Crosby & Henry, Inc. is a retail insurance agency offering personal lines, commercial lines, and life & health coverage to individuals and businesses. James Sears Crosby came to Grand Rapids, Michigan from New York in 1857. He started the insurance business in 1858 as J.S. Crosby & Co. The agency was located in downtown Grand Rapids. Crosby was the state agent for Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co.
James S. Crosby's son, Moreau S., graduated from college and joined the agency in 1863. The agency then became J.S. Crosby & Son. In addition to insurance, Moreau was active in politics, serving as state senator, then Lieutenant Governor from 1881-1885.
James M. Crosby, son of Moreau, graduated from the University of Michigan around 1889 with a degree in electrical engineering. He worked for the Valley City Milling Co in Grand Rapids. When Moreau died in 1893, James M. joined the agency. At that time, the agency represented several national insurance companies, selling property & casualty lines of business. The agency no longer sold life insurance.
James M. Crosby had two sons, James M. Jr and Moreau S, who both went into the insurance business. Moreau became the local agent for Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. James M. Jr joined his father at the agency, becoming the fourth generation family member.
By the time the agency celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1958, James M. Crosby III had joined the firm. Educated at Syracuse University as an accountant, he started his career in public accounting in Detroit, but returned to Grand Rapids when his mother's health declined.
The agency was actively involved in community activities, and also state and local insurance association matters. The last three generations of Crosby served as the president of the Michigan State Association of Independent Agents.
In 1970, the Crosby agency merged with TenBroek-Henry, an agency founded in 1868. Bill Henry joined the TenBroek Agency after his service in World War II. Also a University of Michigan graduate, Bill specialized in life insurance. The newly named Crosby & Henry, Inc. kept their offices in downtown Grand Rapids until 1974, when they built their own building in the Cascade area. The agency remains in this location today.
Bill Henry served as president of the agency until his retirement in 1989. James M. Crosby III took over as president, and implemented an Employee Owned Stock Program in 1990. After James M. Crosby III passed away in 1992, his son, James S. Crosby, joined the agency. James S. and John Karle, a key agency executive, took over management of the firm.
In 1998, Crosby & Henry created a wholesale unit called West Michigan Agency Network (WMAN). WMAN became a member of a national distribution model developed by Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance. Today, Crosby & Henry continues to operate both a retail independent insurance agency, selling all lines of coverage, and WMAN, which works with about 30 agency members in the West Michigan region.
Serving clients in Grand Rapids and throughout Michigan, Crosby & Henry, Inc. celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2008.