Car insurance company trivia: Farmers
- Founded: 1928
- Market position:
No. 5, with 5.89 percent of U.S. auto policies
"Gets you back where you belong."
- Jack Tyler, the son of a South Dakota farmer turned insurance salesman, and Thomas Leavey, son of a California dairy farmer, went farm-to-farm in Southern California to offer affordable auto insurance for low-risk country drivers. They opened their one-room Farmers Automobile Inter-Insurance Exchange in downtown Los Angeles in 1928.
- Farmers was purchased outright in 1988 by the British American Tobacco Co., which was attracted by the insurance company's "strong brand and creative thinking," according to the Farmers website. Ironically, one of Farmers' innovations had been an insurance discount for nonsmokers.
- Those Farmers TV commercials, featuring veteran actor J.K. Simmons ("The Closer," "Spider-Man") as a professor who presides over crazy research at the University of Farmers, seem far-fetched, right? Actually, there is a real University of Farmers: the company's award-winning training facility in Agoura Hills, Calif. It features 30 classrooms, a two-story mock house and 20-vehicle auto bays, and trains 34,000 Farmers agents and claims adjusters each year, according to University of Farmers vice president Jim Harwood.
- Today, America's folksy Farmers Insurance Group is actually owned by Zurich Insurance Group, a company based in Switzerland.