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Merchants' history is a family legacy

With a stable business philosophy, a family work environment, and a focus on making a difference in the community, Merchants Bonding Company™ has an over 80-year history of experience, tradition, leadership, and innovation.

 

E.H. Warner and Merle Milligan founded Merchants Mutual Bonding Company in 1933, and grew it with a consistent and conservative approach to surety that remains the cornerstone of Merchants' success. W.W. Warner became President in 1962, and led Merchants through the ups and downs of the economy and industry for nearly 30 years. He was succeeded by his son, William Warner, Sr. who continued the family legacy.

 

Chairman of the Board and President Larry Taylor and Chief Operating Officer and Corporate Secretary Bill Warner, Jr. are members of the Warner family's fourth generation, now leading Merchants Bonding with the same care and commitment to clients, employees, and the community that has marked the growing success of this company. The legacy continues to grow. After eight decades, Merchants now does business in all 50 states. The company's headquarters is in West Des Moines, Iowa, with branches in Austin, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Seattle, Washington; Phoenix, Arizona; and Kansas City, Kansas. Merchants employs more than 130 associates working to provide excellent underwriting and underwriting services.








Merchants History

A timeline of significant events

History of Merchants Bonding
33

Merchants Mutual Bonding Company was founded by E.H. Warner and Merle Milligan in Des Moines, Iowa. The company's first office was in the Valley Bank Building in downtown Des Moines.

History of Merchants Bonding
34

Merchants wrote its first bond, a $1,000 permit bond to sell beer. The premium was $12. At the end of the year, the company's surplus was $791.01.

History of Merchants Bonding
41

E.H. Warner's son, W.W. Warner, joined Merchants, then serves overseas in World War II.

History of Merchants Bonding
45

Merchants expanded into Nebraska.

History of Merchants Bonding
49

Merchants expanded into Kansas.

History of Merchants Bonding
50

Merchants relocated to 2100 Grand Avenue in Des Moines. This office served as the company's headquarters for 45 years.

History of Merchants Bonding
62

W.W. Warner became President.

History of Merchants Bonding
62-
84

Merchants expanded into Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and California.

History of Merchants Bonding
69

Merchants opened a branch office in Austin, Texas.

History of Merchants Bonding
71

Merchants opened a branch office in Phoenix, Arizona.

History of Merchants Bonding
81

The company name was changed to Merchants Bonding Company (Mutual).

History of Merchants Bonding
85

The third generation of Warners took over leadership; William Warner, Sr. was appointed President. W.W. Warner was appointed Chairman of the Board. Direct premiums exceeded $10 million.

History of Merchants Bonding
85-
89

Geographic expansion continued in 12 more states.

History of Merchants Bonding
86-
87

Direct premiums grew 50%.

History of Merchants Bonding
86

Stan McCormack, Executive Vice President and Claims Manager, started Claims Department in Scottsdale, Arizona.

History of Merchants Bonding
88-
89

Bill Warner, Jr. and Larry Taylor joined the company, representing the fourth generation of family involvement. Surplus reached $5 million.

History of Merchants Bonding
90-
93

Expansion continued into 4 more states. Surplus exceeded $10 million.

History of Merchants Bonding
95

Merchants moved to 2100 Fleur Drive in Des Moines. Surplus exceeded $15 million.

History of Merchants Bonding
96

Larry Taylor, W.W. Warner's grandson and Bill Warner, Sr.'s nephew, was named President, introducing a new era of leadership for the company.

History of Merchants Bonding
96

Merchants appointed Bill Warner, Jr. as company Secretary. After he was named Secretary, he and Larry became the fourth generation of family leadership at Merchants Bonding Company.

History of Merchants Bonding
97

Merchants appointed Mike Foster as Executive Vice President of Underwriting.

History of Merchants Bonding
00

E.H. Warner was inducted into the Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame.

History of Merchants Bonding
03

Nations Bonding Company began writing surety bonds as a stock company in Texas and other markets

History of Merchants Bonding
04

Merchants began processing bonds on the internet. Expansion continued to other states.

History of Merchants Bonding
05

Merchants Bonding Company ranked 21st largest surety company in the United States (source: SFAA). A large addition was made to the current building.

History of Merchants Bonding
06

Expansion continued, and Merchants was then writing business in all 50 states.

History of Merchants Bonding
06

Merchants Bonding partnered with the National Notary Association to become the nation's largest provider of notary bonds.

History of Merchants Bonding
06

Merchants ranked 20th among all surety bond writers nationwide (source: A.M. Best) with more than $51 million in premiums.

History of Merchants Bonding
07

Jay Stukerjurgen became Vice President of Information Technology. Merchants achieved a paperless workflow.

History of Merchants Bonding
07

Merchants became the 19th largest surety writer in the United States (SFAA), and continued to be the number one surety writer in Iowa.

History of Merchants Bonding
08

Therese Wielage joined Merchants as Vice President of Marketing.

History of Merchants Bonding
08

Merchants celebrated its 75th anniversary. It was rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best for 50 consecutive years. The company was the 19th largest surety writer nationwide (SFAA).

History of Merchants Bonding
08

Merchants Bonding established the Merchants Bonding Company Foundation.

History of Merchants Bonding
10

Don Blum joined Merchants as CFO & Treasurer.

History of Merchants Bonding
10

Merchants Bonding Company Foundation hosted the first Bill Warner Sr. Memorial Charity Golf Classic, and raised $70,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

History of Merchants Bonding
10

The Leaderboard Program was re-launched with incentives and benefits for the Drivers, Champions, and Masters levels, including trips, recognition advertising for our agencies, and educational opportunities.

History of Merchants Bonding
10

Our Rapid Access Program (RAP) rolled out to Leaderboard agents. RAP provides bonds on the day of application, at the same rate, with the same underwriter every time.

History of Merchants Bonding
10

The Pacesetters Program launched with incentives and benefits for Platinum, Gold, and Silver levels.

History of Merchants Bonding
10

Merchants opened the Seattle office with Assistant Vice President Ed Bennett and Contract Underwriter Joel Hertzog.

History of Merchants Bonding
10

Merchants opened the Dallas/Fort Worth office with Assistant Vice President Aaron Raschke.

History of Merchants Bonding
11

Merchants Bonding Company introduced Theft Guard fidelity bonds.

History of Merchants Bonding
11

Merchants ranked 15th largest surety writer in the United States.

History of Merchants Bonding
12

Merchants Bonding Company moved its subsidiary, Nations Bonding Company, from Texas to Iowa, and changed the company name to Merchants National Bonding, Inc. Both companies now grow together under the Merchants Bonding Company brand.

History of Merchants Bonding
12

Stan McCormack retired, and Steve Dorenkamp was promoted to Vice President of Claims/Claims Manager.

History of Merchants Bonding
12

The bi-annual Bill Warner Sr. Memorial Charity Golf Classic grew to morning and afternoon rounds this year, and raised more than $100,000 for the Youth Homes of Mid-America.

History of Merchants Bonding
13

Now in its eighth decade, Merchants Bonding Company has enjoyed significant growth and success. With a continued focus on customer service and common sense underwriting, Merchants is a leader in the use of technology to enhance productivity and growth.

History of Merchants Bonding
13

Jason Dettbarn was promoted to Regional Vice President of Contract Underwriting.

History of Merchants Bonding
13

Jim Holter was promoted to Vice President of Commercial Underwriting.

History of Merchants Bonding
13

Josh Penwell was promoted to Vice President of Contract Underwriting.

History of Merchants Bonding
14

Brad Rasmussen joins Merchants Bonding Company as Chief Information Officer and is named to the Executive Committee.

History of Merchants Bonding
14

Merchants opened the Kansas City office with Assistant Vice President Mike Foster.

History of Merchants Bonding
14

Bill Warner, Sr. Memorial Charity Golf Classic raised $130,000 for Blank Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

History of Merchants Bonding
15

Merchants opened the Phoenix office with Assistant Vice President Chris Bachman

History of Merchants Bonding
15

Bill Warner appointed to Chief Operating Officer.

History of Merchants Bonding
15

Local Commercial Underwriters are added in Chicago and Southern California.

History of Merchants Bonding
15

Merchants Bonding Company moved to new corporate headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa

History of Merchants Bonding
15

Merchants opened the Chicago office with Senior Contract Underwriter Ben Albertson.

History of Merchants Bonding
15

Merchants' surplus reached $100 million.

History of Merchants Bonding
16

Jim Holter appointed to Executive Committee.

History of Merchants Bonding
16

Merchants is named the 14th largest surety in the United States by the Surety and Fidelity Association of America.