Highland News Leader

A Thought to Remember: Early Highland insurance companies were organized to provide fire coverage

The Helvetia Township Mutual Fire Insurance Co., located at 1016 Laurel St. in Highland, consisted of the following board members in January 1941, first row from left to right (sitting), Daniel P. Frey of St. Jacob, Henry Foehner of Jamestown, John S. Leef of Grantfork, Clinton H. Rogier of Highland, George Hug of St. Morgan; second row (standing), John G. Metzger of Pocahontas, Edwin F. Schmidt of Highland, Dr. John G. Schoeck of Troy, Charles A Rogier of Highland, Andrew C. Schmidt of Marine, Henry Rehkemper of St. Rose, Martin Dresch of Highland; third row (standing), John M. Riebold of Troy (Black Jack), Bruno Krenzer of Highland, George J. Michael of St. Jacob and Irvin J. Reinhart of Grantfork.
The Helvetia Township Mutual Fire Insurance Co., located at 1016 Laurel St. in Highland, consisted of the following board members in January 1941, first row from left to right (sitting), Daniel P. Frey of St. Jacob, Henry Foehner of Jamestown, John S. Leef of Grantfork, Clinton H. Rogier of Highland, George Hug of St. Morgan; second row (standing), John G. Metzger of Pocahontas, Edwin F. Schmidt of Highland, Dr. John G. Schoeck of Troy, Charles A Rogier of Highland, Andrew C. Schmidt of Marine, Henry Rehkemper of St. Rose, Martin Dresch of Highland; third row (standing), John M. Riebold of Troy (Black Jack), Bruno Krenzer of Highland, George J. Michael of St. Jacob and Irvin J. Reinhart of Grantfork.

The Legend of the Helvetia Township Mutual Fire Insurance Co. was written in 2001 by Clinton H. Rogier.

Thanks to Adrian S. Rogier for my copy. I will use this 2001 article, plus an article in the Jan. 5, 1899 Highland Journal newspaper to give you an insight of how the early mutual insurance companies of Highland operated.

Adrian had this as a post script, but I will use it early: “Mutual insurance companies are owned by their policy holders, whereas most stock insurance companies are owned by their stockholders, who naturally expect a return on their investment.”

The sesquicentennial book, on Page 20, lists some of the accomplishments of George Roth, who died in 1911. Roth was an orphan at the age of 5 and was raised by John Buchter, the lumber dealer.

Roth started with his brother-in-law, Charles Kuhnen, in 1871 as Kuhnen & Roth Hardware. Then, in 1881, he purchased C.P. Chipron’s Hardware & Implements, changing the name to Roth Hardware & Implements, operating until 1889. He had joined the Helvetia Milk Condensing Co., where he became a holder of five different patents on milk preserving, liquidizing machine, and machines for testing, filling and can cleaning.

Roth was mayor of Highland 1895-97, president of Highland Brick & Tile Works ,and founder of Helvetia Dwelling House Mutual Fire Insurance Co.

Clinton Rogier writes: “Helvetia Dwelling House Mutual Fire Insurance Co. was organized on May 9, 1903.”

Roth, at the time of his death in 1911, was president of the Highland Water Co., vice president of the Highland Milling Co., and vice president of the First National Bank.

Rogier writes: “The Helvetia Relief and Assistance Township Mutual Fire Insurance Co. was organized in Highland, April 10, 1894, under ‘An Act to incorporate and to govern mutual fire insurance companies in townships. This ‘Act’ was in force July 1, 1872. The specific purpose of this insurance company was to insure farm dwellings and buildings, for protection from damage or loss, by fire and/or lightning.

The Highland Journal article states: “The annual meeting of both local fire insurance companies, the Helvetia Mutual Relief and Assistance Township Fire Insurance Co. and the Helvetia Personal Property Mutual Fire Insurance Co. were held at the office of Secretary Eugene Hollard. (The florist northeast of Highland.)

“On Jan. 3, 1899, these two insurance companies held their meetings, one in the morning and the latter in the afternoon. New additional directors were elected: John Liebler, Troy; William May, Pin Oak; Rudolph Brunner, Marine; Charles Bourgois, Beaver Creek, all for 3 years and Louis Metz, Saline for one year, to complete the term of Frank Plocher, vice president, who was deceased.

“A committee, consisting of Louis Metz, Christ. Koch, J.O. Riegel, John Schlaeppi and Frank Lorenz was appointed to purchase a lot on which to build an office. They were to use their judgment on location and price.” (This small frame building was built on the south half of the Apple Building lot, which was at that time the Post Office and Jewelry Store of Louis Apple. The office, known as 1016 Laurel. In 1950, this original office building was demolished and the new brick front building was constructed at the same location, now Rogier Insurance Agency Inc. and Southern Illinois Underwriters Agency.)

Rogier writes: “Helvetia Township Mutual Fire Insurance Co. was organized on March 1, 1911 under the same ‘Act.’ The specific purpose was to insure personal property located on farms and in dwellings in towns and villages, for loss by fire and/or lightning.

“The business office for all three of these companies was in the same building, at 1016 Laurel. The management of the business affairs of all three companies was then conducted by one individual, Ed. Apple.

“During the 1920s misappropriate investments…(left) only the office building as an asset…

“In 1930, Charles A. Rogier was invited to become the managing officer of the three insurance companies at a salary of $25 monthly from each company. Also in 1930, Charles became a producing agent in Highland for the Madison County Automobile Insurance Co. of Edwardsville. By 1931, Charles Rogier was elected to the board of directors of the Edwardsville company.”

In January 1940, Charles and Amelia Rogier’s son, Clinton H. Rogier, joined the insurance business. They soon began to represent other insurance companies, and thereby, the Rogier Insurance Agency came into existence. Clinton became the managing officer of the three mutual insurance companies, with three separate sets of books and accounts. This was repetitious, and to become more efficient, with the help of the Illinois Department of Insurance and legal council, the three companies consolidated on Jan. 14, 1941 into Helvetia Township Mutual Fire Insurance Co., with many of the members of the three boards elected to serve on the newly merged board of directors.

Officers were: John S. Leef, president; Charles A. Rogier, secretary and Clinton H. Rogier, as managing officer. The directors are listed with today’s photo.

Clinton Rogier, on Jan. 1, 1951, began acquiring his father’s interest in the agency, and by June 30, 1952, Clinton had acquired the agency, and Charles retired. Charles Adrian Rogier died Aug. 21, 1953.

“Adrian S. Rogier, son of Clinton and Anna Lee Rogier, had a basketball scholarship to Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Mo.; then in 1969, joined the United States Air Force. Following his tour of duty, he began a career in sales. He then was a marketing representative in northern Illinois and eastern Iowa for Crown Life Insurance Co. of Toronto, while residing outside of Chicago. In February 1979, Adrian and his family returned to Highland and Rogier Insurance Agency.

“In March 1979, Clinton Rogier became the chief executive officer of the Madison County Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. of Edwardsville. He had been elected to the board in 1969. Adrian Rogier became the successor to his father, Clinton, in the management and operation of the Rogier Insurance Agency. Later, Clinton and Anna Lee Rogier moved to Edwardsville.”

Matthew C. Rogier, the fourth generation and son of Adrian and Sharon Rogier, is now a member of the sales staff of an affiliate of the Rogier Insurance Agency Inc. in Edwardsville.

(Quotes from sesquicentennial book, Legend by Clinton Rogier, the Highland Journal, with additional information from Adrian Rogier and my files.)

  Comments