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Selective Insurance Company was started in 1926 by store owner Daniel L.B. Smith in Sussex County, New Jersey. The start of the company was housed in the general store that Smith owned. Two years after starting, the company became a stock company with the name: Selected Risks Indemnity Company. In 1929, the company formed Selective Risks Insurance to provide auto and property fire damages as well. The Selective Insurance Company would expand for the first time in 1931 to include general liability, workers compensation, property and municipal government insurance. Six years later the company added insurance coverage to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia.
Three new states would be added to the Selective Insurance Company line up with Rhode Island, Connecticut and West Virginia. By 1946, the company had 147 employees and had written 45,000 policies to more than 25,000 policyholders in the eight states the company represented. The separate companies of Selective would merge and would become Selective Risks Insurance Company.
Selective Insurance would continue to grow and by the late sixties would have more than 330 employees at the Branchville, NJ home office. The company would add fidelity bonds, contract surety, and commercial surety bonds. The focus for these bonds would be for individual business and government needs. In 1984 the company would begin selling flood insurance. By 1991, Selective insurance had become the largest employer in Sussex County, New Jersey. Six years later, the Midwest region was expanded as coverage for the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin was added. Coverage for Rhode Island is added in 1998. In 2001, a mobile claims system allowed the agents to get claims filed and handled faster for their customers. The following year, the Selective Insurance Company saw one billion dollars in net written premiums.