Changing Hands

On Friday, 52 years to the day from when it opened on Nov. 1., 1961, downtown mainstay D’errico & Farhart Insurance Agency was sold to H&L Insurance of Mayfield.

George Farhart still remembers selling his first automobile insurance policy in downtown Gloversville in 1961.

It was a cash deal, $65 for the entire year. The newly created D’errico & Farhart Insurance Agency was not yet equipped to handle large bills.

“He gave us a $100 bill and we had to go across the street to Del Negro’s drug store to get change,” Farhart said.

A lot has changed since D’errico & Farhart first opened. Farhart said he and his original partner Frank D’errico had been selling life insurance for other companies in Albany when the longtime friends decided to form their own company in Gloversville and become insurance brokers. Selling property and casualty insurance, D’errico & Farhart were successful enough to expand and acquire other insurance agencies, buying the Spicer Agency in 1965 and the Geisler Agency in 1968.

Over the past five decades, D’errico & Farhart moved four times but always stayed in downtown Gloversville. Their first location was the Knox building at 52 S. Main St. In 1965, they moved up to 110-112 N. Main St., where they remained until 1984. Then they moved to the former Sears Roebuck building at 34 West Fulton St. until 2000. Their last move was to 38 N. Main St.

Farhart said he liked his last location best.

“We get a lot of traffic, being right on Main Street,” he said.

Farhart bought out D’errico’s interest in the company in 1995. His wife, Pamela, got her broker’s license and joined with him in operating the business after D’errico’s departure, but they kept the name of the business.

“It was an established name and I just didn’t think it was wise to change it and the new purchasers in Mayfield, H & L Insurance Agency, are keeping the name too. They wanted to do it that way and it’s OK with me, it’s been established as a reputable agency for 52 years; why fix it if it ain’t broke?” he said.

Michael O’brien, owner of

H & L?Insurance, said his purchase of D’errico & Farhart is part of his company’s expansion into the property and casualty insurance market, which is automobile and homeowners insurance.

“We’ve been in the insurance business for 23 years, mainly in the Medicare field, with the health and life insurance business,”?he said. “In order for us to make growth in the property and casualty insurance business, and become a leader in that industry, we needed to make an acquisition .”

O’brien said H & L Insurance had about 2,000 clients before purchasing D’errico & Farhart. Farhart said he didn’t want to disclose how many clients he had at the time of the sale, but O’brien said the purchase should not quite double his number of clients.

O’brien said he already has hundreds of clients in Gloversville, but he believes the D’errico & Farhart name and location will give his business a good place to service his current clients and provide easily accessible service to new clients, particularly individuals using the health insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act.

“We are heavily into the health insurance exchanges. Our agency offers multiple different health insurance carriers for individuals, sole proprietors and small groups. The chamber of commerce is no longer the only place for a sole proprietor to buy their health insurance anymore,” he said.

O’brien said he plans to maintain two insurance agents and one customer-service representative at the D’errico & Farhart office. It’s the same number of staff that worked there under George Farhart.