History of Agency

Fee Insurance Group, Inc. got its start in 1883 when J. N. Bailey & Son established one of the first business’ in the newly developed community of Hutchinson, Kansas. The town had been founded only eleven years earlier by Mr. C. C. Hutchinson. Cloyed Bailey, the son of J. N. Bailey, kept the agency going for many years, but in 1954, in failing health, Bailey sold the agency to the Seymore-Welchons Agency. Ed Seymore died soon after this, and Dan Welchons decided to sell the Seymore-Welchons Agency to the Frank Fee Agency in 1956.

Mr. J. A. Fontron was a well-respected farmer in the Mitchell School District, who in 1890 was elected to serve as Reno County Probate Judge. This service complete, Mr. Fontron joined a Mr. Vaughn to form a partnership of Vaughn and Fontron to be in the business of insurance and real estate. The original office was located at 15 North Main in Hutchinson. J. A. Fontron had two boys, Louis (L.E.) and John. Upon the death of Mr. Vaughn, Louis decided to go into business with his father. John married and moved to McPherson to go into the Jewelry business. In 1906 the office was moved to the 2nd floor of the First National Bank. Louis remained in business with his father until his father’s death. Shortly after that, John decided to return to Hutchinson and go into business with Louis. This partnership was formed in 1915, and in 1916 Louis and John built their own office building located at 18 East Sherman.

In 1925, E.E. Glasscock moved from Larned to Hutchinson, and purchased control of the Fontron brothers’ Loan and Trust Company. Other stockholders in this company were Houston Whiteside and J.A. Conklin. In 1930 E. E. Glasscock liquidated the Loan and Trust Company. He sold the Insurance Agency portion to Harry Davis and Byron Astle for $8000. Harry Davis had been selling insurance for the Fontron Loan and Trust Company since 1912, and Byron had worked for the agency since 1914. They operated the Fontron Insurance Agency up until the death of Harry in 1950. At that time Arthur H. Lewis and Paul Lewellen purchased Harry’s 50% interest. Astle, Lewis and Lewellen operated the agency until 1957.

After graduation from K.U. in the spring of 1953, Franklin T. Fee joined his father, Frank T. Fee, in the real estate business. Shortly thereafter, Frank expanded into insurance agency business. He purchased Brown Brothers Realty in 1952, the Ed Moore Agency and the D.A. Moore Agency in 1953 and the Ed Fraley Agency in 1954.

In October 1956, after graduation from K.U. and a two-year stint in the U.S. Navy, James W. Fee returned to Hutchinson and joined his brother, Franklin, in the insurance business. Shortly afterwards they purchased the Seymore-Welchons Agency from Dan Welchons.

In 1957, they purchased the Fontron Insurance Agency and formed the Fontron-Fee Agency. Byron Astle and Arthur Lewis remained with the Agency until their deaths and contributed greatly to the continuity and success of the agency.

In June of 1960 the Fontron-Fee Agency built a new home at the corner of 30 West Sherman. Franklin Fee and James Fee were the owners and operators of the agency; however, their father Mr. Frank Fee, owner of Frank Fee Real Estate since 1945, ran his real estate business in the same office up until his death in January of 1977. Frank Fee Sr. never dealt directly with the Insurance Agency, yet he was quite instrumental in helping make purchases of other agencies as well as financing the new office building.

In recent years, the Fontron-Fee Agency has continued to grow, particularly through the purchase of other agency. In January of 1969, Fontron-Fee bought the Charles E. Long General Agency, Inc. At that time Franklin and Jim incorporated using the corporate structure of the Charles E. Long General Agency, Inc., and became know as the Fontron-Fee Agency, Inc. Each partner owned 50% of the stock in the new corporation.

In January of 1976 Franklin T. Fee sold his 50% interest of the Fontron-Fee Agency, Inc. to his younger brother James. In September of 1976, Jim purchased the Earl Kirk Agency and in August of 1981, Jim Fee expanded the Fontron-Fee Agency once more with the purchase of the Charles E. Kimbell Agency.

In May of 1983, the 100th anniversary of the agency, the Fontron-Fee Agency, Inc. changed its name to Fee Insurance Agency, Inc. James W. Fee was the sole owner and the office remained at 30 West Sherman, but the agency continued to grow. Allen K. Fee, son of James W. Fee, became associated with the agency during his summer breaks from K. U. in 1982 and 1983. In May 1984, upon graduation from K.U., Allen became a full-time associate with a portion of ownership.

The agency, now in a growth period, bought the John Goodpasture Agency in December of 1986. In June of 1987, after graduation from K.U., Robert T. Fee joined his father and brother in the agency, also maintaining a portion of ownership. With Bob’s association, the agency expanded its employee benefits, life, health, and financial service department. On July 1, 1989, the Fee Insurance Agency, Inc., purchased Security, Inc., an agency owned and operated by Mr. Frank Jackson. With this purchase, the agency had outgrown its building at 30 West Sherman, so on August 1, 1989 the Fee Insurance Agency, Inc. moved next door to the seventh floor of the First national Bank at First and Main.

Again, growth was the way of the Fee’s business and in March of 1990 the Fee Insurance Agency purchased the V.E. Chesky Agency in Halstead, KS just 30 miles East of Hutchinson. A new office was opened in Halstead and Mr. Victor E. Chesky, Jr. remained on the staff to help manage this office and help in the retention of business. In September of 1990 the Fee Insurance Agency merged with one of the oldest insurance agencies in the Hutchinson area, McNaghten Insurance. This merger left the Fee’s with majority ownership of the agency, (which kept the Fee Insurance Agency, Inc. corporate name) but gave them over 35 years of exceptional insurance management and knowledge in John D. (Jack) Coleman. The new agency Fee-McNaghten Insurance did not plan to stop the growth pattern of the past.

In April 1995, Fee-McNaghten Insurance purchased the Hutchinson based Jardine Insurance (formerly Kline Insurance). Recognizing our growth and diversity, Fee-McNaghten once again changed names – this time corporately as well. Fee Insurance Group, Inc. became the new name on January 1, 1996. Jack Coleman eventually sold his ownership portion back to the agency, but offices with them as an advisor and good friend.

In 2000, Jim Fee sold his interest in the agency back to the agency. Allen and Bob Fee, own the agency. Allen Fee serves as CEO, Bob Fee as President and COO. These two, along with advisory directors Darrel McCool and Kent Longenecker make up the management team of Fee Insurance Group. Jim Fee sadly passed away in August, 2003 leaving a large void in the agency.

In April of 1999, the agency opened an office in McPherson. Then, in January, 2004 another office was opened in Salina and in January 2006, a Wichita branch office was opened.

*The Fee Insurance Group offers practically all forms of insurance and bonds, and has a robust employee benefit and individual life insurance and retirement program. Our accounts number over 2,000 in total.

*We are independent agents. We represent stable, progressive and reliable insurance companies. They agree to provide our clients with sound protection backed by our service. As representatives of our clients we must make certain that we do just that. We enjoy the good will of the community. You can help us retain good will. In return, you will benefit.

*Our success depends on the efforts of every member of the agency. It takes years to build a sound business reputation. Please help us to preserve and improve our good name.