Hagerty forms new partnership; will roll out new products mid-March

TRAVERSE CITY – Downtown's largest employer, Hagerty Insurance, is positioning itself for another major growth spurt and is readying to expand its offerings in the collector car and classic boat markets.

First announced in early 2007, both Hagerty agencies-Hagerty Insurance Agency and Hagerty Classic Marine Insurance Agency-have partnered with OneBeacon Insurance Group, a Massachusetts-based company. The new arrangement will broaden Hagerty's product and service offerings to its current client base of collector enthusiasts, as well as help build new relationships with others in its niche market.

"It's an effort on Hagerty's part to create new and flexible product options for our clients," said company CEO McKeel Hagerty, noting that increased flexibility for the company's clients was the key to this partnership, with a OneBeacon company that will be dedicated exclusively to Hagerty's markets.

One of the new personal insurance offerings will be coverage of "automobilia"-all the car paraphernalia car collectors tend to collect but often don't well insure, Hagerty explained, such as old gas pumps and hood ornaments.

The insurance agency will also begin offering commercial insurance packages for museums that will cover property, general liability and auto and museum collections and a program for classic vehicle restoration shops. Hagerty said there will be future opportunities for other businesses or organizations that support the antique car and boat collector hobby.

"Our partnership will enhance our specialty capabilities through Hagerty's deep expertise and track record," said Dan Liparini, vice president of OneBeacon Personal Lines. "We look forward to offering the proven Hagerty solution to our other independent agency partners whose clients require this type of product."

The partnership officially takes effect in mid-March when Hagerty Insurance's 10-year relationship with underwriter, Encompass Insurance, ends.

"It's been a wonderful relationship, but we need to grow," Hagerty added.

Between 2004 and 2007, the company doubled its personnel from 170 to 350. In three more years, Hagerty said it will double again as it continues to expand its customer base.

He also pointed to additional flexibility with regard to international insurance policies, as car collecting is increasingly a global activity and with cars entering and leaving countries the insuring process is exceedingly complicated.

It is possible, Hagerty speculated, that if the "automobilia" insurance program goes well, the company may someday look at other collectable niche markets, such as musical instruments. BN