organization of two insurance companies. For many years growers had been looking for a satisfactory method of protecting themselves against losses caused by the weather, particularly hailstorms. Private insurance companies did not offer satisfactory terms for coverage against these hazards. In 1951 the B.C.F.G.A. insurance committee, which had been studying the matter for a number of years, recommended to the B.C.F.G.A. convention that the Association assist in establishing a cooperative hail insurance company.

Display at Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair, 1953.Courtesy IOA

With $10,000 obtained for it by the B.C.F.G.A. from the B.C. Fruit Board, the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Mutual Hail Insurance Company was set up. It offered its members, who were required to purchase a ten dollar share in the company and to be members of the B.C.F.G.A., hail insurance at rates ten per cent lower than those offered by the private companies then operating; within three years it had virtually driven the competition from the field. By 1954 the Company had repaid the start-up funds originally advanced by the B.C.F.G.A. It covered a risk averaging three million dollars per year, with a high of $5,850,000 in 1955, and operated until 1970 when it was liquidated because its hail insurance was no longer needed with government Crop Insurance in place.

The success of the hail insurance operation encouraged growers to think in larger terms. The 1955 B.C.F.G.A. convention passed a resolution to assist the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Mutual Hail Insurance Company in forming another company, with powers to carry on a wider range of insurance activities. Fruit Growers’ Mutual Insurance Company, established as a result of this initiative, offered fire, automobile, and other forms of insurance, mostly but not exclusively to the fruit growing community, until it was taken over by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia in the 1970s. But the two insurance companies were never operated or controlled by the B.C.F.G.A., although their initial funding was provided by the Association and their membership was made up largely of fruit growers.