This article appeared in the April 4, 2011 edition of The Tupper Lake Free Press. It is being reprinted with permission.
Torch passed at Belleville and Associates
by Mary Peryea
Belleville and Associates has been offering insurance to residents of Tupper Lake and surrounding areas for 63 years.
In January of this year, the torch was passed from father to daughter when Jessie Belleville assumed ownership of the agency from her father Ron.
Jessie’s roots are deep in Tupper Lake and in the insurance business. She is the third generation of the family to own the agency.
“I can’t see myself doing anything different,” she said.
Jessie worked part time at the business during high school and college. After earning a two-year business degree from North Country Community College, she worked for a time at the American Management Association in Saranac Lake, then at a doctor’s office.
About 10 years ago, her father started talking to her about taking over the business. The rest, as they say, is history.
Jessie said she never really considered leaving Tupper Lake. She plans to keep the business going and hopes it will grow. Like so many other local business owners, Jessie is hoping hers will get a boost from the ACR development.
One of the things Jessie likes most about the insurance business is that it’s different every day. She enjoys the “people side” of the business as well.
Belleville’s is a paperless office. Everything is done by computer, and as you enter the office, one of the first things you’ll notice is the two monitors on everyone’s desk. Multi-tasking is the rule of the day.
Everyone at the agency is a licensed insurance agent. Jessie is a broker as well. Becoming an agent involves six weeks of classroom instruction and passing a state exam. Maintaining that license means earning a set number of continuing education credits every two years.
Jessie said that in the classes and conferences she’s attended, she’s noted that there aren’t many people under the age of 40 working in the insurance field in the North Country. This will probably lead to some agencies folding, she said, as agents and brokers retire.
Jessie said anyone considering going into the insurance business must be detail-oriented and willing to work with people during good times and bad. Computer skills are a definite plus, as are patience and empathy. The business can be stressful and overwhelming at times, she warned.
Belleville and Associates employs seven full and part time agents, with offices in Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake. They deal with about 30 insurance companies. They offer a full range of personal insurance lines, as well as commercial/business insurance and retirement planning.
For more information, visit http://bellevilleandassociates.com