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Lawley Service Group expands Rochester unit with acquisition

Lawley Service Group of Insurance Companies is expanding its Rochester operation, acquiring that region's 8th-largest insurance agency as measured by staff.

Buffalo-based Lawley is buying the Walter C. Taylor Agency, which will merge with Lawley-Andolina LLC in Rochester to form Lawley-Andolina-Verdi LLC. The deal combines the No. 8 and No. 10 agencies. Philip Andolina, who heads the Lawley unit now, will serve as managing branch partner.

"This merger is great news for our customers," Andolina said. "Our goal remins the same: to work hard for our clients to help reduce their claims and insurance costs."

Taylor president James E. Verdi and vice president Mark S. Verdi will join Lawley as partners. The merger is effective on Jan. 1.

Both agencies' clients will get access to more insurance companies that each firm had not previously represented -- in Taylor's case, 50 new carriers.

"By teaming up with Lawley Service, we have expanded our capabilities considerably," James Verdi said. "We're looking forward to this new venture and we are confident that our clients will be the direct beneficiary of our new partnership.

Taylor was founded in 1933, operating as a small family-owned business until the late 1960s, when James P. Verdi joined. He bought the agency from Walter Taylor in 1978, and his sons James and Mark then joined the firm and bought it from their father in 1998.

This is the second merger this year for Lawley-Andolina, which was founded in 1956. The full-service agency merged with Consolidated Risk Associates earlier this year to make it one of the area's largest providers of insurance and employee benefits to nonprofits. It now has over 35 employees in Rochester.

For parent Lawley, the deal continues its expansion across New York State and into New Jersey, and marks its largest purchase in the Rochester area and its third merger overall in three years. Founded in 1955, Lawley also has offices in Batavia, Fredonia, Syracuse, Westchester County and in Fairfield and Annandale, N.J. It's the 73rd largest U.S. insurance broker, according to Business Insurance magazine.

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com

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