Erie Insurance Group

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Erie Insurance
Traded asNASDAQERIE (Class A)
Russell 1000 Component
FoundedApril 20, 1925; 94 years ago (1925-04-20)
FoundersH.O. Hirt
O.G. Crawford
HeadquartersErie, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Number of locations
12,400 Independent insurance agents located in 12 U.S. states and the District of Columbia
Key people
Timothy G. NeCastro (CEO)
Thomas B. Hagen (Chairman)
ProductsProperty, Casualty and Life Insurance
Number of employees
5,260[1] (2017)

Erie Insurance is a publicly held insurance company, offering auto, home, commercial and life insurance through a network of independent insurance agents. As of 2019, Erie Insurance Group is ranked 381st among the largest public U.S. companies, in terms of revenue, by Fortune magazine.[1]

Its geographic footprint extends to 12 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.[2] It also owns the naming rights to the Erie Insurance Arena in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania.[3]


Erie Insurance Exchange began in 1925 when two salesman for the Pennsylvania Indemnity Exchange, H.O. Hirt and O.G. Crawford, left to create their own insurance company. In three months and 20 days, the two convinced 90 stockholders to invest using a hand-written business plan, raising $31,000 to begin their own auto insurance company.[4]

Erie Insurance Home Office

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department issued a license to the Erie Insurance Exchange as an automobile insurer, beginning operations on April 20, 1925. Erie Insurance Exchange was formed as a reciprocal and Erie Indemnity Company was formed as its managing company. The annual premium charge per auto was $34.[5]

Co-founder H.O. Hirt hoped to create a company built on service, developing the mantra "The ERIE is Above all in SERvIcE," with the letters "E-R-I-E" raised out of the word service. Customers, who were encouraged to call the company collect, could even expect the cofounders to answer the phone themselves. The company's first adjuster and full-time claims manager, Sam P. Black, Jr., had a phone extension installed in his room at the local YMCA, offering 24-hour service to policyholders.[4]

Erie Insurance created a type of auto policy in 1934 named the "Super Standard Auto Policy," that was used as a model for other insurance companies across the county. The policy included extra coverage not seen in other policies during the 1930s such as "Drive Other Car" coverage and waiving collision deductibles between two ERIE-insured vehicles. The company later expanded into home, business and life insurance.[4]

The company had an office only in Erie until 1928 when it expanded into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its footprint continued to expand, reaching outside of Pennsylvania and opening a branch campus in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 1953.[6]

3 story model house located inside the TLC

Notable dates in company history:[4]

Year Event
1925 Erie Insurance opens for business
1928 The company opens its first office outside Erie, Pa., in Pittsburgh
1940 Fire insurance becomes available
1943 Comprehensive Liability Coverage becomes available
1953 The company opens its first branch outside of Pennsylvania in Silver Spring, Md.
1961 Introduction of Pioneer HomeProtector program
1963 Introduction of Pioneer Business Protector Policy
1967 The Erie Family Life Insurance Company is founded
1995 Erie Insurance is listed on NASDAQ as "ERIE"
2003 The company is listed on the Fortune 500 list[citation needed]
2015 Erie Insurance opens Technical Learning Center


Company Subsidiaries[7][edit]

  • Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company
  • Flagship City Insurance Company
  • Erie Insurance Company
  • Erie Insurance Company of New York
    • Located at 120 Corporate Woods, Suite 150, Rochester, New York 14623[8]
  • Erie Family Life Insurance Company


Erie Insurance corporate mark includes the company's name with a graphic of the cupola from the H.O. Hirt Building located in Erie, Pennsylvania. This design was introduced in the '90s, and updated in 2005.[9]

Erie Insurance Cupola


Erie Insurance sells its products exclusively through a network of more than 2,000 independent agencies with more than 10,000 licensed agents.[10] In a February 2013 interview with the Erie Times-News, CEO Terry Cavanaugh reaffirmed the company's commitment to this distribution channel while acknowledging the importance of also enabling customers to pay bills and file claims online.[11]


CEO Years Served
H.O. Hirt 1925 – 1976
F.W. Hirt 1976 – 1990
Thomas B. Hagen 1990 – 1993
John M. Petersen 1993 – 1996
Stephen A. Milne 1996 – 2002
Jeffrey A. Ludrof 2002 – 2007
John J. Brinling, Jr. (interim) 2007 – 2008
Terrence W. Cavanaugh 2008 – 2016
Timothy G. NeCastro 2016 – Present

Awards and recognitions[edit]

In 2003, Erie Insurance made its debut on the Fortune 500 list. It currently ranks at number 378.[12]

In 2017, Erie Insurance earned the ACE (Achievement in Customer Excellence) Award in the Voice of the Customer category for claims service for the second consecutive year.[13]

In 2018, Erie Insurance became Erie County, Pennsylvania's largest employer with more than 2,800 employees locally.[14]

Since 2013, Black EOE Journal[15] and Hispanic Network Magazine[16] have awarded Erie Insurance the top insurance company.

Erie Insurance received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmark on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality.[13]

In the year 2018, Erie Insurance Group was named to Ward's 50 top-performing property-casualty insurers. Erie Insurance has made the Ward's 50 list since 1991.[17] Ward's 50 ranks property-casualty insurance companies based on their financial safety, consistency, and performance over a five-year period. The analysis is done on nearly 3,000 property-casualty insurers and 1,407 life-health insurers, out of which, Ward's 50 picks the top 50 U.S. based carriers.[18] Erie Insurance Group has also earned A.M. Best's rating of A+ (Superior). Erie Family Life Insurance Company has earned A.M. Best's rating of A (Excellent). A.M. Best is a respected provider of financial ratings for insurance organizations.[19]


In May 2012, it was announced that Erie Insurance had purchased the naming rights to Tullio Arena in downtown Erie, Pa. The arena was subsequently renamed Erie Insurance Arena.[3]

In 2018, Erie Insurance became the title sponsor of Roar on the Shore motorcycle rally.[20]

Historic Building Projects[edit]

Federal Row

Boston Livery and Garage[edit]

Boston Livery and Garage was built in 1906 for John P. Dugan livery on the site of the Lafayette House, an early hotel. Located on lower French Street, it is the only livery building left from that once important trade. It later became a garage for delivery vehicles of Erie's Boston store. It was restored in 1986 by Erie Insurance and then donated to the Experience Children's Museum who currently uses the building.[21]

Federal Row[edit]

Gideon Ball House

Federal Row consists of five historic residential buildings, the Charles M. Tibbals House (1842), the Alexander Brewster House (1823), the Kennedy Row House (1836), the David Kennedy House (1832) and the Kennedy Double House (1840). They were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Tibbals House[edit]

Tibbals House was built in 1842 for the family of Charles M. Tibbals, onetime customs collector and a founder of Chicago & Erie Stove Company. In 2010, the Tibbals House was renovated by Erie Insurance for use as a conference center on the first-floor of the main house, with three guest suites in the rear addition and second floor.[22]

Gideon Ball House[edit]

Gideon Ball House is an Italianate style mansion built in 1862 for the Honorable Gideon J. Ball (1811-1886) who served as state treasurer of Pennsylvania. The property was acquired and restored in 1992 by Erie County Historical Society and Erie Insurance.[6]

Erie Armory[edit]

Erie Armory

Erie Armory was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and was home to the Pennsylvania National Guard 112th Infantry Regiment for 90 years, until July 2007. Erie Insurance restored the building which has housed office space for Erie Insurance since 2015.[23]

The Heritage Center[edit]

Heritage Center

The Heritage Center served as the home office for Erie Insurance from 1938 to 1956. Once the headquarters of home furnishing company C.F.Adams, the building now features nine galleries with a variety of images and objects from Erie Insurance's archives. The 1912 building is on the National Register of Historic Places.[24]

The Firehouse[edit]

The Firehouse, located at 414 French Street, was built by the Constable Brothers Construction Co. at a cost of $14,889.00 and was used by the Erie Fire Department until 1979. July 1984, the Pufferbelly Restaurant opened in the location.[25] The "Pufferbelly," known as the name of the steam pumpers and engines of the late 1800s, was a staple of Erie's downtown until its doors closed on September 30, 2015. Erie Insurance purchased and renovated The Firehouse, reopening it in July 2017 as an employee event center.[26]

The Firehouse located on French Street in Erie, PA

The Von Buseck House[edit]

The Von Buseck House was originally located on the south side of West 38th Street between Asbury and Millfair Roads in Erie. The home was part of a large 100-acre farm constructed in the 1830s by a German immigrant named Friedrich Von Buseck and his wife Rachel Weigle. The home was relocated to Fifth and German Streets where it was renovated and converted to upscale apartment units in 2018.[27]

The Judah Colt House[edit]

The Judah Colt House was originally constructed at the southwest corner of Fourth and French Streets in 1820. The home was cut in half and moved to East Front Street in 1882. Judah Colt was the first land agent for the Pennsylvania Population Company. Colt entertained Marquis de Lafayette, the great French & American patriot, in this house in 1825 during Lafayette's triumphal return to the U.S. following the Revolutionary War.The home was relocated to Fifth and German Streets where it was renovated and converted to upscale apartment units in 2018.[27]


  1. ^ a b "Erie Insurance Group". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  2. ^ "Fact Sheet". Erie Insurance.
  3. ^ a b "Tullio Arena to Become Erie Insurance Arena". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  4. ^ a b c d "Erie Insurance Historic Timeline" (PDF). Erie Insurance. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  5. ^ "One Thin Dime". Erie Insurance. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  6. ^ a b "Our History". Erie Insurance.
  7. ^ "Corporate Profile". Erie Insurance.
  8. ^ "States Of Operation". Erie Insurance.
  9. ^ "Erie Logo". Erie Insurance. Erie Insurance. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  10. ^ "Erie Insurance Agents". Erie Insurance. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  11. ^ "Erie Insurance Positions for Growth". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  12. ^ "Fortune 500". Fortune.
  13. ^ a b "Awards". Erie Insurance.
  14. ^ Martin, J (2018-05-29). "GE Transportation no longer Erie's top employer". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  15. ^ "Recognition List". Black EOE Journal.
  16. ^ "Hispanic Network Magazine". Hispanic Network Magazine.
  17. ^ "Awards and Rankings | Erie Insurance". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  18. ^ Greenwald, Judy (August 3, 1999). "Ward's 50 set the mark for best insurer practices". Business Insurance. 33: 3 – via EBSCOhost.
  19. ^ "Erie Insurance Group - Company Profile - Best's Credit Rating Center". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  20. ^ "Roar on the Shore". Roar on the Shore.
  21. ^ "Boston Livery". hmbd.
  22. ^ "Tibbals House". Historical Marker Project. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  23. ^ "Armory". Eriesense Blog. Erie Insurance. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  24. ^ "Heritage Center". Eriesense Blog. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  25. ^ "Pufferbelly Restaurant". Waymarking. Waymarking. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  26. ^ "Work begins on former pufferbelly restaurant". your erie. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  27. ^ a b "Erie Insurance brings history to new apartments in old neighborhood". Erie News Now. Retrieved 2018-06-18.

Coordinates: 42°07′49″N 80°05′01″W / 42.130373°N 80.083604°W / 42.130373; -80.083604