The Washington Redskins, National Symphony, Planned Parenthood and the advertising agency of Henry J. Kaufman & Associates have at least one thing in common - their insurance agency.
Wolf and Cohen Inc., the agency, is the oldest in the city and one of the ten largest in metropolitan Washington now writing general insurance lines.
The company first opened for business 100 years ago this morning at 700 14th St. NW by Simon Wolf, a Washington attorney and Philanthropist who was D.C. Recorder of Deeds for a decade and Consul-General to Egypt under President Garfield.
Wolf soon joined by his son-in-law, Myer Cohen, a corporation lawyer here. Ever since, Wolf and Cohen has been writing insurance policies for businesses, household and individuals.
According to Wolf and Cohen President Samuel S. Kaufman, the company initially was engaged in life insurance, as agent for Penn Mutual. General insurance with companies based in London began in the 1890s.
The early contracts permitted the D.C. firm to write certain amounts of property insurance according to their own judgment and Wolf and Cohen could insure a blacksmith for $3,500 or a department store for $5,000.
A 1910 policy in the company's files covered the old Christian Heurich Brewery where the Kennedy Center and Watergate complex now stand. The policy included something rare for those days, liability insurance. The annual premium was $102.
Kaufman, who joined the firm as an officer boy in 1929, was elected vice president and treasurer at the time of incorporation in 1933, and president in 1955. Wolf and Cohen annula premium volume in 1929 was $35,000; today the volume exceeds $3.5 million.
Now based at 5225 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Wolf and Cohen places business in all domestic and foreign insurance markets and represents Firemans Fund American, Insurance Co. of North America, Travelers, Chubb & Son, Hartford, Maryland Casualty and Bay State Insurance.
A new concept developed in Wolf and Cohen in 1966 has proved a success for not only that firm but also Shannon & Luchs Insurance Agency and Edward J. Walsh & Son. The three formed a single organization - Federated Insurance Agencies - to provide unified management, personnel and shared computer services for each company.
Combined premium volume of the three firms results in financial savings for customers of each.