Travelers Group

The Travelers Companies

The Travelers Companies is the second largest writer of commercial property casualty and personal insurance in the United States. The company is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota and has major operations in Hartford, Connecticut.

The company has field offices in every U.S. state, plus operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore, Shanghai and Canada. In 2007, the company reported revenues of US $26 billion and total assets of US $115 billion.

Travelers, through its subsidiaries and approximately 14,000 independent agents and brokers, provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance products and services to businesses, government units, associations, and individuals. The company offers insurance through three segments:

  • Personal Insurance, which includes home, auto and other insurance products for individuals
  • Business Insurance, which includes a broad array of property and casualty insurance and insurance-related services in the United States
  • Financial, Professional & International Insurance, which includes surety, crime, and financial liability businesses which primarily use credit-based underwriting processes, as well as property and casualty products that are predominantly marketed on an international basis


The main predecessor companies of Travelers are the St. Paul Companies and Travelers Property Casualty Corporation.

The St. Paul Companies was founded in 1853 in St. Paul, Minnesota, serving local customers who were having a difficult time getting claim payments in a timely manner from insurance companies on the east coast of the United States. It barely survived the Panic of 1857 by dramatically paring down its operations and later reorganizing itself into a stock company (as opposed to a mutual company). It soon spread its operations across the country. In 1998 it acquired USF&G, known formerly as United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company, an insurance company based in Baltimore, Maryland, but was forced to downsize by almost half due to a competitive marketplace.

Travelers was founded in 1864 in Hartford. Along the way it had many industry firsts, including the first automobile policy, the first commercial airline policy, and the first policy for space travel.

In the 1990s, it went through a series of mergers and acquisitions. It was bought by Primerica in 1993, but the resulting company retained the Travelers name. In 1995 it became The Travelers Group. It bought Aetna's property and casualty business in 1996.

In 1998, the Travelers Group merged with Citicorp to form Citigroup. However, the synergies between the banking and insurance arms of the company did not work as well as planned, so Citigroup spun off Travelers Property and Casualty into a subsidiary company in 2002, although it kept the red umbrella logo. Three years later, Citigroup later sold Travelers Life & Annuity to MetLife.

In 2003, Travelers bought renewal rights for Zenith's Commercial businesses. In 2004, Travelers merged with the St. Paul Companies and renamed itself St. Paul Travelers. This corporate name lasted until 2007, when the company repurchased the rights to the famous red umbrella logo from Citigroup and readopted it as its main corporate symbol, while also changing the corporate name to The Travelers Companies.

Travelers is currently 93 on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. companies.


Travelers provides support for charitable organizations in the community through two private foundations, Travelers Foundation and Travelers Connecticut Foundation. Travelers' community giving remains focused on community development, education, the arts, and culturally diverse programs. The company's employees are consistently active in community initiatives and give thousands of hours in volunteer time each year. In 2006, its two private foundations contributed up to $15 million dollars.

Alleged anticompetitive practices

In January 2007, Travelers agreed to pay US$ 77 million to six states to settle a class action suit and end investigations into its insurance practices. The charges involved paying the insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Companies contingent commissions to win business without the knowledge of clients, thus creating a conflict of interest. Additionally, the investigation examined whether Travelers had created the illusion of competition by submitting fake bids, thus misleading clients into believing they were receiving competitive commercial premiums.


The original logo of the red umbrella started in 1870 when it appeared in a newspaper ad for the young insurance company. It was revived in the late 1950s, when it was given its signature red color by Harry W. Knettell, then the account executive for The Travelers and Vice President at the Charles Brunelle advertising agency. During the late 1950s Charles Brunelle was the largest advertising agency in Hartford, a city known as "the insurance capital of the world" due to the many insurance companies in that town. The Travelers was one of their many insurance company clients.

In 2006, the company introduced a new brand advertising campaign, including four television commercials: Bridge, Boxer, Snowball and Shark. The commercials tell stories of ever-changing risks and the importance of keeping your insurance "in-synch." In 2007, the company added two additional commercials to the campaign, Risk and Luck, and Snowball was nominated for an Emmy.

Snowball featured a man, walking down a steep San Francisco sidewalk, who trips and knocks over a table of items at a garage sale. The man and the items roll down the street, forming a ball which gathers garbage cans, pedestrians, construction materials, motorcycles, light poles, and other items, in a manner very reminiscent of the familiar cartoon "snowball" effect or the cult video game Katamari Damacy. The creators of the ad say it is simply based on the snowball effect, they've never heard of the game, and that the resulting similarity was a surprise to them.

Also in 2007, the company sponsored the Travelers Championship golf tournament, formerly the Greater Hartford Open, on the PGA Tour.

As of April 2008, The Travelers has purchased back the rights to the famous Red Umbrella. The Red Umbrella is now featured in an adwith Paul Freeman.


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