January 07, 2013

Barton Mutual Insurance Co. open for business, back on solid ground

Judge approves plan by Missouri Department of Insurance to release insurer from rehabilitation

A Barton County judge has granted a motion by the Department of Insurance to release Barton County Mutual Insurance Company from department control, thanks to its stronger financial condition. Barton Mutual came to the brink of insolvency after paying claims from the 2011 Joplin tornado. At the department's request, a judge placed the company in rehabilitation in December 2011.

"Keeping the company in business to serve rural Missourians was a top priority for the department." said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. "Through an innovative arrangement with the Missouri Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association, along with significant underwriting and management changes overseen by the department, Barton is now poised for a long and prosperous future. This is a win for policyholders, agents, the insurance industry and the city of Liberal, Mo., where Barton is the largest employer."

Barton Mutual has about 29,000 policyholders. It had premium sales of $32 million in 2011, but reported claims of $48 million related to the Joplin tornado.

Consumers or insurance agents with questions about Barton Mutual should contact the Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.