Celebrating 25 Years of Employee Ownership

From left: Mike Pierce, president, Allen Insurance and Financial; Ann Montgomery of Camden; Steve Crane of Camden, former company president and Mike Dufour, executive vice president, Allen Insurance and Financial.

Allen Insurance and Financial recently held its annual Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) meeting and celebrated the company's 25th year of employee ownership.

The company's 70 employees gathered at Point Lookout in Northport, where they were joined by Steve Crane, former company president and Ann Montgomery, widow of David Montgomery, who established the ESOP in 1989.

The ESOP, David Montgomery wrote in a letter to employees at the end of 1988 just as the plan went into effect, allows employees to directly influence the growth in the value of the company and help create a second retirement fund, in addition to the agency's 401K plan.

In an interview with the Camden Herald in 1989, Montgomery said: "The ESOP will be an incentive to employees, reduce turnover and encourage employees to suggest ways to improve productivity and continue to provide excellent service to our customers."

That philosophy continues to work well for Allen Insurance and Financial, Michael Pierce, company president, told employees at their annual ESOP meeting held earlier this month at Point Lookout in Northport.

Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between being an ESOP company and increased instances of communication, information sharing and involvement in decision-making among employee-owners, according to the Washington, D.C.-based ESOP Association, of which Allen is a member.

"The strength of Allen Insurance and Financial continues to be the people who work here," said Pierce. "As we celebrate this important milestone of 25 years of employee ownership, we also know that everyone here, no matter their position, really does have an opportunity to contribute to the leadership and success of our company. This is truly a unique opportunity – for both our employees and the customers we serve."

Allen Insurance and Financial traces its roots in Camden to 1866 when it was founded by Wilder W. Perry, a prominent Camden businessman. George E. Allen bought the company and changed its name to Allen Insurance Agency in 1902.  Hugh Montgomery bought the company from George Allen's son Hervey C. Allen in 1935; David Montgomery took over in 1954 after his father died. The ESOP was a way to keep the company 'in the family,' as David considered retirement.

In 1989, the company employed 22 people in offices in Rockland and Camden. Today, 70 employees work in offices in Rockland, Camden, Belfast and Southwest Harbor, where the company operates as L.S. Robinson Co.

There are 23 employee-owned companies in Maine who are members of the national ESOP Association. Of those, Allen's employee ownership (1989) is second in duration only to Cianbro of Pittsfield (1979).

Allen Insurance and Financial is an independent insurance and financial services agency serving families and businesses in Maine, the U.S. and around the world.

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