A Prairie du Sac insurance provider which began in a village house celebrated 100 years in business on Wednesday.
Schwarz Insurance started on Feb. 12, 1923 at Raymond “R.J.” Schwarz’s residence on Prairie Avenue in Prairie du Sac as a personal, small business and farm insurance provider. Today, the company, which is operated by Schwarz’s granddaughter, president and CEO Kathy Schwarz. It has seven locations throughout Wisconsin, employs roughly 50 “really educated” people, Schwarz said, and provides insurance coverage in a wide range of areas.
The company website indicates that Schwarz now offers coverage for business, employee, home, auto, health, agribusiness, bonds, life and finances. Supplemental insurance is offered as well.
“Just being agile is how we’ve been able to grow and serve,” Kathy Schwarz said. “It has just evolved. You name it, we can do it.”
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R.J. Schwarz’s son, Don — Kathy’s father — joined Schwarz insurance in 1955, and Bob, Don’s brother, joined three years later. Kathy Schwarz said her father and uncle expanded the company’s business and farm insurance offerings, respectively.
The company opened a larger office in 1970 at 350 Prairie St. in downtown Prairie du Sac and purchased a facility outside of the area in 1986 when it acquired the former Bettinger-Neider insurance agency in Spring Green. One year later, Kathy Schwarz joined the company and operated from Baraboo.
In 1989, Schwarz Insurance purchased the Daehling Agency in Lodi. Five years later, the company extended north, purchasing four agencies in Marshfield and condensing into one centralized location. The provider then opened in Richland Center in 1998, and Pardeeville at the beginning of 2023.
The current Schwarz Insurance headquarters opened in 2012 and is located off of Highway 78 at 1420 N Ridge Drive in Prairie du Sac.
“What has set us apart from some of my competition is we have customers that, for a long time, generations of people, have come here for insurance,” Kathy Schwarz said. “One of the keys to our success is that people can come here and get the advice on any section of the business.”
Schwarz said clients have added more insurance services over the years and health plans through the company increased greatly after the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the resulting insurance exchanges.
Reporter John Gittings can be reached via phone at (920) 210-4695.