In July of 2017, the Laporte, Shea & Borys Insurance Agency will celebrate 100 years in business, a milestone that few companies are able to reach. The origin of the company dates back to 1917 when Charles W. Bray, longtime county commissioner, purchased a small fire insurance business. Mr. Bray operated the business from 71 Main St, Chicopee Falls which was the site of his father’s old general store until his death in 1963. In 1964 the agency was purchased by G. Rita Laporte who, along with her husband Lawrence, formed the Bray-Laporte Insurance Agency.
Attorney Walter M. Shea, a former city solicitor and one of the founders of the Chicopee Falls Board of Trade, established the Walter M. Shea Insurance Agency in 1920. Along with his law practice, he operated the business located at 99 Main St, Chicopee Falls until his death in 1948. Mrs. Josephine D. Shea took over operations following her husband’s death and was joined by her son, Francis J. Shea in 1960.
In 1972, the Bray-Laporte Insurance Agency Inc. and the Walter M. Shea Insurance Agency merged at the 99 Main St, Chicopee Falls location. Several years later, in 1974, Francis J. Borys merged his agency. The business was then renamed the Laporte, Shea, & Borys Agency, the name under which it operates today. In 1979 the business relocated to its current location at 71 Church St, Chicopee. Paul J. Shea, son of Francis J. Shea, joined the agency in 1983 and is the sole owner and operator today.
Of interest is the fact that two of the predecessor agencies were owned by women, which was unusual at the time. G. Rita Laporte was the sole owner of the Bray-Laporte Insurance Agency from 1964 until 1972, while Josephine D. Shea was the sole owner and operator of the Walter M. Shea Insurance Agency from 1948 until 1960. Also of note is the fact that the founders of the agency were active in the local community, two of whom having served as general campaign managers of the Chicopee United Fund and its successor the United Way. Francis J. Shea was one of the founding directors of the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce and served for many years. The agency’s commitment to community involvement continues today most recently through its donations to the Chicopee Library, the Chicopee Boys & Girls Club, the Chicopee Senior Center, and through donations and service to Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen.
Presently, the agency is an all-lines independent insurance agency representing a number of carriers and specializing in homeowners and auto insurance offering both personal and commercial lines. The agency solicits and serves Western Massachusetts with the goal of providing excellent customer service in a professional and friendly manner. The Laporte, Shea & Borys Insurance Agency wishes to thank the local businesses and families from Chicopee and surrounding communities who have provided the agency with the opportunity to meet their insurance needs for 100 years.