May 18, 2016 — The Amos A. Phelps and Son Insurance Agency Inc., (“Phelps Agency”), of Rockland, has merged with the J.H. Slattery Insurance Agency, Inc. (“Slattery Agency”) of Abington, by acquiring the Slattery Agency’s stock from the estate of the late James J. Slattery.
The Phelps and Slattery families’ management of the agencies spans more than 200 years
Today, Kimberly Phelps-Nelson and Jeff Phelps, a brother and sister team represent the 4th generation of the Phelps family to manage the Phelps Agency. The Slattery Agency, until the merger, had as its president, Catherine M. Slattery, who represented the 3rd generation of the Slattery family to manage the Slattery Agency.
The combined history of these families continuously operating their respective agencies totaled, at the time of the merger, 205 years.
The Phelps Agency was founded 120 years ago in 1896, by Amos A. Phelps, the great-grandfather of Kimberly and Jeff, while the Slattery Agency was founded in 1931, by Joseph H. Slattery, the grandfather of Catherine.
The Slattery Agency to continue under the Phelps
Although the two agencies are located in Rockland and Abington, respectively, they only lie two miles apart by road. The new owners, the Phelps, plan to maintain the two locations and the separate identities of the agencies.
As the acquisition was by a stock purchase, the Slattery Agency continued, after the closing on the merger, with “business as usual.” The agency continues to operate with the same employees, operating systems, and carriers. The only change was that the agency had new owners, and Kimberly and Jeff as its new president and treasurer.
As Kimberly Phelps-Nelson stated for Agency Checklists:
Jeff and I are very excited about our acquisition of the Slattery Agency and the opportunity to serve those clients and that community. The combination of the cumulative years of experience we have between the two agencies and the history each family has in its community make it a natural fit. We are looking forward to meeting the needs of those customers and working with the existing Slattery staff to continue the fine reputation for service and investment in the community that the agency has in Abington and surrounding towns.
The Slattery Agency started in 1931 because of Mr. Slattery losing his job in the Great Depression
As related on the Slattery Agency website, Catherine’s grandfather went into the insurance business upon losing his job as office manager of the Boston office of America Railway Express, during the Great Depression.
After learning of the closing, he went to his usual lunch spot to say “Goodbye” to his regular lunchtime crowd. When the proprietor, Guy, asked, “What’s the matter, Joe? You look like you’ve lost your last friend.” Mr. Slattery explained, “It’s worse than that, Guy. I’ve just lost my job.” When Guy said, “What are you going to do?” Mr. Slattery suddenly replied, “Maybe I’ll start an insurance agency. My cousin, Fred, has made a pretty good living at it.”
After that exchange, Mr. Slattery did open the Slattery Insurance Agency later in 1931. Mr. Slattery built the agency with his wife, Catherine Slattery. Mrs. Slattery was one of the first woman in Massachusetts to obtain her insurance brokers license. They were a good team. Joe was the business promoter and Mrs. Slattery really ran the agency.
After Joe’s death, Mrs. Slattery continued to work at the agency until her death at age 88. However, after 1959, the agency had the help of their son James J. Slattery.
James Slattery, who became the president of the agency, became well-known in the insurance community. He served as a director of the Abington Savings Bank for over twenty years and as a Director of the Abington Mutual Insurance Company for thirteen years. He served as President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Greater Brockton. He also was a director of the Independent Insurance Agents of Massachusetts.
In 2001, Mr. Slattery was the oldest recipient of the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation. He was 65.
After Mr. Slattery died in 2012, Catherine M. Slattery, of Granby, Connecticut, Catherine J. Slattery’s namesake and granddaughter, became president of the agency.
The Phelps Agency’s longstanding family tradition as local insurance agents
By the time the Slattery Agency began in 1931, the Phelps Agency had already been operating in Rockland for over 35 years.
Its founder, Amos Phelps, had operated the agency for many years from the second floor of the Rockland Saving Bank Building. Later, Amos became president of the bank (known today as MountainOne).
Amos’ son, Edward J. Phelps, after graduating from Brown University joined the agency in 1937. A short time later, in 1938 Edward and Amos became business partners under the name “Amos A. Phelps and Son.” After Amos’ death the business continued with the same name and at the same location in Rockland.
In 1962, Richard J. Phelps, Edward’s son, became the third generation of Phelps to join the agency. Richard got his formal insurance training at the Travelers Insurance Company School in Hartford, CT.
In 1967, Edward and Richard became the partners in Amos A. Phelps and Son with Richard taking ownership of the agency following the passing of his father. In 1970, the agency relocated its offices to the jointly-owned professional building at 27 Market Street in Rockland, where it has been located for the last 46 years.
In 1993, Kimberly Phelps-Nelson, Richard’s daughter, followed the family calling and joined the agency following her graduation from Providence College and a stint in Underwriting at the Hingham Mutual. Later, Kimberly’s brother, Jeff, followed her into the family business after graduating from Colby College and working for the Arbella Insurance Group in claims and marketing.
In 2006, Kimberly and Jeff purchased the Phelps Agency from their father, Richard, in 2006.
The Slattery Agency’s acquisition is Kimberly’s and Jeff’s second acquisition of a local agency. In April, 2009, their agency purchased Peter A. Adams Insurance, Inc., of Hanover.