Born in England, Mark Howard immigrated to Michigan with his family when he was a teenager. He began his career in Ann Arbor, working as a postmaster and newspaper editor.
Howard eventually became a local agent for Hartford’s Protection Insurance Company. In 1846, he moved to Hartford to advance his career. Three years later, he inspired confidence in Protection Insurance when he arrived in St. Louis following the city’s fire to settle claims with cash.
In 1857, the Connecticut Legislature incorporated the Merchants’ Insurance Company and Howard was asked to be president. He accepted the position under the condition that the company would pay out qualified claims in cash. He was extremely successful until the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 consumed the company’s assets.
Dual Responsibility System
Less than two weeks after the fire, the Protective Insurance Company and Merchants’ Insurance Company merged to form the National Fire Insurance Company of Hartford. Howard was elected president. Under his leadership, he successfully argued for a dual responsibility system. Insurance rates would be lower but, in the event of claims, the insurance company would pay three-quarters of the loss and the insured would pay the rest.
Section 5, Lot 3
The Connecticut Magazine, Vol. VI. (1905). Chapter: Hartford The Stronghold of Insurance, page 631. http://books.google.com/books?id=H_ILAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA2-PA631&lpg=RA2-PA631&dq=mark+howard+-+National+fire+insurance+company+-+CT&source=web&ots=FsWvWnUifE&sig=1FdVwqzoIX8um-YKdyVT_v_Z54Y&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PRA2-PA631,M1.
Hartford Courant. “Death of Mr. Mark Howard,” January 24, 1887
Photo by Jeffrey Dutton