In April 1969 Normand Dion, a veteran producer for the Richard Flynn Insurance Agency in Lynn, bought the agency from Mr. Flynn and renamed it Columbia Insurance. The agency under one name or the other has been a fixture in downtown Lynn for over 60 years serving the home, auto and business insurance needs of its customers.

In April of 1995 John Olson, who at different times served as both an underwriting and claims manager at Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp, left Plymouth Rock to start a brand new agency in Salem, MA. He named the agency Corporate Group Insurance (CGI). CGI specialized in providing group auto and home insurance programs to the employees of the high-tech and bio-tech companies that are abundant in Greater Boston. One of CGI’s unique features was the free on-site and Registry service it provided it’s clients.

In August 2001 John purchased Columbia from Norm and merged the two agencies together under the Columbia name. Columbia is still located in downtown Lynn and is still providing the free on-site service that CGI offered.

Test Run to the RMV

Recently the Registry of Motor Vehicles "RMV" rolled out a new registration application (the RTA) that will be replacing the old RMV-1 and RMV-3 forms. As of December 16, 2019 all registration transactions will have to be done using the RTA. The RTA can be completed either manually or on-line at your agent's office. If it is done on-line your agent can have the application pre-approved. As part of the pre-approval process a bar code will be printed on the RTA. The bar code is supposed to give the bearer a priority number and allow the Registry personnel to complete the transaction much quicker. That's right, if it's pre-approved you are supposed to get through your trip to the RMV faster.

Last Friday I tried it out. I went to the Danvers branch with a pre-approved RTA. I mentioned to the person assigning numbers that I thought I was supposed to get a priority number, but he had not heard that so I got a regular assignment. After my number was called I went up to the window. I asked the woman how the the transition to the new form was going and she said that they had to input so much more info and the printing was so small that it took longer. I mentioned the bar code to her and she tried it out. She had the look of a kid on Christmas morning! Her computer screen filled with all of the information we had entered back at the office . She entered about two items and the transaction was done.

All in all I would call it an encouraging first run. Just remember that the Registry personnel are learning the new system too. I can see the process getting smoother as both the agents and the RMV staff get more familiar with it. Hopefully, some day soon lines like the one above will be a thing of the past at the RMV.


Columbia in the Community


The 5th Annual Lynn Festival of Trees starts tomorrow 11/17/19 at LVTI and runs through next Saturday. If you are looking for a low-cost, fun event to kick off the holidays this is it. The kids will be amazed at all of the trees and you can even enter a raffle to try to win your favorite trees.
Pictured below is Christine Pierce and me with Columbia's 2019 tree, titled "Santa's Workshop".



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