Company History | Shelter Insurance®

Company History


  • The roots of MFA Mutual Insurance Company date to March 10, 1914, when seven farmers gathered in the Newcomer School in Brunswick, Missouri, to form one of the state's first farm clubs. Their mission was to pool their resources to buy goods and supplies at volume prices. Three years later, this club joined with others to form the Missouri Farmers Association. Having established an outlet for their harvests and a source for their supplies, they turned to other ways to help their members.

    Farmers needed access to reliable insurance protection at prices they could afford. The MFA Mutual Insurance Company began operations on January 1, 1946, with seven employees and a $100,000 loan from the Missouri Farmers Association. Before its 7th anniversary, MFA Mutual was the largest mutual casualty insurance company in Missouri. It was an impressive start, but none could imagine what they had set in motion.  



  • Growth and expansion were evident at every turn and Shelter facilities were improved. Construction of a new corporate office was begun in 1954 and completed in 1957. The office has since doubled in size, and the corporate headquarters complex now includes a training center, warehouse, public gardens, and a branch claims office.
  • Expansion created opportunities that couldn't be met with a single company. Countryside Casualty Insurance Company was established to meet the need of higher-risk customers.


  • The opportunity to add life insurance brought into being a third company - MFA Life Insurance Company. MFA Life is one more step toward agents being able to provide anything in the insurance line that a prospect wants to buy.


  • Prospects had never looked brighter for the young companies. By the early 1960s, our sales territory had expanded into Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and Oklahoma. We were serving the needs of our policyholders with 12 branch claims offices. The Springfield, Missouri, branch office featured a drive-in claims facility. Another expansion effort in the 1970s added Colorado, Mississippi, and Louisiana to the Shelter map.


  • The decade of the 1970s opened with enthusiasm. We continued to improve our facilities and secure the financial stability of Shelter Insurance® through better products and improved training. The mid-1970s saw a continuation of records being set. MFA Life Insurance Company reached its first billion dollars of coverage in force. New, larger agent signs were going up everywhere and "If it has anything to do with insurance, we do it better," became our advertising slogan. Our leaders headed the nation's two largest industry organizations. Our new Fast Action Claims Service resulted in quicker claims payments, reduced costs, and positive responses from policyholders.
  • Thousands of people attended the dedication ceremony of MFA Insurance Gardens on the grounds of the corporate office. Now Shelter Insurance Gardens, the award-winning five-acre gardens quickly became a favorite place for people to take a break, relax, and enjoy the beauties of nature.


  • In this year, we became Shelter Insurance Companies. MFA Insurance Companies began a rebirth in 1981 as we turned away from the Missouri Farmers Association to a new identity. We struggled through a divorce from our parent organization and developed an entirely new identity. First to be changed was our emblem, from the familiar MFA Insurance "shield" to the "Shield of Shelter." Then came the new name: Shelter Insurance®. Our new name spread throughout our operating territory with more than 1,000 new, lighted Shelter agency signs and new radio, television, and print advertising promotions.


  • The effects of our new identity were positive. Shelter Life Insurance Company reached $2 billion in life insurance in force, due in large part to the overwhelming acceptance of Shelter Life's newest product, the Platinum Shield® Universal Life policy. Increased activity and improved services required better facilities to keep pace and to provide excellent working conditions. More new offices opened and computers appeared in agent offices.


  • We went international in 1986, inviting clients worldwide to do business with the new Shelter Reinsurance Company. Since then, the company has consistently provided long-term positive results.


  • The 1980s saw an emphasis on securing financial stability for Shelter Insurance®, which resulted in a quality book of properly classified business that was growing at a rate of 25,000 policies per year by the beginning of the 1990s.
  • With an eye to growth, Shelter launched a massive upgrade of computer systems and began expansion of facilities with construction of a 50,000 square-foot addition to the corporate headquarters. The second 50 years of Shelter's history would get off to a record start with Shelter reaching milestones: our combined assets reached $1.5 billion, making Shelter the 98th largest U.S. insurer, and agents achieved $7 billion of life insurance in force.


  • Shelter's golden anniversary, or 50th anniversary, was marked with a celebration attended by Shelter agents, employees, retirees, and community and business leaders from the Columbia, Missouri and central Missouri area. John Ashcroft, former Attorney General of the United States and former Missouri senator, gave the keynote address, praising Shelter for a long history of fiscal and social responsibility.
  • In commemoration of our first 50 years in business, It's a Proud Business, a corporate history book, was printed and given to all of our employees and agents.


  • Month-end figures compiled in March 2002 indicated that for the first time, Shelter had insurance protection in force for more than one million automobiles. Shelter ended the month with 1,003,141 auto policies in force.


  • 2006 marked the 60th operating anniversary for Shelter Mutual Insurance Company. In their 60th year, Shelter Insurance Companies were proudly represented by 1,800 employees and 1,300 agents who serviced 1.97 million policies. Total assets under management had grown to $3.724 billion.
  • In July, Shelter expanded the operating territory by adding a 14th state: Nevada.


  • Shelter Life Insurance Company and Shelter property/casualty companies were ranked among the top 50 in the United States. The Ward Group® recognized Shelter Life as a top-performing life insurance company for the second consecutive year. The Ward Group® also ranked the Shelter Insurance® group of property and casualty companies among the top 50 performers out of over 3,000 U.S. property and casualty insurers analyzed for their annual ranking.


  • Shelter Reinsurance upgraded by A.M. Best for the company’s improved capitalization and favorable operating performance.
  • Life Insurance in Force Surpasses $20 Billion Plateau.
  • Shelter Life ranked among Top 50 in U.S. for achieving outstanding financial results in the areas of safety, consistency and performance over a five-year period from 2005 to 2009.
  • Shelter Insurance® named in Ward’s 50 Top Performers which signifies Shelter as one of the safest and best managed companies in the insurance industry.


  • Shelter Life ranked among Top 50 in U.S. again by the Ward Group®.


  • Shelter Life Insurance Company Scores A+ Rating from A.M. Best.
  • Shelter Launches AmShield Insurance®.


  • Shelter makes Ingram’s list of Top 25 brands in Missouri.
  • Shelter Launches Say Insurance®.
  • Shelter Reinsurance Company Celebrates 30 Years.


  • Shelter Reinsurance Company Scores A+ Rating from A.M. Best.
  • Shelter Insurance® named in Business Insurance’s Annual Best Places to Work in Insurance.


  • Shelter breaks ground for new Claims facility at Home Office location in Columbia, MO.
  • Shelter Insurance® named in Business Insurance and Best Companies Group’s Annual Best Places to Work in Insurance again.
  • Shelter celebrated 30th Anniversary of Diversity Internship Program.


  • Shelter Insurance® named in Business Insurance and Best Companies Group’s Annual Best Places to Work in Insurance a third time.


  • Due to COVID-19 pandemic, Shelter took steps to protect employees by sending most to work from home. Realizing many of Shelter’s customers experienced temporary lapses in employment and potential financial burdens, relief efforts were put in place including:
    • Waiving reinstatement fees incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Suspending cancellations as a result of bad drafts of funds from banks.
    • Implementing a 30% relief payment of customers’ personal auto monthly premium for the months of April and May based on customers driving less and experiencing fewer accidents. This was one of the highest relief percentage payment amounts provided by the insurance industry.
    • The Shelter Insurance® Foundation board allocated $1.5 million for crisis relief in the communities Shelter serves. The Foundation approved offering a $1,000 donation per agent and $5,000 per regional office to area charities to respond to local COVID-19 needs.
    • Shelter also provided a 5% rate reduction for auto customers in most states in the operating territory. The size of the decrease for individual customers varied based on policy coverages and the individual’s profile and loss experience.
  • Shelter employees move into the new North Campus Facility, located at the Home Office in Columbia, Missouri.
  • Shelter Insurance® was named in Business Insurance and Best Companies Group’s Annual Best Places to Work in Insurance for fourth year in a row.


  • Shelter Insurance® celebrates 75th Anniversary with a mix of events including Home Office and Branch Office celebrations, volunteering and sharing important events about Shelter’s history. An Inspiration Garden, a section of Shelter Gardens commemorating deceased agents and employees, was refreshed and re-dedicated in honor of the 75th
  • Shelter Insurance® named Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion 2021.
  • Shelter Insurance® named in Business Insurance and Best Companies Group’s Annual Best Places to Work in Insurance for the fifth year in a row.
  • Shelter Reinsurance® celebrates 35th Anniversary.
  • Shelter Insurance® hosts first ever Winter Wonderland Garden of Lights in Shelter Gardens as part of the holiday season celebration. It was kicked-off in conjunction with the 56th annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony.


  • The Shelter Insurance® Diversity Internship Program was recognized as a top insurance internship opportunity by the Rising Insurance Star Executives (RISE) organization.
  • Shelter Insurance® named Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion 2022.