Two local insurance companies have decided to join forces in order to offer more options for customers.
S&V Insurance of Lynden has agreed to merge with Bellingham's Oltman Insurance, effective Tuesday, July 1. No immediate changes are planned for either office, said Darin DeYoung, who owns Oltman Insurance with Ann Medina and Ken Van Ry.
The advantage of the merger for customers is the convenience of two offices, as well as more insurance package options, said Leonard Smit, who owns S&V with Daniel Vander Kooi. Both companies have clients in Lynden and Bellingham.
This merger is another piece to what's been a busy few years for local insurance mergers and acquisitions. This includes Locker & Ebert Insurance of Bellingham announcing earlier this month that it was merging with Blaine Insurance (a division of Employee Benefits Planning); Bellingham's Unity Group being acquired by Hub International Northwest in August 2013 and Snapper Shuler Kenner Insurance being acquired by Brown & Brown of Washington in November 2011.
The owners of Oltman and S&V decided they wanted to combine locally companies rather than pursue a sale to a larger corporation.
"Our goal is to strengthen what's been a family run business," said Vander Kooi.
Founded in 1932, Oltman Insurance is one of the oldest Bellingham insurance companies. It has 12 employees and an office in Bellingham's Fountain District. It offers personal, commercial, life and health insurance. Details about the company can be found at oltmaninsurance.com.
S&V Insurance was founded in 2008 and has an office at 709 Front St. in Lynden. The company has eight employees. Details can be found at sv-insurance.com.