Keeping with our philosophy of “from our family to yours” through four generations, Seely & Durland Insurance is rich with history, having provided protection to the community since 1934.
Founding principal, Harry S. Seely, was born in Goshen, NY. He began his career with the Travelers Insurance Company in Manhattan in 1912. After a successful career with Travelers, he returned to Orange County in 1934, establishing residency with his wife and children in Warwick, NY. With a typewriter, desk, and file cabinet, he opened his insurance agency at 13 Grand Street and built his business on personal (auto and fire) and commercial insurance for farms in Pine Island and Florida. Seely, along with other business owners, founded the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce in 1939 (then called “The Warwick Board of Trade”) and became its first president serving until 1948.
Seely’s son-in-law, Kenneth L. Durland, joined the firm in 1959 and became a partner in 1962 when it incorporated as Seely & Durland, Inc. Seely died in 1966 after an auto accident, at which point Ken took over, carrying on Mr. Seely’s vision and legacy of providing protection and leadership to the community of Warwick, for which that legacy continues to this day over three-quarters of a century later.
Under Ken’s leadership, the business prospered and, in 1980, his son, Garrett Durland, joined the firm. Garrett’s initial responsibilities were to computerize workflows and procedures in an effort to continually support responsiveness to customers, an initiative virtually unheard of at that time. He also took over handling of claims, the very essence of why an independent insurance agency thrives in our communities. In 1980, the firm moved to its current location on 13 Oakland Avenue, occupying a Village of Warwick historic Victorian.
In 1990, Stuart Durland, Ken’s oldest son, left Travelers Insurance Company to join the firm, focusing on marketing, operations, and technology, allowing Garrett to concentrate on sales. From 1990 to 1997, the firm more than doubled its revenue. In January, 1997, after 39 years, Ken retired and sold the business to his sons.
In 2002, Stuart & Garrett developed a long term agency alliance plan and initiated it with three other agencies. The alliance, DCS Risk Management Group, has grown to 7 agencies throughout the Hudson Valley. Each agency shares similar values on customer service, insurance company representation, and management. This affiliation has allowed us to broaden our product offerings, which is a great benefit to our clients. We are also able to access large insurance agency resources while maintaining local, personal relationships with our clients.
In 2004 Stuart, Garrett, and Ken undertook a gut renovation of their Village Victorian headquarters, renovating the entire first and second floors. Included in the renovation was an exterior facelift bringing the building back to its original grandeur. In 2005, the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce awarded Seely & Durland Insurance with the Building Renovation of the Year Award.
Keeping with their grandfathers’ original vision and legacy, Garrett and Stuart, along with their dedicated staff, continue to be an active part of the community. Garrett, a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), has been actively involved in the Chamber of Commerce, serving as president twice and treasurer once, while maintaining a presence as a director on the board for the past 20 years. He served as the president of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association (IIABA) of Orange County in 2002 and 2003, and was subsequently awarded the Outstanding Local Board President at the state’s annual meeting. He was an active board member of the Warwick Soccer Club, and coached recreation and travel soccer for over 15 years. Garrett resides in Warwick with his wife, Rachel. they have two grown sons, Benjamin and Lucas.
Stuart has held many national level automation and technology leadership positions, including the Agents Council for Technology (ACT), The Association Users Group Information Exchange (AUGIE). He is a past president of the Applied Systems Client Net (a national users group with over 4000 members), and currently co-chairs the Insurance Digital Revolutions (IDR). He has also been recognized several times for his contributions to the industry. Stuart is a past treasurer of the IIABA of Orange County and a past president and current member of the Warwick Lions Club. He is also the current treasurer of the Warwick Cemetery and past president of the Warwick Valley Country Club. Stuart resides in Warwick with his wife, Cal; they have three grown sons, Brian, Eric, and Justin.
Of course, their father carried the torch prior to his boys, having served as president of the Warwick Valley Chamber, and 10 years as president of Albert Wisner Public Library. Ken was also president of the Warwick Valley Country Club, and a member of the Warwick Rotary and Lions.
Stuart and Garrett’s niece, Brianna Smith, joined the agency in 2015 as a Client Relations Professional, thus giving Seely & Durland the distinction of a 4th generation agency and business!