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Merchants' 105th anniversary celebration group photo

105 Years of Merchants

In 2023, Merchants Insurance Group proudly celebrates 105 years of earning your business every day! Let’s take a look back on the road to this milestone, from our company’s start in 1918 to the resilience shown over the last year.

Read on to learn more about our history, who we are today, and how we celebrated Merchants’ 105th anniversary!


This video, which was shown at our 105th anniversary celebration, reflects upon the year leading up to our 105th anniversary and both the successes and challenges we faced.


A Look Back on Merchants’ History

On March 5, 1918, Merchants Mutual Liability opened for business in Buffalo, New York. Founder Urban F. Jehle, owner and operator of a grocery store on Buffalo’s West Side, hoped to band local merchants together for the mutual protection of their delivery vehicles.

Jehle, joined by J.R. Young, Owen B. Augspurger, and C.W. Brown, envisioned a company that would write automobile insurance through local independent agents. Jehle served as company president until 1923.

historical photo of former Merchants colleagues at a previous anniversary
In the 1920s, the company expanded and began writing in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and New Hampshire, in addition to New York. Fifty years later, Merchants Mutual Insurance Company began writing in Ohio in 1970 and Michigan in 1973.

Celebrating 105 Years! A Look at Our History:


Merchants Insurance Group Today

group photo of colleagues at Merchants' 105th anniversary celebration

Today, Merchants Insurance Group provides property and casualty insurance protection to policyholders through more than 1,000 independent insurance agents across business territories in eight states. Headquartered in downtown Buffalo, New York, the company has regional offices in Hauppauge, New York; Bedford, New Hampshire; and Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, employing nearly 200 colleagues.

Merchants places immense value in the relationships our company has with independent agent partners, policyholders, and our colleagues. We take great pride in the work we do and in the prestigious awards & distinctions we have received. Some recent, noteworthy accomplishments include:

In the past year, Merchants has also been named:

AM Best logo with A- Excellent Rating

We’re proud of our company’s accomplishments and our rich history since 1918. Looking ahead, we strive to continue to be a preferred provider of property and casualty insurance, the carrier of choice among independent agents, and an employer of choice.

We look forward to another 105 years of earning your business every day!


Merchants’ 105th Anniversary Celebration

Merchants Insurance Group President Charles Makey poses with cake at Merchants' 105th anniversary celebration!

President Charles Makey poses with the cakes at Merchants’ 105th anniversary celebration!

While the official anniversary fell on Sunday, March 5, corporate colleagues gathered to celebrate with cake and ice cream at the company headquarters in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, March 2, 2023.

Colleagues wore matching Merchants’ 105th Anniversary shirts (or, as we call company merchandise, MerchantsDise!) to commemorate the occasion!

Photo Gallery

Katherine Trautwein

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.