Saint Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. was founded March 5, 1853, in St. Paul, Minnesota, serving local customers who were having a difficult time getting claim payments in a timely manner from insurance companies on the east coast of the United States. It barely survived the Panic of 1857 by dramatically paring down its operations and later reorganizing itself into a stock company (as opposed to a mutual company). It soon spread its operations across the country. In 1998 it acquired USF&G, known formerly as United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company, an insurance company based in Baltimore, Maryland, for $3.9 billion in stock and assumed debt. By buying USF&G, they went from the 13th to the eighth largest property and casualty insurance company in the United States. Through economies of scale between the two companies, and a difficult business environment, they downsized the company substantially over the coming years by selling certain business units to focus on more profitable business units.
A picture-perfect trio of islands lapped by turquoise waters, the Maltese archipelago has all the charm of nearby Sicily with far fewer tourists. Valletta, the tiny nation’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, feels like something plucked straight from Westeros. The historic walled city dates back to 1565, and has a vibe that’s Mediterranean with a North African twist. This underrated destination is finally stepping into the global limelight as a 2018 European Capital of Culture. To celebrate the occasion, the city has planned more than 140 projects and 400 events throughout the year. The festivities begin on January 20, with contemporary dance, a choral symphony, and acrobatic performances across the city’s four main squares. Should you miss the grand opening, swing by in February for Carnival, or in June for the Malta International Arts Festival and the Valletta Film Festival. —Diana Hubbell
Those with a predilection for high-thread-count sheets will soon be able to luxuriate at the Grand Bohemian Hotel, a ritzy boutique property with Carolina charm. In the meantime, discerning visitors can bunk at the swank Westin Poinsett, a historic hotel that was rescued from the wrecking ball in the late '90s, laying the groundwork for Greenville’s great Southern revival. —Rachel Tepper Paley
The city has cemented its reputation as a must-visit destination with its most recent honor: it’s been named 2018 World Design Capital, the first ever in the Americas. It’s no wonder: despite challenges like the recent earthquake, young Mexican creatives are no longer searching for opportunities abroad but staying to build something meaningful at home. Their success is evident in arts initiatives like Zonamaco and the Material Art Fair in February, Design Week Mexico in October, and the Condo Fair, which will debut in Mexico’s capital in April. Aesthetes have plenty of design-forward places to stay and eat, too. Bed down at Downtown Mexico, the newest hotel by Grupo Habita, which plans to open another property, Catedral M X, nearby in 2018. Or book a room at the Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City, which unveiled an ambitious redesign by Gilles & Boissier in 2016. Dine at Enrique Olvera’s world-famous Pujol, which relocated last year to a mid-century house and has a fresh, pared-down look. The new space is outfitted in natural materials — a fitting design for a restaurant that celebrates wood-fired cooking. —Laura Itzkowitz
In 2004, the St. Paul and Travelers Companies merged and renamed itself St. Paul Travelers, with the headquarters set in St. Paul, Minnesota. In August of that year, it was charged of misleading statements associated with the merger. Despite many assurances from CEO Jay Fishman that the newly formed company would retain the St. Paul name, the corporate name only lasted until 2007, when the company repurchased the rights to the famous red umbrella logo from Citigroup and readopted it as its main corporate symbol, while also changing the corporate name to The Travelers Companies.
Leaf-peeping and a thriving farm-to-table food scene (the country’s first CSA sprouted here) lure out-of-towners to the bucolic far western corner of Massachusetts. But the arts have long been their own major draw: Tanglewood, the Clark Art Institute, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival all call the area home, as does MASS MoCA, a popular modern art destination housed in a circa-1800s textile mill in North Adams.
Exposure to the great outdoors comes with immeasurable health benefits, but as our lives continue to get busier, it becomes harder to spend time outdoors. Humana and NPF are celebrating the significant benefits of spending time outdoors in our new Owners Guide by offering tips on how to start replenishing and refreshing your mind, body, and spirit in a national park.
This year, Buenos Aires becomes a hub for art, sports, and politics: the inaugural Art Basel Cities program, the Youth Olympic Games, and the G20 will all take place in the city, beginning with the multi-year Art Basel initiative. Though the Argentinean capital is already home to an eclectic collection of galleries, Art Basel Cities promises to elevate Buenos Aires’ reputation in the global art scene by offering professional support for local artists, as well as lectures and workshops throughout the year to draw art lovers to the city.
Just an hour and a half north of Melbourne, Nagambie Lakes is one of Australia’s oldest viticulture areas, with some vines dating back to the mid 19th century. This part of Victoria has long been considered a great day-trip destination for its outdoor activities — waterskiing, rowing, and sailing — and renowned wineries. Now there’s reason to linger, thanks to the November debut of the Mitchelton Hotel, a 58-room resort and spa at Mitchelton Winery. With its fine-dining restaurant, the Ministry of Chocolate, and 5½ miles of trails circumnavigating the vineyard, it’s the perfect base for a weekend in the region. Start your trip with a tasting on-site — Mitchelton is known for its Riesling — before venturing to other nearby wineries like Tahbilk, which has been producing quality vintages since 1861, and Goulburn Terrace, which specializes in natural wines. Other popular local vintners include McPherson Wines, David Traeger Wines, and Box Grove Vineyard. —John Scarpinato