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A rich 160 years of history

Travelers has 160 years of history intertwined with the challenges, developments and accomplishments of our national heritage. From pre-Civil War to post-9/11 times, Travelers has consistently focused on doing things right, because things can go wrong. Learn more about our company’s firsts.

Our joint history

The St. Paul and Travelers merged on April 1, 2004, forming The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc., the nation's second largest property-casualty insurer and one of the largest financial services firms. In February 2007, the company named changed to The Travelers Companies, Inc., and we began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TRV. The 137-year-old insurance icon, the red umbrella, was reinstated.

The Founding of Travelers

Travelers was founded more than a century ago through an off-hand transaction of only 2 cents. The incident occurred on March 24, 1864, when Hartford businessman James G. Batterson met a local banker, James E. Bolter, in the post office. Bolter had heard that Batterson and several fellow townsmen were organizing a company for the purpose of introducing accident insurance to North America.

“I’m on my way home for lunch,” Bolter said. “How much would you charge to insure me against accident between here and Buckingham Street?”

“Two cents,” Batterson quoted promptly, as he took Bolter’s two pennies and tucked them into his vest pocket. Bolter walked the four blocks to his home without mishap. His 2 cent “premium” is a souvenir treasured by the company Batterson founded, Travelers.

Travelers officially began doing business on April 1, 1864, when Batterson was 40 years old and America was in the midst of the Civil War.

Batterson was the head of Travelers for more than a third of the company’s first century. His compelling personality pervaded the entire organization. He remained president of Travelers until 1901, the year he died, and left behind a group of people well qualified to guide his company’s fortunes.

The origins of The St. Paul

Seeing the need for a local insurance company, Alexander Wilkin and 16 fellow St. Paul businessmen founded St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company in 1853,  in large part, to serve locals who had become frustrated with slow service from faraway insurers.

Wilkin, secretary of the territory and a lawyer with insurance experience “back East,” became the company’s first and youngest president, being elected to the position at 34. The company paid its first claim in 1855.

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