On Friday, February 2, 2018, the T. F. Ward Insurance Agency, Inc. announced it had purchased the assets of its cluster partner, the Pine Insurance Agency, Inc.
Tom Ward, the owner of T. F. Ward Insurance said that he and Earl Martin, the owner of Pine Insurance Agency, had had their agencies as a cluster for over twenty years.
Cluster idea started with agencies located across the street from each other
The two Melrose agencies started their association in the mid-’90s, Mr. Ward said. “We were both located on West Foster Street. Earl’s agency was right across from my agency and Earl proposed the idea of combining.”
In 1995, when a bank building came on the market, Mr. Ward bought the building located at 403 Franklin Street in Melrose. Mr. Ward and Mr. Martin then formed a new corporation, Melrose Insurance Group Agency, Inc. to operate as a cluster vehicle for their two agencies.
Combining writings and expenses benefited both agencies
Once the Melrose Insurance Group became licensed as an insurance agency, Ward Insurance and Pine Insurance consolidated their agency agreements in the Melrose Insurance Group to increase their premium volume and potential profit-sharing from their agency agreements. Also, the agencies shared their operating expenses and agency management systems. “ This cluster worked out great for both agencies. Earl’s business was 75% commercial and 25% personal, my agency’s business was the reverse: 75% personal and 25% commercial,” Mr. Ward stated. “When Earl wanted to slow down and come in just two or three days a week, there was no problem at all in transitioning his agency to become a part of Ward Insurance.”
Mr. Martin has worked in insurance for forty-seven years
Earl Martin started in the insurance business in 1970 working for Liberty Mutual. In 1973 he went to work for Inland Underwriters in downtown Boston and stayed for two years. In 1975, he opened his own agency in Boston focused on commercial insurance accounts. Later he moved his agency to Melrose and eventually clustered his agency with Ward Insurance.
Ward Agency started and stayed in Mr. Ward’s home town
Tom Ward was born and raised in Melrose. He started in the insurance business in 1978, as a sales representative for American Mutual. Two years later, he quit his sales job and started his own agency in the back of a real estate office, located in Melrose Center, owned by a family friend. As his business grew through referrals, he outgrew this space and bought a home that had proper zoning to convert to office space for his expanding insurance agency. In 1995, Ward Insurance further expanded its office footprint by buying larger office space for itself and its cluster partner, Pine Insurance.
Representation on purchase and sale
On the purchase and sale, T. F. Ward Insurance Agency, Inc. was represented by Attorney Owen Gallagher, of ForbesGallagher, Publisher of Agency Checklists, and the Pine Insurance Agency was represented by Attorney Robert D. Harb, of Haverhill.