The story of Alamere Insurance begins during the fabled days of the California gold rush, when hopeful prospectors from all over the world raced to the hills to find their fortune. Among them was 21-year-old John Mueller, the son of an immigrant farmer who had settled on the Sacramento River. A "miner forty-niner," Mueller was one of the lucky few who struck it rich during the first wave of the gold rush, using his newfound riches to establish a small merchant shop in San Francisco and support his family farm.
As the gold rush grew and waves of people began descending on California, the Mueller farm became the subject of land disputes, as miners tried to stake their claims on every available piece of land. In the years before statehood, miners often resorted to violence to resolve claim disputes, and Mueller's father and older brother were once involved in a gun battle to protect themselves and their home.
In 1850, the family (successfully) argued its case before a judge, with the young John Mueller presenting most of the arguments. He developed a lasting interest in title law, and headed east to study, receiving his law degree in 1856. He returned to California and established his law practice in San Francisco the following year.
With the introduction of title insurance in the mid-1870s, Mueller saw an opportunity to protect farmers and other small landowners such as his father. Mueller established Alamere Title Insurance in 1875, providing title insurance to homeowners, farmers, and even his fellow prospectors – many of whom had lost their claims to companies or other prospectors who took them by force. Mueller chose the name "Alamere" after a waterfall in Marin County, in what is now Point Reyes National Seashore Park. This waterfall, which tumbles into the sea, was one of Mueller's favorite hiking spots as a young man, and in his later years, he built his retirement home near the area.
Alamere continued along the path of title insurance throughout the late 1880s and 1890s. In 1906, after the Great Earthquake of San Francisco, fire destroyed much of the city. With new construction going on throughout the area, the demand for fire protection and other property and casualty insurance shot up. Alamere seized on these new opportunities and business continued to thrive.
The years from 1907 to 1920 saw substantial growth for the company into P&C lines of business, insuring homeowners and businesses across northern California. In 1912, Alamere divested its title insurance business to focus on the increasing demand for P&C products, and began issuing stock to raise capital.
In the 1920s, as automobile ownership began to grow, Alamere expanded into auto insurance. It also began doing business in nearby states, beginning with Oregon and Washington, and eventually growing steadily across the West. Like many insurance companies of the era, Alamere survived the Great Depression of the 1930s by mutualizing, becoming Alamere Mutual Insurance.
After World War II, Alamere saw a demand for life insurance policies among returning veterans, many of whom were not covered under their veterans' benefits. Alamere received its life insurance charter by purchasing a dormant shell insurance company in 1949. With the booming post-war economy, the company saw exponential growth in life, P&C, health, and commercial insurance. By the early 1970s, Alamere was authorized to do business in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
In the late 1990s, a new Alamere took advantage rising stock markets by demutualizing and issuing stock. Alamere Insurance is now a publicly traded company with $281 billion in assets under management. Today, Alamere Insurance is focused on providing a comprehensive suite of products to individuals and businesses to protect those nearest and dearest to them, just as John Mueller protected his family farm so many years ago.