In 1860, this forward-looking philosophy inspired a group of 21 businessmen, led by Hugo Wesendonck, to create a very different kind of life insurer. Together, they formed what was then known as The Germania Life Insurance Company of America, dedicated to serving the social good by protecting families and small businesses. The founders of The Germania Life Insurance Company raised $200,000 in equity capital—twice the amount required by New York state law and testament to the company’s steadfast commitment to financial strength for the long-term benefit of its policyholders.
Growing and Gaining Strength
Within two short years, our company began opening agencies across the country, including locations in Colorado, the Dakotas, New Mexico, and Arizona, long before these territories were states. In 1868, we became the first U.S. insurance company to start an agency in Europe. By the early 1900s, almost half of our underwriting was outside North America, until World War I changed the business landscape.
Finding Better Ways to Serve
In 1917, our company changed its name to The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America to reflect our patriotism, as well as the protection, safety, and service that are the hallmarks of the organization. Another major milestone occurred in 1925 when Guardian converted from a mixed stock and mutual company to a wholly mutual company. Guardian has paid dividends every year for over 125 years.
In 1957 Guardian entered the group employee benefits market, significantly expanding the range of protection offered to businesses and positioning the company for future growth. The business surged throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and by the 1980s, Guardian’s group business formed an integral part of the company’s “golden age of growth” during this period.
Changing Times, Timeless Values
Today, more than 150 years since our founding, Guardian continues to be there for the people and businesses who put their trust in us through innovative technology, products, and services. At the same time, we remain true to our founding spirit—putting people first, continually building on our financial strength, and maintaining the highest ethical standards.