By Elizabeth Riggs

Insurance. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it. While many people may dread finding solutions to insurance needs. A new agency in Ellicottville is hoping to change that stereotypical perspective.

Ellen Fenton & Company, located at 39 Mill Street, Suite F, opened its doors in March, but Fenton has been in the insurance business for more than 30 years.

Fenton is a Licensed New York State Real Estate Salesperson, served as a director for The Insurance Club of Buffalo from 2005 to 2009, and was elected as an officer for secretary in 2009. The Western New York Insurance Association (WNYIA) elected her as a director in 2012, officer, secretary in 2013, and vice president from 2014-15.

Fenton, an Ellicottville native, is glad to have doors open in her hometown, and is hoping to change the way people think of insurance.

“The biggest challenge that we have is that insurance is not a fun thing for people,” said Fenton. “We’re doing our best to make insurance fun for people, to make sure people have the right coverage at the right price.”

Fenton is a representative of Erie Insurance Company, a Fortune 500 insurance company, and works as an independent consultant to her customers. As an independent consultant, Fenton is free to choose the best carrier for the customer’s needs and can offer competitive coverage packages and prices.

“Insurance is a scary thing. It’s a premium that you pay and you don’t see any return on it until you have a loss,” said Fenton. “A lot of times people don’t really understand what they have. It doesn’t hurt to have a second set of eyes.”

This time of year, Fenton said, is a good time to come in for a consultation on boat and marine insurance, motorcycle insurance or camper/RV insurance. Though, with Fenton’s competitive packages, it may be a good idea just to hear about new coverage options, or for a second opinion.

“Most of the time, I can save people money and give them better coverage. But if I can’t, they have the comfort of having a second set of eyes. Sometimes it’s just nice to know you do have what you think you have,” Fenton explained.

Fenton began her career in the insurance business in 1984, working for John Weed, the original partner of Weed Ross Agency in Ellicottville. Fenton’s husband, Tom, who is also a consultant at the agency, has insurance in his bloodlines.

“My husband’s family was in the insurance business forever. His grandfather had an agency in Salamanca in the 1940s, Fenton Insurance Agency, and his father had an insurance agency in the 1960s, E.F. Fenton & Company in Salamanca. His dad wanted him to get into the insurance business and he just thought it was going to be too boring,” Fenton said with a laugh.

Ellicottville natives may already know Ellen and Tom Fenton from their successful carpet and upholstery cleaning business — Carpet Pros Restoration—and they couldn’t be more excited about their new endeavor.

“We’re excited to be able to give back to the community again, this time with a different service,”

Fenton said. “I’m from the area and I’ve been a part of the community for a really long time.

Ellen Fenton & Company will be hosting an open house and grand opening this spring, and encourages people to come in and see what they have to offer. For more information about their services, visit their website: www.ellenfenton.com.