Oscar Rice, who had lived in Fort Scott since he graduated from high school, is a typical Kansan in his enterprise and hustling business ability. For a number of years he was a traveling salesman. In 1910 he drew up the plans and promoted the organization of The Western Automobile Indemnity Association. This association is the oldest and financially the strongest mutual association writing automobile liability in America. Since the organization of the association its headquarters have been at Fort Scott and Mr. Rice had been secretary and manager.
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Mr. Rice was one of those to recognize this new field of insurance consequent upon the enormous development of the automobile, and it was to supply a highly specialized and exclusive service that he organized this association, which in the past six years had extended its policies to automobile owners in eight different states of the Mississippi Valley and had gained that prestige resulting from reliable protection at a moderate cost, together with a perfect fairness and reasonableness in the settling of all claims. The Western Automobile Indemnity Association was organized and is conducted solely for the purpose of furnishing insurance to owners of automobile vehicles. It is one of the few companies of the kind, and as already stated is the largest and financially the strongest. In view of some recent developments, it will not be out of place to mention one feature of the policy of The Western Automobile Indemnity Association. While this association had furnished prompt and careful investigations of claims and had never quibbled about compensation due under policies, it had taken a firm stand to defeat all attempts on the part of individuals to capitalize accidents and extort unreasonable and unmerited compensation. It is very evident, as the association claims, that such a policy is a true public service.
The name Rice is prominently known in Kansas not only because of the business position occupied by Mr. Rice but also because of the prominence long enjoyed by his father, the late John Holt Rice, who was one of the veteran journalists of America. John Holt Rice was born in Greene County, Tennessee, November 14, 1825, and died at Fort Scott Kansas, October 5, 1904, at the venerable age of seventy-nine. He was a son of David Rice, a native of Virginia, who had become an early settler in Greene County, Tennessee. Besides farming David Rice for twenty-six consecutive years occupied the office of surveyor of Greene County. He was elected on the whig ticket, though his county was strongly democratie. David Rice married Jane Doak, daughter of Rev. Samuel Doak, one of the pioneer educators in Tennessee and founder of Washington College at Washington in that state. John Rice, a brother of David Rice, was founder of the Andover Theological Seminary of Virginia. Thus both sides of the family in that generation were prominently represented in the educational field.