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Collection Svea Mutual Insurance Company (Orion, Ill.) records
Collection Number I/O:45
Dates of Creation 1860-1970
Extent of Description 20.75 linear feet , 15 boxes (14 oversized)
Language English, Swedish
Creator Svea Mutual Insurance Company (Orion, Ill.)
Search Terms Svea Mutual Insurance Company (Orion, Illinois)
Orion (Ill.)
Mercer County (Ill.)
Knox County (Ill.)
Henry County (Ill.)
Illinois
Insurance, Agricultural
Fire Insurance
Thunderstorm Insurance
Windstorm Insurance
Administrative or Biographical History Svenska Brandförsäkringsbolaget Svea was formed in Altona, Illinois in 1868 by Swedish immigrant farmers in Knox and Henry County. After many of the farmers had been approached to purchase insurance by American agents they were not able to understand, they felt the need start their own company with agents that spoke Swedish. Svea's first meeting was held in Altona on January 23, 1869, at which time the by-laws were approved and incorporated. The company initially offered a fire and lightning policy to Swedish immigrants and their descendants only.

In 1872 Svea, was merged with another similar Swedish insurance company in Andover, namely Svenska Brandstods-Compagniet, which had been formed in 1865 under the same circumstances as Svea Brandförsäkringsbolag. Svea expanded its business in 1880 to include all Scandinavian immigrants and their descendants in Henry, Knox and Mercer Counties. In 1916, the policy was extended to accept Scandinavians by intermarriage. Tornado and cyclone insurance was also introduced at that time. In 1920, the by-laws were amended again to include all persons regardless of race, color or previous nationality.

Svea Mutual Insurance Company still insures farmers in western Illinois and presently has its head quarters in Orion, Illinois.


Scope & Content The material includes insurance policy registers, cashbooks, and minutes from annual meetings from the 1860s to the 1970s, with some gaps. The policy registers provides the names and addresses of the policy owner and the specific items included in the policy. The company provided fire and lightning, windstorm, and tornado policies. In most cases, farmers had their personal home and household goods as well as all farm dwellings, animals and equipment covered in one policy. Detailed information fires and/or other claims were discussed and approved at the time of the annual board meetings and recorded in the minutes. The initial by-laws, the company charter and the minutes up 1899 are in the Swedish language.

The material gives a good insight to how a group of Swedish immigrants shaped their own organization and how it evolved into a successful American financial institution in the 1920s.

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