Why choose South Easthope Mutual?
Neighbour helping neighbour
Your interests, our priority
We are continuously driven to provide an exceptional level of personalized service to our members. We treat members the way we want to be treated, with fairness and respect. Nothing less is acceptable.
Growing strong communities
When we all work together, we all succeed building stronger communities. That’s why we are here for you – today and tomorrow.
South Easthope Mutual Insurance. Working together for insurance that works.
“South Easthope Mutual makes you, our policyholder member, our community and quality results our priority.”
The History of South Easthope Mutual
Mutual Insurance Started in Canada
Mutual insurance started in Canada as a grassroots movement driven by citizens. The “Mutual Insurance Act” was passed in 1836. It was the first Act passed in Upper Canada without Crown approval. The Act permitted one mutual in each of the 6 “districts”. Gore Mutual was founded in 1839 and..Read More
The Townships of South Easthope and North Easthope were named in honour of Sir John Easthope (1784-1865), who served as a director of the Canada Company, the British land company that settled the Huron Tract beginning in 1828. Easthope Township was divided in 1843. John Easthope was a British MP..Read More
German Minutes of Oct. 6, 1871 Organizational Meeting
The Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the Township of South Easthope was organized on October 6, 1871 at the G.H. Kaufmann Hotel in Sebastopol, Ontario. South Easthope Mutual is the 7th oldest farmers’ mutual still in business. The minutes from the meeting that elected the first Board of Directors were written..Read More
October 6, 1871 Meeting Minutes in English
The minutes of the October 6, 1871 organizing meeting were originally written in German. They were translated in the 1940s by Rev. O.T. Stockman, who served as minister of Trinity Lutheran Church in Sebastopol.
G.H. Kaufmann Hotel
The G.H. Kaufmann Hotel in Sebastopol, Ontario, was the location of the organizational meeting of The Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the Township of South Easthope. It took place on October 6, 1871. Proprietor George Henry Kaufmann served as recording secretary for the election of the first Board of Directors,..Read More
Business was conducted in Tavistock when Robert Reid became Secretary. The Reid family was one of the first five families to settle in Tavistock. Underwriting was expanded from just farm fires to include schools, churches, town residences and businesses.
South Easthope Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company
In 1886, the company name was changed to South Easthope Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company according direction set out in the Insurance Act.
1887 Fire Policy
A 1887 fire policy from South EasthopeFarmers’ Mutual Insurance Company for $2,000 in coverage.
W.S. Russell Building
The company moved to the current location at the corner of Woodstock and Jane Street in 1889, when William S. Russell was appointed Secretary- Treasurer.
William S. Russell
William S. Russell was appointed Secretary-Treasurer. He conducted the insurance business from his shoe shop, serving the company for 42 years. In 1931, the company purchased the W.S. Russell building from his estate. Russell was born in Quebec, one of 13 children. He came to this area at the age..Read More
1890 Insurance Receipt
The premium for $1,000 of fire coverage only, in 1890 was $30. The receipt was signed by then Secretary-Treasurer W.S. Russell.
Board of Directors 1902-1908
The South Easthope Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company Board of Directors of 1902 to 1908 at the Mogk farm, on the north side of Hope Street W., now part of Tavistock. The Board of Directors’ Names: John Frazer, Werner Mogk, John Cook, Leonard Schaefer, Werner Yungblut, Albert Goring, Edwin Caister,..Read More
Tavistock’s First Volunteer Fire Brigade
Tavistock’s first volunteer fire brigade was established with 21 men on November 23, 1911, two years after the Village was incorporated. The Village installed 16 water hydrants connected to a 40,000 gallon water tank. The hose reel was purchased in 1912. At the call of fire, the rubber-clad and booted..Read More
Legal Precedent Set
In 1918, a denied claim made the precedent for the insurance principle of “Proximate Cause” in Roth v. South Easthope Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company. The outcome from this court action continues to be used globally as the legal test for Proximate Cause.
First Agents at South Easthope Mutual
The first agents were appointed at South Easthope Mutual. Previously, the Secretary did this job. In the early days, potential members would present themselves before the entire Board of Directors to make their application for membership.
Purchase of 1926 Ford Model T “Chemical” Firetruck
The purchase of a 1926 Ford Model T “chemical” firetruck was not so much a piece of South Easthope Mutual history, but more the Village of Tavistock’s. (How it came to be a special part of South Easthope Mutual can be found further ahead in time). The Tavistock Village Council..Read More
W.S. Russell Building 1931
In 1931, the company purchased the W.S. Russell building from the former Secretary-Treasurer’s estate. Director Edwin Caister (1894-1931) was appointed the Secretary.
F. Marguerite Caistor
F. Marguerite Caistor started with the company in 1931 to assist her father Edwin Caister when he was appointed Secretary-Treasurer. He had served the company since 1894. Marguerite Caister was appointed Secretary-Treasurer in 1942 and continued until her retirement in 1973 at age 72. Marguerite missed only three days of..Read More
First Policyholder Refund
In 1938, South Easthope was the first farmers’ mutual to issue a policyholder refund, an idea suggested by the Provincial Insurance Inspector as an alternative to reducing rates. We had $93,000 in surplus with $12.5 million in risk.
British Aid fund
In the midst of World War II, the Mutual Fire Underwriters Association of Ontario (of which South Easthope Mutual was a member) created the British Aid Fund, where member companies would donate three per cent of their surplus to be used for relief of the distress of bomb-stricken farmers or..Read More
Prompted by Hurricane Hazel in 1954, limited coverage for windstorm was introduced in 1957. The perils of theft and lightning to livestock were also added during this period.
Farm Mutual Reinsurance Plan
South Easthope was among the first companies to establish the Farm Mutual Reinsurance Plan (now called Farm Mutual Re), Canada’s first reinsurance company.
Edward Pellow started with the company in 1965, as Manager and Assistant Secretary. He served as Tavistock agent from 1967 to 1969. He was appointed Secretary-Treasurer in 1973 and served until his retirement in 2003. The company underwent many changes and advances during his 38-year tenure. The classes of windstorm..Read More
A New Office Building
The old Russell building was cold, drafty and heated by coal stoves. It was demolished and a new single-storey brick office was built. This office would serve South Easthope until 2015.
South Easthope Mutual’s 100th Anniversary
1971 marked South Easthope Mutual’s 100th Anniversary. The Board of Directors marked the occasion by extending an invitation to its policyholders to attend a rib and pigtail supper at the Tavistock and District Community Arena on October 5, 1972. There was such a great response, the decision was made to..Read More
Fire Mutuals Guarantee Fund
In 1976, the Fire Mutuals Guarantee Fund was established, making the farmers’ mutual system one of the strongest networks in the world.
A two-storey addition was built onto the 1967 office building.
Woodstock Agency Office Opens
Our Woodstock Agency office was opened to better serve our members in that area.
1926 Ford Model T Firetruck Restoration
A Campbellford, Ontario collector advertised the Village of Tavistock 1926 Ford Model T Firetruck in the Tavistock Gazette. The Board of Directors of South Easthope Mutual decided to purchase the truck. It was returned it to Tavistock for restoration by a team of local craftsmen and tradespeople.
The Restored 1926 Ford Model T Firetruck
The restored 1926 Ford Model T Firetruck was presented to the Tavistock Fire Fighters Association in August of 1990. The truck is still operable and appears in shows and parades. It is maintained by Zehr Automotive in Tavistock. It can now be found on display in the South Easthope Mutual..Read More
Our name changed again 1990 to the current South Easthope Mutual Insurance Company.
Mitchell Agency Office Opens
We opened our Mitchell Agency office to provide local service to our members in the area.
W.S. Russell Home Acquired
In 1992, South Easthope Mutual acquired the W.S. Russell home. It stood near the current south entrance to the parking lot. This was part of the Board of Director’s plan to acquire area property to prepare for expansion in the future.
A new showroom to house the 1926 Tavistock Fire truck, additional office space and a file room were added to the 1967 office building.
Development of Software
South Easthope Mutual embraced computer technology in the 1970’s and developed our own software as a tool to manage the company more efficiently. Other mutual insurance companies in Canada shared this need. In 1996, our subsidiary company, “SEH Computer Systems Inc.” was established. Today, it operates independently from the insurance..Read More
To celebrate our 125th anniversary, policyholders as well as local residents were invited to Queen’s Park in Tavistock on Saturday June 15, 1996. About 6,000 people attended and many sat down to a complimentary meal served in the arena by staff members and service club volunteers. The theme was ‘Country..Read More
Tavistock Paintings by Lance Russwurm
To celebrate Tavistock’s 150th anniversary in 1998, South Easthope Mutual commissioned these paintings by local artist Lance Russwurm. The compositions depict four historic scenes from the village and an area farm. Proceeds from limited edition prints are donated to Muscular Dystrophy, the charity supported by our local firefighters. Prints can..Read More
By 2004, South Easthope Mutual had grown significantly from 1970. We now had over 7,000 policyholders, $14 million in surplus and $2.2 billion in property risk.
Listowel Agency Office Opens
The agency office in Listowel was opened to serve our members of the Listowel area.
The Board of Directors purchased Herbert’s Alley in Tavistock. With this purchase, the entire property of South Easthope’s head office now encompassed eight parcels.
New Office Process Begins
The South Easthope Mutual Board of Directors invited proposals from three contractors for both an addition to the original 1967 office or a completely new building. The process for our new office had begun.
Building for the Future
In 2014, the construction of a new office building was awarded to Scheidel Construction of Cambridge. Local contractors were to be used whenever possible. The maple trees on our property that could be moved were transplanted to Queen’s Park and Optimist Park in Tavistock. A Butternut tree almost cancelled the..Read More
The Butternut Tree Story
The fireplace mantel and coffee table in our foyer and the wood wall in our showroom were milled from a butternut tree that stood on the grounds of where the new office would be. The property used to be the front lawn of the Matthies house at 76 Woodstock Street..Read More
New Office Ground Breaking
We broke ground for our new office on the coldest day of the year, February 20th using the same shovel from the 1967 ground breaking. The new building was ready for move-in on October 31st. Habitat for Humanity received some materials from the former building and it was demolished in..Read More
New Office Open House
June 11th was the perfect day for the Grand Opening and Public Open House of the new South Easthope Mutual office building. We hosted over 400 members and visitors from the insurance community as they toured through our new building. We are now set for the future to grow and..Read More
Our Board of Directors
Middle Row Seated (l to r): Glen Blair, Linda Drost, Kenneth Yeoman
Back Row Standing (l to r): David Crane, Jeffrey Schultz, John Mackay, Marianne Cook, Peter Thompson