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IIAH History
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IIAH History

The history of the Independent Insurance Agents of Houston is concurrent with the history of the city of Houston.  The rise and progress of Houston, as one of the greatest cities of the United States is parallel to the progress of the IIAH both due to foresight, determination and dynamic leadership. 

Texas struggled for her independence in the war of Mexico and won the battle at San Jacinto on April 21, 1937.  In that year, the town was located and named after the hero of San Jacinto, Sam Houston.  In the years to follow, Houston assumed the proportions of a city.  Her growth and prosperity continued.

As Houston grew, the city's requirements for insurance proportionately increased.  As a result, the Houston Fire Department was organized in 1866. The Department was recognized on September 17, 1874 and the 21st of April, the anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto, was adopted for the anniversary date of the Department.  From the "Directory of the City of Houston for 1877-78" it is noted that "from May 4, 1874 to May 1, 19875, there were fifteen fires, entailing a loss of $690,000, on which there was insurance to the amount of $17,600.  From May 4, 185 to May 1, 1876 there were thirty-four fires.  Of these, 17 were incendiary, 2 lamp explosions, 9 accidental; and 6 unknown causes.  Loss, $363,500; insurance $73,450". 

In 1878, there were 10 insurance agents listed in the City Directory.  Listed under "Corporation, Institution, Etc." was Houston Insurance Co., (Fire and Marine).  Capital stock $300,000.  Chartered 1858, Office, City Bank Building, B.A. Botts, President; E.H. Cushing, Secretary. 

Not much is known about the Insurance Exchange, which was known as the Local Fire Underwriters Board in the 1870s, until the National Association of Insurance Agents came into existence.  In 1898, the Texas Association of Insurance Agents held an emergency meeting in Waco, Texas and formed the Local Underwriters Association of Texas.  In 1915, the Insurance Exchange of Houston was organized under Walter Torrey as President.  It was incorporated on June 11, 1924 by L.O. Jarrel with the purpose to "reduce fire waste and elevate the individual professional standard of insurance business.  At the end of the decade, there were 37 members.