ST. LOUIS – The Charles L. Crane Agency, headquartered in downtown St. Louis, celebrated its 130th anniversary in September with a celebration at Ballpark Village near Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals. Crane has called St. Louis "home" since its founding in 1885 by Charles Linton Crane, the son of a steamboat captain, and has remained a strong supporter of the for the past 130 years.
Today, the Crane Agency is located at 100 North Broadway, with branch offices in Chesterfield and Springfield, Mo., Alton, Ill., and South Florida. With 250+ employees and brokers, the Crane Agency recently ranked in the Top 50 of the largest, privately held insurance agencies in the United States. It is also the oldest independent agency west of the Mississippi River.
Representing all major property and casualty insurance companies, Crane is licensed in all 50 states and provides insurance and risk management services to more than 50,000 commercial and personal lines clients locally, regionally and nationally. Through its preferred, long-term relationships with major insurers, the agency provides property and casualty policies, employee benefits and surety.
Founder Charles Linton Crane was born in Rochester, Pa., in 1861. The family moved to St. Louis when Charles was 11 years old, where he resided until his retirement. Crane began selling insurance as a young man, and in 1885 he founded his own agency. Some of his early clients were barge owners, so the river continued to play an important role throughout his life. He was known as a savvy businessman with a gruff exterior who always believed in paying bills on time, regardless of the circumstances. He was also instrumental in helping form the Independent Insurance Agents Association of Missouri in 1899. In 1920, Crane sold 60% of his agency to his four top employees. He later retired to California and died in 1933.
The Crane Agency was founded at a time of profound growth for the City of St. Louis. As the city grew, so did Crane. First housed in offices on Third Street (now the Gateway Arch Grounds), Crane relocated in 1908 to the Pierce Building (now the Hyatt Regency Hotel), the center of the St. Louis insurance industry. Growth and expansion moved Crane to several larger locations, but none further than three blocks from its original downtown roots.
"Congratulations to the Crane Agency on its 130th anniversary and its enduring legacy in the City of St. Louis," said City of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. "We appreciate the partnership that founder Charles L. Crane and his leaders have forged with the City over several decades and for the contributions the firm has made to the economic growth of the St. Louis community."
According to research, the percentage of U.S. businesses that succeed to their 100th anniversary is less than one percent. So those reaching the 130-year milestone is even more rare and special. Crane Agency President Mike Reedy attributes the firm's longevity to its reputation for fair management, quality service and strong family values; evident by the number of broker families who have passed their businesses on from one generation to the next throughout the years.
"The Crane Agency has successfully withstood the test of time, having helped others and persevered through two World Wars, the Great Depression, the St. Louis tornado of 1927, and decades of economic ups and downs to become the successful insurance brokerage firm it is today," said Reedy. "We would like to thank all of our customers who have entrusted us with their insurance needs throughout the years. Additional thanks go to our loyal insurance carrier partners and dedicated, experienced support staff and brokers for their hard work and efforts throughout the decades," he said. "We could not have survived 130 years without them or the strong foundation forged by Crane’s owners."
For more information about the Crane Agency, visit www.craneagency.com or call 800-264-8722.
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