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H.O. Hirt Remembered

By August 5, 2011January 30th, 2023No Comments

Growing up in an Erie Insurance family, I heard my Dad speak often about H.O. Hirt or The Old Man as he was respectfully referred to by many of his employees. Mr. Hirt was greatly admired by my Father. Below is just one of his many recollections.

Doris (Smale) Honochick

The Erie Insurance Group—one of the finest companies represented by The Lehigh Agency—was founded by H.O. Hirt, who served as its President and CEO for over 50 years.

When I was hired as a claims adjuster by Mr. Hirt in 1956, the Erie was firmly entrenched as one of the premier Fire & Casualty companies in the country. Nevertheless I was instructed in no uncertain terms that I was never to offer a claim settlement that “any honest, well informed, intelligent person would have any reason to reject.” In other words, I was being told not to be a “chiseler” If the claim was to be paid, give 105% rather than 90%or 95% I knew immediately that I was in the employ of a great, idealistic, and dedicated man.

I was employed by the Erie for over 20 years and then represented them as an independent agent for an additional 20 years and in all that time, I remained committed to Erie’s founding purpose as expressed by H.O. Hirt “To provide its Policyholders with as near perfect protection, as near perfect service as is humanly possible and to do so at the lowest possible cost”

Erie representatives still hold to that philosophy and that is why, in retirement, the Erie continues to insure my cars, my home, and my life.

Russ Smale

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