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When COUNTRY Financial decided to sell the Central Region Office building (former MSI Insurance headquarters) in 2013 it was time to clean out. By that point, the actual component companies of MSI Insurance were dispersed or disbanded. However, like the house of an aging parent, the closets were full of history and out it came. Photos, newsletters, slide trays, and annual reports, free for the taking. Even though I wasn't, in MSI/COUNTRY terms, a long-time employee, I thought the history of the company might be of some passing interest. Now, few things sound duller than a long slog through 60 years of insurance annuals and I wouldn't blame you from clicking on to some cat videos, but this sees the firm through the construction of two headquarters buildings, the long slow buildup of policyholders' equity and then the rapid decline in the business culminating in COUNTRY's more-or-less takeover of the firm.
I didn't get every single annual report. They weren't all lined up in order or anything, it was just boxes of stuff in the F. F. Rondeau Library (<--you'll see Felix in some of these annuals) and I got a stack of ones that looked interesting. In the very cold winter of 2013/14 I spent some frigid afternoons scanning these into PDFs and posting online, with a bit of narrative to go along with each year.
Separately, I have also been compiling a spreadsheet of financials over the years. As I write this I'm up to 1991 and it looks like the financial disclosure in the annuals gets much more summarized and less-detailed. This corresponds with my time at MSI when it seemed weirdly secretive about results. Once I get these financials as complete as possible, I will post those as well.
Several annual reports from 1953 (the earliest I had) up to 1969. Note that this is not a comprehensive set of these annuals, it's just the ones I had.
Scans of the annual reports I had from the 1970s. It's the decade we got out of Viet Nam, had severe inflation and President Nixon's wage and price controls, two energy shocks and built the Arden Hills home office.
Scans of the annual reports I had from the 1980s. Morning in America. We're in a pretty savage recession early in the decade, then begin to grow. Smoking banned in the offices. Berlin Wall comes down.
In 1984 the Company commissioned a retrospective to celebrate its 50th birthday. It's not terribly fascinating except for the most dedicated MSI enthusiasts, but here it is if you want to take a look. (NOTE: This is a 47 Meg file!)
Annual reports from the 1990s. By the end of the decade MSI would be well on its way towards its end. The reports get wordier but with less financial disclosure, a change in culture from the last 40 years. Also, I show up in late 1996, the year of The Collapse of the Apple Warehouses, one of the large commercial property losses that plagued MSI.
Page last updated 3/4/2014e mail me