Kelly sells insurance brokerage firm

·3 min read

Barry’s Bay – After nearly 40 years in local business, Greg Kelly has sold his company – Greg Kelly Insurance Brokerage, with offices here and in Eganville -- to BrokerLink, one of the largest property and casualty brokerage firms in Canada.

He will be staying on to help manage the transition over the next 10 months and does not expect to leave his Barry’s Bay office at the corner of Bay and Inglis until April 1st, 2023. That’s the same month he hopes to celebrate his 40th anniversary since first entering the insurance industry in April, 1983. His entire staff in both locations will be retained.

He said he chose to sell to Brokerlink for two reasons.

“I wanted my staff to keep their current positions and, being a larger brokerage, I felt it would offer them many more opportunities in the future.

“If I would have sold to one of my competitors, they wouldn’t need to keep all the staff here.”

Mr. Kelly said both the Eganville and Barry’s Bay offices have now returned to pre-pandemic hours of operation and it would be business as usual going forward.

He grew up in Barry’s Bay, the middle of 11 children. His parents were Barclay “Bert” Kelly and his wife, Veronica (Laginski). After graduating from Madawaska Valley District High School in 1979, he attended George Brown College in Toronto where he took a specialized business program set up with the help of the insurance industry.

In April, 1983, Mr. Kelly returned to Barry’s Bay and began working for Donald C. Johnson Insurance but in 1998, after his employer sold the business, Mr. Kelly opened a satellite office on main street beside Lorraine’s IDA Pharmacy for O’Shaughnessy Insurance of Bancroft. He opened his first office adjacent to Lorraine’s Pharmacy and in 2005, he bought the building that was previously owned by optometrist Dr. Michael St. James. Before that it was the original location for the Barry’s Bay Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 406, when it was formed.

In 2018, he purchased the J. Stephen McCann Insurance business in Eganville, which was one of the oldest in Renfrew County, from Steve McCann, and has operated it ever since on John Street in Eganville.

Mr. Kelly has been heavily involved with local minor hockey as a coach and president of the Barry’s Bay and Area Minor Hockey Association for several years. He played Major Junior A hockey after being drafted by the Windsor Spitfires, at the age of 16. After more than a year on the road, he returned to Barry’s Bay to complete his high school education. Currently, he’s the president of the Barry’s Bay Lions Club, a position he has held for the past 10 years. He was instrumental in building an outdoor rink for Barry’s Bay as a member of the recreation committee.

Though he has no immediate plans for retirement, and may even decide to stay on working part-time after April, 2023, he is hoping to spend more time at his hunt camp, snowmobiling, working on getting an old-timers hockey team up and running again, and travelling with his wife, the former Lee Gorgerat, daughter of Andrew and Shirley Gorgerat.

The couple have two children, Daniel and Megan, but Mr. Kelly says his wife, a registered nurse, very much likes her current position at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry’s Bay and is not thinking of retirement.

He credits the success of his business to the support he has received from his wife and family, his current and former staff members and his loyal clients.

“A close family is everything,” he said.

Mr. Kelly is retiring with a bit of apprehension, especially after putting 40 years into one career/business, but he is looking forward to his future challenges, whatever they may be.

Brokerlink operates over 200 offices in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Alberta and has over 3,000 employees.

Barry Conway, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader

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