CLINTON, N.Y. — It’s a business known to many in Clinton and the surrounding area—The Burns Agency.
Since 1919, The Burns Agency in Clinton has specialized in providing the community with personal and commercial insurance.
O. Gregory Burns, who was a prominent Clinton attorney at the time, started the insurance agency 100 years ago.
“It began as an ancillary business, providing car and fire insurance to Mr. Burns’ legal clients,” the agency’s website said. “The agency grew as O. Gregory’s son Nicholas K. Burns, Sr., joined in the early 1950s. Nick Sr. capitalized on the good Burns name in Clinton (established by his father; and grandfather, O.J. Burns, who operated a successful grocery in town) by successfully becoming “The” real estate agent in Clinton. Nick Sr. provided car and homeowners insurance to his real estate clients and was a one-man welcome wagon to people who settled in the community he loved. During his 30 years in the insurance business, Nick Sr. gained a reputation for excellence and professionalism.”
In 1977, Nicholas K. Burns, Jr., and David J. Burns joined the business.
“As time went on,” the website continued, “Nick Jr., who has since left the agency to pursue a career in publishing, copywriting and marketing, and Dave began to build the commercial lines division. The brothers purchased the business in 1984 from their father’s estate and worked to make sure that the primary focus of the business would be providing insurance services. The “small town” character of the agency with a focus on insurance sales and service is still the rule. Marketing strategies have expanded the agency’s territory but do not compromise its honest, caring, customer first, small town roots.”
Dave Burns was president of his family business until his death in 2022.
It was announced Thursday morning that the locally owned, century-old business will be acquired by another local name in insurance: Gilroy Kernan & Gilroy, Inc.
“After 104 years—and four generations—the Burns family is proud to leave their customers and their family’s legacy in the hands of another local, family-owned, independent insurance agency with deep ties to the local community,” the release announcing the venture stated.
Also serving the community for over 100 years, GKG specializes in personal, commercial, risk management, employee benefits and retirement.
Larry Gilroy, president of GKG, said that they’re proud to continue Dave’s legacy.
“Dave was not only a trusted advisor, but [also] a great leader and friend to many in our community. This acquisition brings together two firms with over 225 years of combined history and demonstrates the strong commitment of both to our local community. We are proud to continue Dave’s legacy as we move into the future,” Gilroy said.
The familiar faces at The Burns Agency—Wendy Lawlor, Julie Freemire, Sandra Freeman and Elaine Wallace—are now employed by GKG.
“They remain committed to servicing clients and will be exploring opportunities for professional growth at GKG,” the New Hartford firm said of The Burns Agency team members.
The Burns Agency’s clients are now clients of GKG, effective immediately.
“GKG is committed to minimizing any disruption to clients during the transition. As far as the day to day goes, little will change,” the insurance agency said.
The Burns Agency location at historic 29 Park Row will remain open to clients, with the familiar Burns Agency staff operating primarily out of the Clinton location.
“Our acquisition of The Burns Agency has rooted us even deeper in Central New York. We look forward to the privilege of serving our clients—current and future—for many years to come,” GKG said.
For more on The Burns Agency being acquired by GKG, click here.