TRAVERSE CITY — Hagerty Insurance Agency hired Progressive Corporation veteran Richard Hutchinson as president.

McKeel Hagerty dropped that title but will continue in his role as Chief Executive Officer.

Hutchinson will have oversight of the company’s sales force, product design, underwriting and claims, marketing operations and strategic partnerships.

"I oversee everything here at Hagerty from a strategic standpoint," said Hagerty. "I wanted to bring in a real rock star to bring us forward, to bring in experience beyond my level of wisdom. It's a step toward sanity for me so I can focus."

Hutchinson holds degrees from Yale and the University of Chicago. He held multiple senior leadership roles during his 29-year career at the Progressive Corporation. He is an expert in insurance product design, pricing, underwriting, user-based insurance and both commercial and personal lines.

“With the addition of Richard to our executive team, Hagerty will continue to grow our market share and expand our product offerings within the collector vehicle market,” Hagerty said. “Richard will play a pivotal role in identifying the best products and services to help collectors enjoy their prized vehicles.”

Hagerty said the company's bottom line did well in 2014.

"It was our biggest sales year by quite an order of magnitude, ever," he said. "We did really well not just in the U.S., but in Canada, too."

Around 97 or 98 percent of the company's sales involve policies held by individuals.

"The commercial side, the club side is coming along," Hagerty said. "But we just keep outpacing ourselves in our core market so fast that the other business has trouble keeping up."

Hagerty was founded 30 years ago as a small family business that pioneered specific coverage for classic wooden boats. 

Hagerty now is the largest private company with specialty products and services for collector vehicles. It offers insurance for classic cars, trucks, motorcycles, tractors, automotive tools and any historic or collectible item linked with motor vehicles. It also offers insurance for overseas shipping and touring.

The Traverse City-based company has an international workforce of more than 650 employees.

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