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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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c.1912. Photographer unknown, “[Thirteen men working in a large Dubuque Fire and Marine Insurance Company office in the Bank & Insurance Building],” Loras College Digital Collections, accessed April 12, 2014, https://digitalcollections.loras.edu/items/show/146.
Charles Schrup sits at a roll-top desk in his office at the Dubuque Fire & Marine Insurance Company, rooms 710 to 715 in the B & I Building. William J. Klauer Collection, Center for Dubuque History, Loras College
Letter head. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
State auditor's certification in 1883 of the company to carry out business. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
State of Iowa Insurance Department certification of business for the Dubuque Fire and Marine Insurance Company. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding.
Handwritten by-laws of the company. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

DUBUQUE FIRE AND MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY. Located at the corner of Main and Fourth, the firm in 1883 listed L. A. Styles, Surveyor and Frederick Ezekiel BISSELL as secretary. Nicholas J. SCHRUP, Sr. served as the secretary and general manager. Other well-known Dubuque businessmen associated with the company were John J. LINEHAN who owned a half-interest in the DUBUQUE STREET RAILWAY COMPANY and served as the president of the insurance company and Anthony F. HEEB, secretary and treasurer of the DUBUQUE BREWING AND MALTING COMPANY. Schrup continued in his role as secretary until the death of John Peter ELLWANGER when he became the company's president. (1)

Capitalized at $100,000, the company in 1890 had assets over $140,000. By 1897 the firm had become one of the largest of its kind in Iowa with 50,000 policies issued and assets of $350,000.

In 1905 the insurance company expanded its business into Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and New York. Their business continued to soar and agencies were soon established in Massachusetts, West Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Indiana, and Michigan. In 1906 Dubuque Fire and Marine took over and reinsured all the outstanding risks of the German National Insurance Company of Chicago. The announcement identified the Dubuque company as now one of the leading insurance companies in the nation. From less than $300,000, it would mean an annual premium increase to nearly one million dollars. The local workforce increased from eleven to about twenty-five employees. (2)

In 1907 a branch of the company was established in Washington, D.C. by N. J. Schrup. (3)

By 1918 Nicholas Schrup was president of the company. He was succeeded by Charles Joseph SCHRUP who by 1911 had become the company's Assistant Secretary.

In August, 1958 the Schrup family sold the business to John D. MacArthur and Bankers Life of Chicago. At the time of the sale, the company had $135 million in assets and insured over three million policy holders.

The company moved out of Dubuque in 1961 when the name was changed to Bankers Multiple Line, and the offices were moved to Chicago. In 1967 the remaining records of the company stored in the Fischer Building were moved to Des Moines.

The 1890-91 Dubuque City Directory listed the company at 7th and Main.

The 1911-12 Dubuque City Directory listed 710-715 listed 710-715 Bank and Insurance Building.

The 1951 and 1955 Dubuque City Directory listed the company address as the 9th floor of the Roshek Building.

Advertising token
Brass paperweight honoring the fiftieth anniversary of the company.
Letterhead. Photo courtesy: Cathy's Treasures, 156 Main, Dubuque
Advertising paperweight
Business card
Paper clip. Photo courtesy: Jim Lang



1. "N. J. Schrup's Life Interesting Story," Telegraph-Herald, November 12, 1924, p. 2

2. "Big Insurance Deal Consummated," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, November 20, 1906, p. 5

3. "The City in Brief," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 6, 1907, p. 2