A Maine-based independent insurance agency has lost three agency appointments in response to the actions of one its employees in posting a sign about the recent Juneteenth federal holiday. According to the Bangor Daily News, an employee of the Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency based in Millinocket, Maine apparently posted this sign on the front door of the agency.
A passerby photographed the sign and posted it to social media, resulting in national media attention. In a subsequent article on NPR, a Progressive spokesperson told the outlet in an email that it was “aware and appalled” by the sign and was terminating its relationship with the agency. In particular, the company said it viewed the act as a violation of the company’s commitment to its DEI policies.
In a June 23, 2022, follow-up to its article, the Bangor Daily News reported that, in addition to Progressive, two other carriers, Allstate and MMG Insurance, also announced the cancellation of their agency appointments with the agency.
In an Insurance Journal article on the incident, the reporter stated that the sign’s author, who is an employee of the agency, had posted an apology on her Facebook page, emphasizing that the owner of the agency had no prior knowledge of her posting the note. In addition, the Insurance Journal article stated that the employee further explained that she, herself, was multi-racial and “not a racist.”
In addition to the national media, the various reports also included comments from the chairman of the town council of Millinocket who also weighed in on Facebook by criticizing the posting of the sign and noting the importance of the day and what it represents.
2022 was the first year Juneteenth has been celebrated as a federal holiday in Maine.