1940: Expanding into Michigan Territory
EMC marketing representative John S. Kerper was sent to Lansing to open the Michigan territory in 1940. His home served as the office while he traveled throughout the middle of the state to appoint agents. By 1946, he was able to open a full branch office with five employees—an underwriter, claim man, secretary and two clerks—in a converted dwelling. A year later, the office moved to a commercial building and the branch kept growing.
1955: Partnership with Millers Mutual
Branch Manager Kerper transferred to Chicago in 1951 and was succeeded by former Kansas state agent Francis E. Baker. By 1955, there were 24 employees, with loss control services provided by the Chicago Branch. At that time, Michigan law did not allow companies to write both casualty and property insurance, so EMC worked out a cooperative arrangement with Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company. EMC referred agents to Michigan Millers for property coverage, and Michigan Millers referred agents to EMC for casualty coverage until Michigan law allowed companies to start writing both types of insurance in 1957.
1957: New Branch Manager, New Office
In 1957, Robert E. Kelley was promoted from chief underwriter to branch manager when Baker transferred to Oklahoma as state manager under the Wichita Branch. That same year, the staff of 32 employees moved into a new office. In 1974, they moved again—this time into an office built by EMC as an original prototype, which the branch still occupies today.
Late 1990s: Reorganizing Territories
In 1978, the Chicago Branch transferred its Indiana territory to Lansing, allowing Lansing to extend its manufactured housing business. Business continued in that territory until the late ’90s, when EMC’s Cincinnati Branch exchanged its Michigan business and agents for Lansing’s Indiana and Ohio business. At that time, Lansing also resumed writing policies in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which had been discontinued in the early ’60s.
2011: Strength, Stability, Service
Today, the Lansing Branch has approximately 60 employees working under Branch Manager Gary Pingel. They serve 95 agencies, and their book of business is 100 percent commercial lines. The branch’s written premium for 2010 was more than $37 million.