Insurance Company History

Our History

At Vancouver Island InsuranceCentres, our history is fascinating – a true story that spans 140 years of will, endurance and sheer determination! Our past is filled with interesting characters… risk takers, negotiators, pioneers, investors and innovators – not to mention fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and of course, YOU!

Our history parallels British Columbia’s history. Imagine pioneering spirits; small business owners who built private insurance brokerages through hard work and integrity. Our story begins with the longest continuously running company in provincial history: BC Land & Insurance Group. The year was 1863 and our most famous artist, Emily Carr, had yet to be born. Noted Victoria architect Francis Rattenbury had yet to arrive from England. Talk about history – we were here years before Canada officially became a country in 1867!

The first recorded transaction of the BC Land & Insurance Group was a $400 mortgage on a farm in the Comox Valley issued to Tomas Dixon Galpin of England, a well-known newspaper publisher.

Attracted by the excellent reputation of BC Land & Insurance Group, (which dealt in both land and insurance), investors arrived from across Canada and internationally. In fact, the legendary million-acre ‘Gang Ranch’, owned by Jerome and Thaddeus Harper in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, was their most notable land holding up until 1949. The economic boom of the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s set the company up to develop large areas of land in the City of Victoria and surroundings. Surviving the Great Depression, they kept on developing into the 1950s. The 240-acre Landsdowne Park subdivision and Ten-mile Point are just two examples from that time. By 1972, the company incorporated and concentrated solely on insurance selling home, auto, boat and small business insurance. When the province of British Columbia introduced government auto insurance in the 1970s, BC Land & Insurance Group increased sales staff growing into larger premises in Campbell River.

While BC Land & Insurance is our affiliate with the longest history, the belief that the survival of small town brokerages depended on working together to form unique product lines and attract other well-founded insurance brokerages, was an idea sparked by Comox Valley Insurance Services (CVI), also born out of a spirit of affiliation. Farrington Insurance Agencies and R.N. Carey Agencies in Courtenay merged to become CVI in 1967 and in 1977 they purchased P. Leo Anderton & Company, the Comox Valley’s first insurance brokerage, founded in 1911. CVI was the first agency to concentrate solely on insurance services and CVI, McKenzie Coastland Insurance (with roots to the early 1950′s in Campbell River) and Thwaites Norris Insurance (established in1912 in Parksville) were the first brokerages to affiliate.

Throughout the next 30 years, CVI continued to expand with affiliations (many concentrated in the 1990′s) of well-known businesses including: Ladysmith Insurance Service (established 1984), Hub City Insurance (established in Nanaimo in 1989), Simpson Insurance (dating back in Victoria since 1952), Dogwood Insurance (Cumberland), Good Insurance (Qualicum Beach) and BC Land & Insurance who joined the CVI group as an affiliated brokerage in 1998.

The first recorded transaction of the BC Land & Insurance Group was a $400 mortgage on a farm in the Comox Valley issued to Tomas Dixon Galpin of England, a well-known newspaper publisher.

Our inspiring story spans more than 140 years, including our red-letter day, January 1, 2003, when the past merged with the present to create a bright, promising future – now known as Vancouver Island InsuranceCentres Inc.

Since that day in 2003, every member of the VIIC family has worked diligently to serve you; determined to continue the success story that started so many decades ago. Today, we are the largest, privately-owned insurance brokerage firm on Vancouver Island. Through our collective experience, entrepreneurial spirit and hard work, for more than 140 years, we’ve provided security and protection for our clients … you!

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