• Thomas Insurance merges with Brattleboro agency
    By Bruce Edwards
    STAFF writer | December 31,2012
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    Win Thomas was hoping to make it to 100 but it just wasn’t meant to be.

    So with drastic changes coming a year from now in health insurance, Thomas this month sold the 90-year-old Thomas Insurance & Benefits to The Richards Group, a family owned independent insurance agency based in Brattleboro.

    “It gives me resources to actually better serve a lot of our clients with up-to-date information,” Thomas said.

    That information will be vital to the agency as Vermont puts in place its health insurance exchange in January 2014.

    That’s the date when employers in the state with 50 or fewer employees will be required to offer health insurance through the exchange.

    Thomas, 63, also said the sale allows him several years to transition before retiring.

    Since the agency sold the property and casualty business 10 years ago, Thomas said he has focused exclusively on the employee benefits end of the insurance business.

    For The Richards Group, Thomas’ expertise in the employee benefits area was a major attraction.

    “Win’s got a great presence in the Rutland marketplace there and we do a lot of employee benefits business throughout the southern part of the state, so that’s sort of natural for us,” said Drew Richards, vice president of The Richards Group.

    He said approximately 25 percent to 30 percent of The Richards Group business is related to employee benefits.

    Thomas and Johanna Keefe will continue to serve clients in the Rutland office at 87 North Main St.

    Keefe will assume the roll of account executive and adviser. A 10-year veteran of Thomas Insurance, Keefe will provide support in all areas of group benefits including defined contribution modeling, wellness programs, consumer directed health plans and employee education and communication programs.

    Ken Davis, a 30-year veteran of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and currently an independent contractor with Thomas, will remain in that capacity.

    With more than 80 employees, The Richards Group is an independent insurance agency providing individuals, families, and businesses with property and casualty insurance, retirement planning and investment management strategies.

    The agency has offices in Brattleboro, Norwich, Ludlow, Bellows Falls, Wilmington, Rutland and Keene, N.H.

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