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merchants insurance group; founded; year; history; buffalo ny

Merchants was founded in 1918!


That’s right, Merchants will be turning 105 years old on March 5, 2023.

Watch the video below for a closer look at our history and who we are:

On March 5, 1918, Merchants Mutual Liability Company opened for business in Buffalo, N.Y.


It was founded by Urban F. Jehle, owner and operator of a grocery store on Buffalo N.Y.’s West Side. He returned from a grocers’ convention with the idea of banding merchants together for the mutual protection of their delivery vehicles. J.R. Young, a local insurance man, Owen B. Augspurger, a Buffalo lawyer, and C.W. Brown, a civil engineer, joined with him. They envisioned a company that would write automobile insurance through local independent agents. Mr. Jehle served as president of the company until 1923.

Throughout the years, we’ve grown and changed, bringing technology and quality products and services to our agents, our policyholders and our communities.

Today, still headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., Merchants Insurance Group is comprised of Merchants Mutual Insurance Company, Merchants Preferred Insurance Company and Merchants National Insurance Company. Merchants is proud to serve our agents, policyholders and the communities where we do business with outstanding property and casualty insurance products. We’re also proud of the fact that all of our companies are rated “A-” by the A.M. Best Company, the leading rating company for the property and casualty insurance industry, and to have been granted the Wards 50® designation for our second consecutive year in 2022 from Ward’s Benchmarking.

Merchants works with more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in our business territories in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We offer commercial insurance in all of our states, as well as personal insurance in New York State.


Click here to find one of our independent agent partners near you!

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Erica Dalton

Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group sells its products through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We sell our products through independent insurance agents because we believe they provide value to policyholders through their broad range of products and their insurance expertise.