History of Sanborn's Mexico Auto Insurance

sanborns mexican insurance history bannerSanborn's Insurance, a well-known symbol of security when traveling into Mexico, began with a vision over 70 years ago when Dan Sanborn, a journalist from Kankakee, Illinois, moved to the Rio Grande Valley at the southern tip of Texas, with his family. He began working for a local newspaper and soon developed his own weekly newsletter.

Mr. Sanborn addressed his newsletter to non-resident property owners to keep them informed about local happenings, from weather to fruit and vegetable prices. He became well known for being a "Valley" expert even though he had only lived there for a few years. Little did anyone know how in the course of his work, he would become enamored with Mexico, the Mexican culture, and its people. This passion would lead him to work on a project, putting together the unique highway guides to Mexico that Sanborn's is known for today.

In 1948 Dan Sanborn opened a storefront on Broadway & Business 83 in McAllen, Texas to sell citrus juice, bus tickets, curious, and produce his newsletter. After being bombarded by requests from concerned tourists about Mexican insurance, Mr. Sanborn saw a need and filled it. Dan Sanborn further diversified his business by obtaining an insurance license and began acting as an agent for visitors driving south of the border. That same year, Sanborn's roadside souvenir store was transformed into Sanborn's Travel Agency. Sanborn's provided insurance coverage to tourists traveling into Mexico as well as tourists traveling to the United States.

Sanborn's grew so fast that a bigger location was needed to entertain customers. They soon moved to a second location in McAllen, TX. Who could have known what the future would hold? Here was a man doing what he loved, filling a need, and making money, all at the same time. Sanborn's soon relocated a third time which coincided with the introduction of their new marketing strategy. It was "Dan Sanborn's Travelog" that catapulted their business over the top.

The Travelog quickly became the bible of all tourists driving into Mexico. Through Mr. Sanborn's meticulous notes and personal first-hand experience traveling into a country he felt passionate about, the Travelog quickly developed. It was the first time anyone had attempted such a detailed description of how to get around in Mexico. There it was! Mr. Sanborn's mile-by-mile, and smile-by-smile, highway guide to Mexico custom made for his customer's itinerary. This travelogue was instrumental in bridging the gap that educated tourists about the Mexican culture and how to respect it by understanding it. It was detailed and descriptive, almost down to the bumps on the road, including every little restaurant, motel, and local convenience store. Furthermore, the Travelog recommended modes of transportation, whether it was a car, bus or mule. It provided mileage from point to point, with tips on shortcuts for more efficient travel, and even information on which roads to avoid. It was unique. The Travelog became so popular that even the Tourism Office of Mexico recommended Sanborn's as an expert source of information on traveling into the country.

Mr. Sanborn began to open a number of local agencies from Brownsville to Laredo. Soon afterward, he started to appoint independent agents who were authorized to use the Sanborn name. The first agent to benefit from the goodwill of the Sanborn name was Pottinger Insurance Agency in Nogales, Arizona.

By the 1960s, the word about the Travelog had spread, and so had Sanborn's. There were more than 5 locations along the U.S.-Mexico border, and by 1969 Sanborn's opened its international headquarters on 10th Street in McAllen, TX, where it is still located today. By now, Sanborn's had become the Southwest's largest travel organization and recognized by thousands of tourists. By no means an easy task, it had taken years and years of hard work, painstaking research, dedication, patience, and perseverance. Dan Sanborn and his team of road loggers traveled extensively throughout Mexico documenting uncharted territories across the country. Places many people never knew existed were now on the map, thanks to Sanborn's. Awareness of Sanborn's and their services increased as they received awards, recognition and attended ceremonies throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

Sanborn's had opened over 20 Locations in places like El Centro, California, Eagle Pass, Texas, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Balboa, Panama. Over the years its image has evolved from a cactus logo to a man with a zarape to a matador and finally to the stylized sombrero it is today. Sanborn's has become known for taking their accomplished agents to a different exotic location in Mexico every year. This annual convention has become a way to commend their agents for their hard work and is still being done today. Sanborn's now has over 55 agencies located throughout the border states and Mexico. The Travelog has now grown to a series of 9 guidebooks covering all of Mexico. It remains a "Family Style" business with old-fashioned values and courtesy. Each customer can expect to be treated like "one of the family". 

For over 70 years, Sanborn's Insurance has been helping people enjoy trips to Mexico with travel information but more importantly, by providing peace of mind. Someone once said, "A dream trip to Mexico could have easily turned into a nightmare, had it not been for Sanborn's."

The Sanborn's family sold the rights to the name and the copyrights of the Travelogs to a group of investors from Mexico in 1985. Since then Travco Services, Inc. a Texas corporation has owned the rights to license Sanborn's registered trademark.

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