• Post last modified:October 5, 2020
  • Post category:Insurance

When you think about insurance, you probably think home, health and automobile.  People fail to realize that insurance has been around for nearly 125 years.  That dates insurance back all the way to 1878, when Rough Notes first began to trek and lay the foundation down to the insurance industry as we know it today.

It all started back when Dr. Henry C. Martin decided to quit his career in medicine and began to tackle the insurance industry of the 1850’s.  As he traveled the rugged territory, Dr. Martin took “rough notes” of his experiences in the industry.  At a later time, with the help of his wife, Dr. Martin started publishing the field notes in newsletters for his agents. As the rave responses poured in from agents, the newsletters became a magazine.  Insurance Rough Notes started in 1878 where it gave agents key information on the most important process; how to sell. Beyond the information and content the magazine delivered, Insurance Rough Notes’ powerful editorials let to better insurance laws and fire underwriting.

From then on, Rough Notes became nationally recognized as the “headquarters for insurance supplies”. 

1894 marked a key plateau for Rough Notes as they introduced the Loose-Leaf System-which marks the birth of the agency management system, monthly accounting books, and a scientifically-engineered cabinet, Clark’s O-N-T Spool Cabinet.   

1898 to 1902, Rough Notes launches several key products and business ventures including:

  • The capture of U.S. and Canadian markets with mail-order catalog and selling insurance supplies and office furniture. 
  • Launches the American Insurance Institute- a professional training school for agents. Rough Notes helped support through educational material in textbook form.

1902 and The San Francisco Earthquake And Fire

                Tens of thousands of people become homeless, as the San Francisco earthquake demolishes the city.  Over  night, 75,000 proof-of-loss forms are requested by telegram.  In 1916, Dr Martin dies after four decades after founding the Rough Notes Company. The company is then sold to E. Jay Wohlgemuth. One year after, the first educational magazine The Insurance Salesman is created.  By 1919, subscriptions soar to 15,000.The 1920’s were an incredible time for Rough Notes.

  •  With the series The Insurance Salesman: “How To Sell”, “How To Solicit” and “What To Say”, The magazine becomes the most profitable insurance magazine circulating nationally.
  • With their new products designed for the modern agent, over 25,000 orders are processed yearly!
  • Policy, Form & Manual Analysis Service (PF&M) is introduced and remains the company’s leading products.

1926 TURNS 50!

And with that comes even more technology advances and even more success for Rough Notes.  Rough Notes launched the photographic advertising- advertising the reasons for needing insurance. 

In 1927, Rough Notes introduces the 1-2-3-4 system. During the great depression, Rough Notes continued to prevail through the most difficult times.  They created cost-cutting techniques and promotional campaigns through advertisement and sales kits.  They then created Coverages Applicable which becomes the industry standard and remains in print.  

 The 1930’s were just as successful as years past with RN creating the easy-to-use cancellation tablets for agents in calclulation pro rata earned, the book publishes What It Costs and celebrating their 60th anniversary with the profit sharing plan, enabling employees to share in the company’s success.  In 1939, Albert Wohlgemuth is elected president after his brother’s death.  From there, Rough Notes becomes the largest general insurance magazine circulating in the nation. 

As Rough Notes headed into the 50’s and early 60’s, new technology had been introduced.  Such tools at the AAA (Automated Agency Accounting) which was its own computer center.  RN is the only company that offers both automated and manual systems.

By 1972ACORD (Agency Company Organization for Research and Development) is created to standardize insurance forms throughout the agency.  ACORD asked RN to be a part of this early development stage.   

The late 1980’s and 90’s proved to be just as busy and successful as the years past.  PF&Mgoes from loose leaf to CD-ROM, Offers state-approved pre-licensing courses for insurance agents and RN creates its own software called “Three-Part Harmony” which was designed to keep independent insurance agents informed of the changing rules and coverages.

Rough Notes in today’s time has created what is known as Producer Online, which  is a unique risk evaluation sales and resource tool.  Integrating many of Rough Notes’ products into an easy-to-use Web-based format, Producer Online help’s producers identify the risk exposures and detailed coverage analysis associated with both personal and commercial lines policies. 

Rough Notes  has paved the way for independent insurance agencies nationwide.  They have allowed the independent agent stay alive through their products, knowledge and tools in order for the “family owned” companies to stay alive and true to the customers that realize the importance of dealing with the independent agents.  They continue to be a predominant backbone to the structure of insurance as we know it.  Here at Paradiso Insurance,  we can not begin to give enough thanks and recognition to a company that has given so much to us.  But giving people an opportunity to read and watch as to what a truly amazing company they are, is what we have done.