1957: The Beginning of Dakota Fire
Dakota Fire Insurance Company of Bismarck was incorporated as a stock company in 1957. Its initial purpose was to enhance North Dakota’s economy by bringing back some of the $25 million in fire and casualty premiums being paid annually to out-of-state companies. More than 200 agents and 1,200 individuals were stockholders when Dakota Fire opened its doors with five employees in January 1958.
1973: Dakota Fire Joins EMC
During the 1960s, premium grew to over $2 million, and Dakota Fire was operating at a profit by the end of the decade. In January 1973, EMC, which already owned a significant amount of Dakota Fire’s stock, made an offer to purchase all outstanding shares. Dakota Fire accepted the offer. In 1981, EMC took full ownership and made Dakota Fire a wholly-owned subsidiary responsible for sales, underwriting and servicing of all of EMC’s North Dakota and South Dakota business.
1990-Today: New Territories, Products and Success
Since joining EMC, the Bismarck Branch territory has expanded, adding Idaho in 1994 and Oregon in 2006. In 1998, the branch organized the Montana Building Industries Association Safety Group and in 1999, the South Dakota School and Idaho Building Contractors Association Safety Dividend Groups.
In 2004, the Bismarck Branch received EMC’s Hynes-Gunn Challenge Cup, awarded annually to the EMC branch office with the best operating performance. Written premium has increased to $67 million in 2009 from $7 million in 1981 when it joined the EMC family. Today, the Bismarck Branch serves Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and Oregon with 66 percent of its business in commercial lines and 34 percent in personal lines.