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Bell Bank to purchase Fargo-based Warner and Company Insurance and its subsidiaries in Grand Forks, Detroit Lakes

Bell Bank expects to complete the purchase of Warner and Company Insurance March 31. Forum file photo

FARGO -- Bell Bank has announced its intent to purchase Warner and Company Insurance, a full-service insurance agency founded in Fargo more than 100 years ago.

Under the purchase agreement signed Wednesday, Jan. 23, Bell will purchase Warner and Company Insurance, as well as two of Warner and Company's other full-service agencies: Schiller Insurance in Detroit Lakes and Thompson-Schaefer Insurance Agency in Grand Forks. Together, the three agencies have 30 employees.

Michael Solberg, president and CEO of Bell Bank, released a statement praising the partnership between the two longtime Fargo institutions.

“We’re very excited to have the team from Warner and Company become part of the Bell Bank family,” Solberg said. “Warner has a century-long commitment to building our community and treating people the right way. It’s a fantastic culture fit for our two companies.”

Brian Hayer, president and CEO of Warner and Company, will remain managing director of all three insurance agencies under the Bell Insurance brand.

“There’s such perfect alignment of what we value and what Bell values,” Hayer said. “Our teams already share the values of community involvement and ethical decision-making. We treat employees like family. Our core values haven’t changed since the beginning, and it’s the same with Bell. That consistency makes our employees feel at ease, and I see this as a great opportunity for all of us.”

Patrick Chaffee, executive vice president of banking and wealth management at Bell Bank, says Bell’s new insurance line fits in well with Bell’s other banking, wealth management and other financial services.

“Expanding into the insurance arena complements all the other financial services we provide at Bell,” Chaffee said. “Being able to do that with the expertise of the team at Warner and Company is exactly what we’re looking for. We look forward to welcoming our new insurance team to Bell.”

Chaffee anticipates the final purchase to take place March 31, 2019, following regulatory approval. The Fargo and Grand Forks insurance agencies involved in the transaction will keep their current offices, while the Detroit Lakes agency will be moving into Bell Bank’s Detroit Lakes location. Warner and Company’s current Fargo offices at 318 Broadway in downtown Fargo are undergoing a major renovation, which should be completed at about the same time as the close of the purchase, Chaffee said.

On Jan. 18th, State Bankshares, the parent company of Fargo-based Bell Bank, announced that it had signed a deal to sell its subsidiary Discovery Benefits to WEX, a global provider of payment processing and business solutions with offices in West Fargo.

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