After years of referring business to one another, Basin Pacific Insurance & Benefits acquired Manley Crop Insurance in Prosser for an undisclosed amount.
Brad Toner, owner of the Kennewick insurance and benefits agency, said the transaction—which was solidified in May—felt more like a merger because the two companies share such similar business philosophies.
“We had developed a relationship over the last few years,” said Toner, referring to Manley Crop Insurance owner Ann Manley. “Our cultures were very much similar and it’s been a very smooth transition. It feels like family.”
Manley and Toner began talks about Basin Pacific Insurance & Benefits buying the business about a year ago.
“I did look at other options to sell, but the businesses were much more corporate and we would have to do things their way,” Manley said. “Brad was the only one who listened to that concern. Our cultures are the same.”
Manley will continue working at the 2,000-square-foot Prosser office at 424 Wine Country Road. The name will remain the same, as well as the employees, which includes Manley and her daughter, Brooke Manley Rodriguez.
“It was really important for me to keep the doors open here in Prosser,” said Manley, who started her business in 1996. “If a four-person office closes in the Tri-Cities, it might not be noticed, but in Prosser, if four people aren’t here, that’s four people who aren’t shopping, who aren’t eating lunch at the restaurants.”
Toner said the only change the public will see is that Manley Crop Insurance will now have a landing page on Basin Pacific Insurance’s website, as well as a new logo displayed.
“It’s a circular logo. Outside the circle, it says Manley on top and Crop Insurance on the bottom,” he said. “The letters are in red, and in the middle of the circle is the Basin Pacific logo. And underneath the logo is a bundle of wheat, grapes and an apple.”
Manley Crop Insurance has more than 350 clients, mostly in Yakima, Benton, Klickitat, Franklin and Morrow counties. The farms served range from less than an acre to upwards of 10,000 acres, and Manley said it’s a complicated business because of federal laws.
“Everything is driven by dates and deadlines,” she said.
Farmers also are creatures of habit, she said, and keeping the staff in place helps maintain trust with clients.
“Humans pick up the phone here, not an automated system,” she said, adding that going from an owner to an employee has its benefits.
Toner said the company sent letters to Manley Crop Insurance clients to make them aware of the business acquisition.
“It’s been out there that’s something is going on,” he said, “But again, there’s no physical change in her office.”
Manley said she’s looking forward to continuing to work with her farmers and building the relationships she’s made over the years without the stress of running a business.
“I absolutely love working with farmers,” she said, adding that while she’ll keep working, she intends to travel more and spend time with her grandkids.
Basin Pacific Insurance & Benefits has been operating at 8382 W. Gage Blvd., Ste. A, since 2010 and is a full-service independent agency. Toner said there are about a dozen employees at the Kennewick office, and agents handle a variety of insurance needs, including home, auto, commercial, bonding, life and health.
The franchise began as Basin Insurance, with Gary Trautman opening the first office in Moses Lake in 1997. That office became the starting point for the franchise, which has expanded to include 15 locations around Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The company eventually adopted the Basin Pacific name to extend the familiarity beyond the Columbia Basin where the company originated.
Toner’s two sons, Josh and Justin, also work with him in Kennewick, and he hopes his family can continue to grow the business.
“We need to add a personal line agency in the future,” Toner said. “Our biggest sector is agriculture, and we work with a lot of commercial businesses and nonprofits, but we need to increase our personal lines business.”
Toner said right now, personal lines account for less than 5 percent of its revenue, and his goal is to increase this to 25 percent.
“We’d like to acquire another agency, and we’re hoping within two to five years we can do that. We’re putting out our feelers,” he said.
The company also has a goal to move into a more permanent location. In the last year or two, Toner said it has made a couple of offers to buy buildings in the Tri-Cities.
“But for one reason or another, it didn’t work out,” he said. “We’re looking to have a permanent location that we can grow into as we continue to expand in the near future.”
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