Risk & Business Magazine F.A. Peabody Insurance Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 7

1967. He was succeeded by his son-in-law, Robert (Bob) Anderson, who had joined the firm in 1961 and became FAPCO’s majority shareholder and president. THE R. E. A. YEARS Under Bob’s leadership, the insurance agency grew steadily. In the mid-60s, FAPCO diversified from insurance by selling real estate led by Fred Sylvester who was still treasurer. Walter Burlock joined the firm, replaced Fred as treasurer, and continued management of the real estate division to its staffing peak of five full-time employees until his retirement in 1995. In 1969, the F. A. Peabody Company purchased the Johnston Plumbing and Heating Building at 29 North Street and renovated it to meet the needs of the growing business. This facility has been enlarged and renovated twice since then. It now acts as the corporate headquarters, housing over twenty-seven people in more than 6,000 square feet of space. Bob was not afraid to believe in people and find opportunities to grow through entrepreneurialism. In 1979, he hired FAPCO’s first dedicated life, health, and benefits producer to diversify the insurance offerings further. (See Life & Benefits, page 28) In 1988, FAPCO purchased the Maher Travel Agency. Its name was changed to Travel Connections and served the Southern Aroostook area, employing four people. After fifteen years, travel services were increasingly being purchased by individuals directly online, therefore the division closed in 2004 in recognition of this trend. In 1991, FAPCO launched a third-party administration company serving the needs of the local funeral industry in Maine. (See FAPCO Administrative Services, page 29) The “family business” tradition of F. A. Peabody was enhanced in July 1988 when Christopher Benn Anderson, son of Robert and Jeannette Benn Anderson and grandson of Oscar Benn, joined the company. Chris had been working for The Travelers, a large multi-line insurer. Shortly after his son joined FAPCO, Bob negotiated the purchase of FAPCO’s largest, longtime competitor, the George S. Gentle Agency. This acquisition marked the start of a twenty-year trend of mergers, acquisitions, and unique ventures; both in and outside of insurance. Insurance expansion remained on the radar, with a total of ten mergers or acquisitions as of today. This growth resulted in the opening of seven additional offices for a current total of nine. In addition, FAPCO became a sales and servicing agency for credit unions and their members’ insurance needs and entered into a unique partnership with a professional employment leasing firm. people! As Chairman of the Board Bob Anderson says, “The continued progressive success of the F. A. Peabody Company can be primarily attributed to the people who throughout the company’s history successfully met, and continue to meet, the challenges of the times through dedication, loyalty, pride in their work, and above all, commitment to providing excellent service.” THE FUTURE IS NOW With the growth of the company in full swing throughout the 90’s, Christopher became involved in most aspects of running the operations including human resources and sales management. By 1998, Chris was elected president while Bob assumed the chief financial officer role and concentrated on corporate management and new development. By reorganizing its top leadership, FAPCO was ready to tackle the upcoming challenges of further business expansion. The history of F. A. Peabody is ongoing, and much is left to be written. + By the late 1990s, it was apparent that the lack of telecommunication connectivity plagued northern Maine and those businesses needing to access high-speed networks. The World Wide Web was in strong demand, and for an insurance operation with disparate offices spanning 150 miles in the far reaches of rural Northern Maine, it was important to create an affordable computer network. At that time, Chris and FAPCO’s Vice President of Information Technology, Tim McAfee, studied the issue intensely. They turned the problem into a business opportunity, and in 2001, Pioneer Wireless Network was born, delivering high-speed Internet wirelessly throughout the territory. (See Pioneer Broadband, page 30). From one room in the Houlton Trust Building to a 6,000 square foot main office with eight branch offices; from a staff of two to ninety two; from a small, mono-line agency to a multi-line insurance broker, 3rd party administration and Internet broadband services throughout Maine; from a handful of accounts to over 17,000 insurance customers, 4,000 internet subscribers and a statewide presence in 3rd party administration…the story of F. A. Peabody is a story of growth FAPCO Houlton Office Prior to Conversion, ca. 1961 FAPCO Office - 1977 Robert Anderson accepts Lifetime Achievement Award The F. A. Peabody Company history is not primarily one of facts and figures but of F.A. Peabody Market Square Office