Perspectives from ISB

Shortly after Woodrow Cross founded Cross Insurance out of his family’s home in Bangor, Maine, in 1954, he sold his first insurance policy for just seven dollars. More than 60 years and nearly 115 agency acquisitions later, with roughly 800 employees and offices throughout New England, Cross remains as dedicated to the agency as he was at its start.

After more than half a century of commitment to his insurance business, he isn’t done yet. He remains a licensed insurance agent and still visits the office several times a week. He says the secret behind Cross Insurance’s success and longevity is simply hard work and persistence.

Growth and Longevity: The firm now employs 20 times as many workers as it did in 1970 thanks to a strategic approach to growth, both organically and through acquisition – a strategy the firm has carried out from the beginning, Royce says. “We have a long history of buying agencies,” he says. “We started buying really small agencies. I mean, tiny. As a teenager, I would take the files out in a cardboard box. We just never stopped. We would keep buying, and the agency itself just kept growing until in the past five years, people started noticing. But we have been acquiring for decades.”

Beyond its acquisition strategy, much of the company’s stability and longevity can also be attributed to its commitment to clients, Royce says.

Future Plans: Going forward, Cross Insurance’s aim is to continue evolving along with changes observed in the industry today relating to cybersecurity, technological advances and directors and officers liability, Royce says. That said, Woodrow explains the main strategy behind Cross Insurance’s future success is comprised of two principles that have built the company from the ground up – hard work and persistence.

Source: Blosfield, Elizabeth, January 26, 2017;

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