New owner of insurance agency happy to join Quincy community
In July this year, the heat was on in Quincy – over 100 degrees. Galen Golay recalls it well: That is when he took the reins at Basin Pacific Insurance in Quincy.
Golay, an experienced insurance professional, researched the business and the area and decided to go into ownership. He and his wife, Carol, moved to Quincy, and their son, Sawyer, is a first-grader at Pioneer Elementary School.
Obviously, the move from the Seattle area was well thought out, Galen Golay said. It was a big step financially, but “we were ready for a change,” he said, and the family is really liking the small community feeling here.
Basin Pacific Insurance in Quincy is an established branch of a company with about 16 offices, the founding office being in Moses Lake. Andrew Royer was the previous owner of the Quincy office.
Golay described the business as steady. He is not planning on adding products at this point and has not made changes to the operation, he said. The relationship to the carrier company is the same. The office, at 17 E St. SE, next to Quincy Hardware & Lumber, is likely to remain there, as Golay says he likes how visible it is, even from the state highway.
He said he is looking to expand the business. The previous owner, Royer, was also working in mortgages, though not as part of Basin Pacific, but Golay is concentrating solely on insurance.
“We believe there is enough insurance business to make it singly focused,” Golay said.
The staff has accommodated the ownership change, a type of change that is not always easy. The office has three support staffers: two licensed agents and a receptionist.
“It is great to have the bilingual staff,” Golay said. “We have a fairly good size business in the walk-in business, some who speak Spanish and want to deal with someone face to face.”
He described the business as “insuring what’s important to you, all the way from autos, homes and personal insurance.” Insurance offered covers almost any kind of commercial exposure, including farms and businesses, with options throughout the western United States, he said.
One part of the business is what he termed “broad form,” extending insurance to a licensed driver so he or she can drive an employer’s vehicle. There is a fair amount of need for this kind of coverage in this area, he said.
Golay, age 49, grew up in Jerome, Idaho, his parents grew up on farms, and he has relatives in North Idaho. He also has a connection to Quincy in Chris and Norma Peterson, the former owners of the business now called Gillespie Eye Care. The Petersons were here about 35 years, and Chris is Galen’s father’s first cousin.
Golay started working in insurance with Safeco in 1999 in Redmond and then in the home office in Seattle, doing underwriting and national sales. At one point, he was licensed in 35 states. It was good experience, he said – the company was well-known for its training and technology.
He then went with MetLife, selling home, auto and life insurance in Redmond in a community sales office. He was recognized in the Redmond Reporter newspaper as the best Insurance Agent of 2017 by popular vote – first place.
While he was doing well in Redmond, he learned that the Basin Pacific insurance business in Quincy had come up for sale.
“We knew the Royer family … with my insurance background it made sense to consider it,” Golay said. “This approached us – we weren’t looking necessarily to leave the Seattle area.”
The chance to build on his experience was appealing. The thought was, “Let’s go see if we can make a small office work.”
A simpler way of life was also attractive, as was the community, “where we think we can give and help and be of service in, as well as benefit from,” he said.
“We are really thankful for the opportunity,” he said. “It’s a really neat opportunity.”
By Dave Burgess, email@example.com