Walter Mortensen Insurance/INSURICA

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Profile appeared in our 31-1 Issue – April 2014

It is a rare thing to be able to say that your insurance agency is not only the leading independent insurance agency in all of Kern County, but that it also has been around since 1919. When it comes to Walter Mortensen Insurance/INSURICA, however, that is just an every day reality.

Collins & Mortensen (in front of the Telephone sign), 1931

Collins & Mortensen (in front of the Telephone sign), 1931

Founded by Walter Mortensen and originally known simply as Walter Mortensen Insurance, the business was located in downtown Bakersfield on the corner of 21st Street and Chester Avenue. Mortensen and his partner, Phil Collins, started this legacy out by selling accident insurance to oil industry employees.
The business was a success. The duo relocated to 1515 20th Street, though the partnership eventually dissolved. Mortensen then teamed up with James Coit, and they remained that spot until World War II while expanding into writing general liability and a new product called auto insurance!
After WWII, the agency took off, setting up shop on the corner of 20th and Eye streets. After 30 years of service, Mortenson retired in 1949, but still consulted for many years following. Later, Walter Lindecker became the manager in 1959 (with Herb Vaughn acting as the manager between ‘49 and ‘59), and retired eight years after. Ray Bass, a young captain from the U.S. Army Air Corps who came to Bakersfield via Minter Field in Shafter, was also working for the organization, and he became general manager in 1967.
As this business grew, they built a new location at 4701 Stockdale Highway. In 1984, Bass retired, and Bill Durall served as president until 1992. During this period of time, Walter’s son, Ross, had ambitions to take over his father’s business. Unfortunately, he tragically passed away in 1978 from cancer.

The current president, Ron Burcham, has been with the company since 1977 and obtained his current title in 1992. As the head of the company. Burcham has been a part of the growth the insurance agency has experienced, launching them to being the leading agency in the southern San Joaquin Valley and one of the top in the entire nation. The agency became a part of Guaranty Insurance Group in 2005, and moved to its current location just two years later.
In 2011, Walter Mortensen Insurance teamed up with INSURICA Insurance Management Network, which gives them unparalleled access to the most unique coverage and risk management expertise while maintaining the local agent relationship. It’s not just about selling an individual policy, but rather understanding the entire business structure and developing a comprehensive insurance management plan for clients.
At Walter Mortensens Insurance/INSURICA, they care about their community (they volunteer for such organizations as the Bakersfield Homeless Center, offer an internship program through the Boys & Girls Club, and provide Christmas gifts for children through Kern Bridges Youth Homes). Their employees take great pride in community service involvement because they believe this is a great place to live, work, and play.
As a testimony to their overall greatness, they boast of an impressive record of longevity amongst their management team, namely Ron Burcham (33 years), Michael Moore (27 years), Mike Hay (10 years), Mona Millington (46 years), Vickie Wright (29 years), Ranee Findley (17 years), Monique Eubanks (2 years), and Pam Binns (16 years). Staying true to the original vision their founder had so many years ago, their friendly staff is always there to help you with your insurance needs.

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