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More than 75 years of making positive change possible

GuideOne Insurance was founded upon two key philosophies: a commitment to social responsibility and a dedication to serving customers who strengthen the community. The founder, William N. Plymat, launched the company in 1947 and operated from the basement of his mother’s Des Moines home until his idea that a company that insured only nondrinkers proved prosperous. William and his associates were visionaries who saw that promoting and rewarding a healthy lifestyle could also produce a healthy and rewarding business venture.

Listening closely to their customers’ needs throughout the following decades, the company was able to respond, again and again, by providing nimble solutions. They believed that specialty insurance products and niche markets had a bright future, which paved the way for modern insurance.

GuideOne’s 75-year history reveals a remarkable legacy of melding social conscience with sound business practice. We’ve steadily grown since William’s original innovation and have continued to be a leader in the industry.

A History of Firsts

  • On December 30, 1946, the State of Iowa issued GuideOne, then known as Preferred Risk Mutual Insurance, a certificate of incorporation. Although the Iowa Insurance Commissioner had doubts that the company was a viable enterprise, he issued the license on April 1, 1947.
  • In 1948, GuideOne Specialty Mutual Insurance company, then known as Midwest Mutual Insurance, was established as one of the first motorcycle insurers in the U.S.
  • GuideOne introduced America’s first multi-peril package policy for churches in 1962.
  • In 1971, employee morale and efficiency received a major boost when the company introduced the four-day work week. Together with the other employee programs like free lunches and flexible work hours for mothers, the new work week demonstrated the mutual commitment between the company and its employees.
  • In 1980, GuideOne donated seed money to help Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) expand nationally.
  • In 1994, GuideOne formed construction company (now known as GC3) to focus on the repair and reconstruction after a claim.
  • In 1998, the GuideOne Insurance name was officially adopted to create a unified, identifiable product and a strong national brand. The GuideOne Foundation was also established to help further the company's social mission of eliminating the epidemic of drinking and driving and underage drinking across the U.S.
  • In 2008, GuideOne introduced SafeChurch® is the most comprehensive risk management website for GuideOne religious organization customers.
  • In 2020, GuideOne National became the first U.S. carrier to write on Whitespace, a digital global (re)insurance trading platform. 

For more than 75 years, GuideOne has continued to cultivate products and services to meet the ever-changing needs of those we serve. Learn more about us.