Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2019

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Hastings Mutual began as the Michigan Mutual Tornado, Cyclone, and Windstorm Company in 1885. It was founded by D. W. Rogers, a local farmer from Hastings, Michigan, with 160 original members.

A mutual company is owned by the policyholders, whose contributions go into a pool to pay claims. Rogers felt that farmers were underinsured by the major companies, and few would take on claims for tornado damage.

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Michigan laws at the time did not allow for mutual windstorm companies. Rogers set out to change this, working with his brother in the state legislature. His neighbors supported him, the law was changed, and the company began specifically to deal with the problem of windstorm damage.

By 1908, the company was 43,000 members strong, and had capital of $74,000,000—a truly massive amount of money at that time. In fact, by 1925, the company was the second largest mutual insurance company selling windstorm insurance.

In 1959, the company reorganized into a general, non-assessable mutual insurance company and took the name of “Hastings Mutual Insurance Company.” The structure of the company has remained unchanged to this day.

Over 900 agencies serve customers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

Hastings Mutual Today

The company currently holds $673 million in assets, with a net worth of $300 million after deductions for claim reserves. A.M. Best, a company that measures financial worth, gave Hastings Mutual an “A+” rating, an indication of excellent financial strength.

The company offers personal, farm, and business products to the residents of its states including automobile, homeowners and rental insurance in addition to its farm and business coverage.

Because Hastings Mutual is a small company confined to six states, there are some differences between it and other, larger insurance companies.

Some of these differences are advantageous; others may be problematic for a person seeking automobile insurance.

Advantages of Hastings Mutual

The advantages of dealing with Hastings are numerous.

Although the company is not large enough to be reviewed by the major insurance ratings systems, customers overall have a good experience with Hastings. Because the company is limited in its customer base, each customer receives more specialized attention from the company.

Many farmers and others dealing with Hastings like this about the company, feeling that the major insurers do not have the time to understand their particular needs. Hastings is indeed a “hometown” insurance company.

Further, Hastings offers a variety of innovative products that many larger auto insurance companies do not.

For example, under its automobile policies, Hastings offers travel interruption protection, new vehicle replacement, auto loan or lease coverage, pet death benefits, and GPS theft insurance.

These types of coverage are not typically found in most automobile insurance policies from larger carriers, unless the customer is willing to pay a premium for the coverage. The company also offers gap coverage to insure you against the difference between the price of replacing your vehicle and the cost of a replacement.

Disadvantages of Hastings Mutual

Hastings is not for everyone, however. Many people used to dealing with online transactions may find the website a bit basic for their tastes.

While many larger companies offer online services such as claims filing, viewing the progress of a claim, and “chatting” with an agent, Hastings tends to do things the “old-fashioned” way.

Expect to spend more time on the phone or in person with your Hastings agent than online, finding information. As agents work limited hours, there may be times you cannot contact your agent, and may have to wait over a weekend to file a claim or ask a question.

Hastings also has limited capital when compared to the larger companies. Because the company was specifically founded to insure farmers against windstorm damage, the initial capital investments were fairly high, and this gives the company a good cushion from which to work.

However, branching into the automobile and other insurance coverage areas means that Hastings must cover much more than just windstorm damage. Although the company has met this challenge admirably, the safety you find in a huge insurance company may not be there.

There is always a risk, with any company, that a major cataclysm can deplete available funds, and smaller firms tend to be more vulnerable. Hastings has a long history of paying its claims, however, so the risk is no more than it would be with any small insurance company.

Hastings Mutual is a great company for those looking for the personalized service of a small insurance company with a history of helping those in the Midwest. However before choosing an auto insurance company make sure to compare multiple providers.

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