No source identified, probably written in the 1920s.
Automobile insurance, although a comparatively new kind of insurance is now one of the most vigorous and rapidly growing branches of this many sided business.
Less than two decades ago, with the coming of the automobile business, came automobile insurance, that is insuring owners of motor cars against loss by fire, theft, collision, property damage and other contingencies. In less than five years it had passed the experimental stage, going easily from "low" to "intermediate" gear and then quickly into second without chipping the tooth of a single gear. That was good for a beginner or "gas baby" as this branch of the insurance business was then called by insurance men. Of course during the early years many obstacles were met together with some pretty stiff jolts. Perhaps no branch of insurance has ever presented such a gambol [sic] as did automobile insurance some fifteen years ago. In fact, many companies gave it up after a few years when the loss ratio almost equaled the number of cars. But the business progressed steadily and rapidly, proving this type of insurance was founded on principles as sound as the kindred branches of fire, life, marine or casualty insurance.
The Fireman's Fund Insurance Company of California was among the first to recognize the fertile new field in this line of insurance, and early created a special department in their business for automobile insurance, thereby becoming one of the pioneers of this country in this branch, being one of the first to have an agency plant. As early as 1895 the company was doing a general business throughout the country. From the very start no effort was spared to make this one of the most important departments of the Fireman's Fund; and as a result a gratifying and steadily increasing amount of this line of insurance was written by this company in California and throughout the United States. The Company made such splendid progress, that in 1917 it had to its credit, fire, theft, collision, personal liability and property damage premiums aggregating $407,709 out of a total of $2,486,534 in premiums secured by all of the ninety-four fire and casualty companies operating in the state of California, making their annual statement to the State Insurance Department. These figures credit the Fireman's Fund with about one-sixth of the entire insurance of this kind written in California -- the remaining five-sixths being distributed among the other ninety-three companies.
[Fireman's Fund Archives: 4-1-2-4-3; 0718.]
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