Frank Hagerty, a Detroit native who co-founded one of the nation’s largest collector car and boat insurers, died Tuesday at his home in Traverse City. He was 79.
Hagerty and his wife, Louise, founded the Hagerty Insurance Agency, LLC, in Traverse City in 1984. Under the leadership of Frank Hagerty and the couple’s son, McKeel Hagerty, now CEO, the company grew from a small insurer into an international business that also publishes industry magazines and price guides.
Frank Hagerty grew up in Detroit loving Ford cars. He graduated from Cooley High School and earned a business degree from Michigan State University in 1955. That same year, he married and he and his wife opened a general insurance agency in 1956. They eventually sold it and opened a specialized company to insure collector cars and boats in 1984.
Frank Hagerty’s first classic car was a 1956 Ford Thunderbird, which he bought from a junkyard for $225. The car remains in the family today.
Larry Moss, chairman of the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s in Plymouth, called Mr. Hagerty a “visionary” in the field of car collector insurance.
The insurance company is a sponsor of the yearly car show.
He recently rediscovered a 1948 Ford Sleeping Bear Dunesmobile and brought it home to northern Michigan. The car, Dune Car #9, took First Place in the beach car class at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in Florida this month. Frank rode in the car to the award platform.
In 2013, Fortune Magazine named Hagerty one of the top 50 small or medium businesses to work for in the country. Today the company has more than 600 employees, a UK office and plans to double its work force in the coming years.
photo credit: copyright 2014 The Detroit News
edited text credit: copyright Mike Martinez / The Detroit News