On January 1, 1875 a small number of farmers in the towns of Amherst and Clarence met in Swormville and signed an agreement, whereby they mutually pledged themselves to pay any member for any losses suffered by fire or lightning. Fifty-nine (59) farmers signed this agreement for what was to become the first farmers' co-operative assessment company in Western New York. No applications were used, nor were any policies written in the early years. Each person was charged one dollar ($1.00) to be in the Association. George W. Hoover and Henry B. Secrest were the prime movers in organizing the Association and served as the first President and Secretary. On that same day, three other directors were elected. Two collectors were appointed for each town the company represented. The company's first name was Erie and Niagara County Farmers' Association.
Two years later on February 3, 1877 the second meeting of the Association was held and the constitution and by-laws were adopted. It was decided that applications and policies be used and, because the early members were largely of German decent, the first policies of the Association were printed in German.
The first test of the Association came in the summer of 1877, when lightning struck and burned the barn of Andrew Carmer in the Town of Clarence. All but two members paid, and those two members were taken off of the membership list and were never allowed back into the Association. Withstanding this first test, the word spread far and wide and new members joined by the hundreds. By 1884 there were 4,300 members.
On June 14, 1887 the Association was incorporated under the new New York State Insurance Law regulating insurance companies. At this time, the Association changed its name to the Erie and Niagara County Farmers' Insurance Association. On December 19, 1960 the Association again changed its name by dropping the words "County Farmers'." The name Erie and Niagara Insurance Association remains to this day.
The Association has merged with other companies on three occasions. Ashford Mutual Insurance Association in Delevan with 1,000 policyholders joined Erie and Niagara on November 1, 1958. Amherst Clarence Insurance Association joined Erie and Niagara on January 1, 1982. One year later on January 1, 1983, Cattaraugus Allegany was the last to join Erie and Niagara.
Throughout the company's history, the company grew from county to county. It was not until 1982 the company was licensed to write in all of New York State except in the boroughs of Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, and Queens. The growth of Erie and Niagara has really taken place in the last 15 years. Whereas it took 120 years for the surplus level to reach $16,000,000, the last 15 years has seen the surplus increase fivefold to over $85,000,000. Direct premium likewise has grown in the last 15 years from $20,600,000 to approximately $54,000,000.
As the company went through name changes, so did the company's location undergo changes. The company remained in its original location in Swormville until May 1, 1923. At that time, the company moved to Williamsville above a Marine Midland Bank branch office, where it remained for 36 years. In 1959 the company constructed a new building for its use until 1973, when the company moved to the Town of Newstead. That building served the company's needs for 14 years, until the company outgrew it and moved into Sheridan Meadows in the Town of Amherst for 6 years. Today the company resides at 8800 Sheridan Drive in the Town of Clarence in a 30,000 square foot facility.