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History

The Dryfoos organization was founded in 1901 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania by Henry Dryfoos, Jr. For many years, the agency specialized in insurance coverage for complex and hazardous coal mining operations in Northeastern Pennsylvania. As a pioneering insurance organization, it was the first in the area to insure an automobile, write the area’s first aircraft insurance policy and provide insurance for emerging commercial operations.

In 1926, Henry Dryfoos’ office at Broad and Wyoming Streets in Hazleton was destroyed by fire. In 1927 he relocated his office across the street to the recently constructed Markle Bank and Trust Building, where the agency remained for more than 60 years.

In the 1930s, Henry Dryfoos was joined in business by his son, Llewellyn F. Dryfoos, Sr., a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and who had completed his thesis on the then-new concept of aviation insurance. He joined the business equipped with significant experience from working with several insurance companies.

Henry Dryfoos, Jr. passed away in 1955. Llewellyn Dryfoos, Sr. continued to run the agency and was joined, in the early 1960s, by his son, Lew Dryfoos, Jr., a graduate of Ursinus College. Lew, Sr. and Lew, Jr. jointly operated the agency until Lew, Sr.’s death in 1977.

The 1970s and 80s brought significant growth to the agency. Selected by the Insurance Company of North America to be the country’s first COMPAR Agent, Dryfoos Insurance became a significant regional insurance operation in Northeastern Pennsylvania. During this period, the agency conducted several acquisitions of local insurance agencies, including a merger with the Lundy Agency in 1988. Several key members of the agency’s team joined the organization during this period, increasing the size of the staff dramatically and necessitating the organization’s 1988 move from the Markle Building to more spacious offices at 28 South Vine Street.

Dryfoos Insurance entered the Lehigh Valley marketplace by opening a sales office in Allentown in 1984. The success of this operation later led to a 1997 strategic alliance between Dryfoos and The Woodring-Roberts Corp., a Bethlehem agency founded in 1905. The Dryfoos Agency Lehigh Valley sales office was merged with the Woodring-Roberts operation, providing Dryfoos’ Lehigh Valley customers a full-service local operation and giving the clients of both agencies enhanced resources and capabilities.

In 1991, following his service in the U.S. Army, Lew Dryfoos, III joined the organization as a commercial insurance agent. He worked out of both the Lehigh Valley and Hazleton locations, and was named President of the agency in 1998.

The Insurance Shop, an independent insurance agency located in Milton, Pennsylvania, joined forces with the Dryfoos organization in 2001.  This new location extended the agency’s reach into the Central Susquehanna Valley, and further enhanced the agency’s capabilities and influence in the insurance industry.

Llewellyn Dryfoos, Jr. continued to serve as the agency’s Chairman until his death in 2013.  In the 50 years he spent at the agency, the organization grew from a single office with a staff of 4 to a premier regional operation with 27 licensed agents.

From deals completed with a handshake to policies written over the internet, the insurance business has gone through a remarkable transformation over the past 110 years. Yet through it all, the Dryfoos organization has adapted and grown, and remained closely attuned to the needs of its clients.