Business property insurer FM Global, announced plans to celebrate its 175th anniversary with a continued focus on uniquely placed engineering innovation and the launch of several new initiatives, including the unveiling of a new state-of-the-art natural hazards laboratory.

The company also plans to introduce major developments in fire protection science and engineering; and a program to use social media as a means to connect FM Global's heritage with its future, and to stimulate risk management conversations online.

These forward-thinking efforts, says the company, reflect the innovative legacy of the company's founder, Zachariah Allen, one of the first professional risk managers in the United States. In 1835, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Allen pioneered the creation of the first mutual property insurance company for factories by bringing together like-minded manufacturers who were committed to loss prevention. The company was built for the sole benefit of its policyholders.  

When it was founded, says FM Global, the organization was the first insurance company to take an engineering-based approach to help clients protect property and insure against loss. Today, the company remains the only major insurance company in the world to offer this unique approach of underwriting through loss prevention engineering. More than one of every three FORTUNE 1000 companies turns to FM Global's expertise to help protect their physical assets in nearly 200 countries. FM Global has grown to become a US$4.6 billion company and ranks 17th for longevity among the FORTUNE 1000.

"Few companies today can say they have endured for nearly two centuries and still have a sustainable business model that continues to add value," said Shivan S. Subramaniam, chairman and CEO. "For 175 years, we have believed the majority of all property loss is preventable, not inevitable. Through a unique engineering-driven approach to underwriting, in close partnership with our client-owners, FM Global continues to help companies protect their business operations and shareholder value and back them with stability, capacity and financial strength."

In 2010, as part of the company's anniversary, FM Global will:

•    Unveil a new 72,000-square-foot (6,700-square-meter) natural hazards laboratory, one of the world's largest research facilities for replicating and understanding risks such as earthquakes, hurricanes and hailstorms. The facility is designed to help companies—and the communities where they are located—minimize the impact of major natural disasters. The one-of-a-kind facility is part of FM Global's 1,600 acre, U.S. $125 million Research Campus in West Glocester, R.I., where the company also studies such risks as warehouse-size fires as well as dust and gas explosions.

•    Release the findings of two research studies—one that examines the environmental impact of fires and a second that looks at physical risk management and its relationship to shareholder value.

•    Lead a global collaboration of the best and brightest in academia and industry by engaging experts in fire science in the development of FM Global's latest fire protection computer models via an open source software approach.

•    Create an opportunity for the insurance and risk management community to connect with, and learn from, the company's founder, Zachariah Allen, through a social media program that leverages Facebook and Twitter. Managed by FM Global, the program will share useful daily loss prevention advice that is thought-provoking and easy to implement, and will provide a forum for friends and followers to share ideas and engage in discussions.

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