Supporting America’s industries through thick and thin
The Great Depression, World War II and the Great Recession are just a few of the events BITCO has weathered over the course of its 103-year history protecting American businesses.
After more than a century in business, we’re using this time to reflect and show our customers that facing adversity – even during a global pandemic – is better together.
Facing challenging times
BITCO, then operating as the Mine Workmens' Compensation Exchange, was less than a year old when the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic swept the globe. The company emerged stronger than ever. As we change our lives to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, we find ourselves in an eerily similar situation, but despite a few changes to follow good social distancing practices, it’s still business as usual.
In 1928, the company incorporated and formed Bituminous Casualty Corporation. Just one year later, in October 1929, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. We were able to make it through that because of our unique understanding of our customers' needs and what makes them tick. Our keen sense of empathy for our customers and the challenges they face helped us navigate through one of the most economically challenging periods in American history.
In 1941, the United States entered World War II, and automobile lines were added in 1942 through the addition of Bituminous Fire and Marine Insurance Company. This subsidiary was needed at the time to write automobile collision, comprehensive, fire, theft and miscellaneous physical damage coverage. Expanding service during the war was surely difficult, but it was necessary. And, it was very forward-thinking. Bituminous stepped up even before the interstate system was conceived with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956.
In March of 1985, BITCO Insurance Companies and all its operating subsidiaries became members of the Old Republic General Insurance Group, the largest business segment of Old Republic International (NYSE: ORI), and one of the nation’s 50 largest publicly held insurance organizations. As a Fortune 500 company, Old Republic is recognized nationally as one of the preeminent insurers of workers’ compensation programs. Our affiliation with Old Republic continues to cement BITCO’s financial stability today as we strive to protect members of the oil and gas, forest products and commercial construction industries.
Why has BITCO been able to stick around through all the tough times of the past century?
It comes down to our strong belief in partnering with our agents and our policyholders. We wouldn’t be here without them. In fact, more than 70 percent of our policyholders have been with BITCO for 15 years or more. Many of our most successful agency partnerships have survived through the ups and downs of the American economy.
At BITCO, we care about our agents and policyholders. We don’t take those long-term relationships for granted. For over a century we have been serving the industries that are essential to the success of the United States economy and the independent agents who help meet their insurance needs..
In order to form those key relationships, BITCO has always focused on specialization. We hire people with a deep understanding of the industries we offer insurance protection and related services to so we can maintain a laser focus in meeting our customers' expectations.
That sets BITCO apart. Our employees speak your language, and they know that not a whole lot can happen without the types of insurance and related services we offer.
Many of our employees are accustomed to being in the field. As we work to help stop the spread of COVID-19, approximately 90 percent of our employees are working from home, where they’re still doing everything they can to assist customers.
Beyond that, many of our employees are making face masks and face shields because we not only stay strong during difficult times but also do what we can to help those in need.
It’s been a long road, and we’re glad to be here for our customers through thick and thin. That’s what business insurance is for.
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For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.