How Hoch Insurance became Blue Marsh Insurance
The tale begins in 1930! My Grandfather, Samuel H. Hoch, began selling "Fire Insurance" as an agent for the Sinking Spring Mutual Insurance Company out of his home located at 19 East Main St, in the borough of Fleetwood. The office was modest, consisting of a roll top desk, and papers neatly stacked in a pile on the side of the desk. There was no phone on the desk - he had to go into the dining room of the home where the phone was located! In 1935 Sam received an appointment from The Erie Insurance Exchange (a relatively new company engaged in the relatively new business of automobile insurance) and the business began to take off from there. In those days, much of the business was conducted with a handshake. Office hours were when he was home.
In 1957 Sam's son, Lester A Hoch joined with his father and began his 30 year career as an agent in the business. Having many ties to the community, as well as the ability to conduct business in the Pennsylvania German dialect, Lester was able to continue growing the agency. Modern conveniences were added to the office such as an actual file cabinet or two and a phone was wired to the desk (no more trotting into another room to answer or place a call).
Around 1976, Lester's son Daniel G. Hoch joined the agency. Having a business degree from Lehigh University, Daniel began to modernize the agency, culminating in the business being incorporated as the "Hoch Insurance Agency, Inc." In the following few years, another son, Franklin S. Hoch, also joined the agency, followed in March of 1985 by me, Lester's youngest son, Kenneth L. Hoch. New-fangled gizmos like Photocopy machines, telephone answering machines, and computers began to infiltrate the business. These business tools were not much liked by Lester, and he turned more and more of the duties over to "the boys".
At this time, the agency was still located in Lester's residence. It became abundantly clear that the agency had outgrown that location. In the summer of 1988, Dan, Frank, and I began construction of a new office building at the present location of 430 Park Rd, just west of the Fleetwood Borough, opening for business at the new location in January 1989. Lester unofficially retired at this time citing he did not wish to commute to work (all of ½ mile!). He also hated computers!
In 1993, Daniel left to pursue other avenues and Franklin and Kenneth soldiered on in the business. Franklin retired from the agency in 2014. That left me as the remaining Hoch in the insurance business. As I began to contemplate my own impending retirement, and there being no 4th generation to take over the business, I wanted to find someone that valued service and customer experience as much as we have all these years. I needed to find someone that held the same family-values that we've had all these years. In addition, I wanted to make sure to find an agent that knows ERIE Insurance inside and out.
After many discussions and learning more about his focus on customer happiness, I sold the agency to Tom Davenport, Principal Agent and Owner of Blue Marsh Insurance. Tom started Blue Marsh from "scratch" in 2008 and has built a team of expert insurance pros that provide amazing service for personal (home, car, boat, cycle, etc) insurance, business insurance, life insurance, as well as health insurance for folks all across Pennsylvania and surrounding states. I have the utmost confidence that Tom and his crew will continue to provide the kind of personalized service the customers of the former Hoch Insurance Agency have become accustomed to.
So, after 89 years of a Hoch being in the insurance business in the Fleetwood area, I will be retiring on March 31, 2019 and the agency will continue to thrive and live on as Blue Marsh Insurance!