January 30, 2013 CONTACT: Chuck Spaulding – 607/756-2805
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Stephen Franco – 607/753-9365
Bailey, Place Agencies Announce Cortland / Dryden Merger
Cortland, NY – The George B. Bailey Agency and Place Insurance, two long-time anchors of the local insurance industry, have announced their merger in a move designed to capitalize on the strengths of each.
“We are two well established, independent, family-owned agencies and we each bring something to the table,” said Bailey Agency owner Chuck Spaulding. “Place has young, talented sales and marketing people. We have experienced and talented service people. It’s our desire to create a single, stronger agency by blending those strengths.”
Place Insurance owner Steve Franco agreed, adding that the merger also preserves the historic standing that each firm enjoys in Cortland and Tompkins County. “We want to honor the legacies of the people who founded each agency and the formation of Bailey Place Insurance does that,” he said. “This isn’t the end of either business, but rather the evolution of two strong independent agencies joining together to form a stronger organization to better meet the service needs of our clients and the challenges of our industry.”
Spaulding and Franco are equal partners as a result of the merger, with Spaulding emphasizing that he has no immediate plans for retirement. Bailey Agency’s Cortland staff will relocate from its current 18 Tompkins Street location to the Place Insurance building at 2 North Main Street, and its Dryden office will continue to service customers there under the new Bailey Place banner.
About 20 people will be working for the new agency when the transition is complete sometime early in the second quarter of this year, and both Spaulding and Franco acknowledge that they are looking for growth in the future. “Bailey Place will be one of the largest privately owned independent insurance agencies in Central NY which will enable us to provide the widest array of insurance options and services for our clients.” Franco said. “We are excited about the opportunity to grow our commercial business and expand our footprint in Tompkins County.”
George B. Bailey founded the Bailey Agency in 1936, building his business in the Dryden community and operating from his garage on Library Street before moving to offices on West Main Street. Bailey’s son, Bill, purchased the business in 1957 and moved it to its current location at 5 South St. in 1963.
Spaulding joined the agency in 1979 as an agent, and in 1987 the agency added a Cortland location at 11 Groton Ave. before moving to its current Tompkins Street Address. John Bailey, a third generation family member, joined the agency in 1989. Spaulding and John Bailey bought the agency in 1997, with the company enjoying success in offering a broad range of insurance products to thousands of customers at its two locations. After being named the Professional Insurance Agent of the Year in 2012, Bailey sold his interest in the agency in order to pursue a new career path. Bailey will remain a member of the staff to assist with the transition through the end of 2013.
Place Insurance is one of the oldest privately owned insurance agencies in New York State, tracing its roots to the 1850s, when Cortland attorney Charles Foster began selling insurance policies in his practice. Foster ran the agency until 1875 when he sold it to James A. Nixon. The company had different names and changed partners five times over the next 50 years before being purchased in 1912 by Charles F. Brown, Cortland's first elected mayor and a prominent local businessman.
Brown ran the agency until the age of 90, at which point he sold it to his son-in-law, J. Dempster Place, in 1946. J. Dempster's son John D. Place joined the agency in 1947 and the business name was changed to Place Agency, Inc. Jack's son, James W. Place, joined the agency in 1974 and purchased the agency in 1982. Franco joined Place Insurance as an officer in 2009 and he purchased the agency in 2011.
“This is the best kind of merger”, said Spaulding, “All existing staff will be part of the new organization and client relationships will remain unchanged. Both agencies will see improvements in technology, insurance markets and support which will benefit our clients and our staff.”