Only one other business in New Bethlehem has seen more of the pageant of our local history than June’s Business of the Month, the Charles P. Leach Agency, Inc. Organized in 1932, the Leach Agency is only 3 years younger than the borough’s oldest still active business, the Leader – Vindicator newspaper. Mr. Charles P. Leach, grandfather of the agency’s current owner Lisa Goth, hung his shingle on Broad Street at the depth of the Great Depression. The Leach Agency has been part of the area’s business landscape through nearly 80 years of constant changes.
Although the Charles P. Leach Agency offers personal, auto, life, and health insurance, they have focused on business insurance. With licensing in 19 states, Leach’s can offer a wide range of coverage and service at competitive pricing. It is easy to forget that a business loss affects, not just the business owners, but their employees, customers, and suppliers, too. Business insurance has to be take all of this into account for good coverage and the Leach Agency is good at writing business coverage.
Being a family-owned business, it follows that family interest can help develop the business model. The Agency started writing coverages for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) when Lisa’s father, Chuck Leach became one of the founding members of Redbank Valley Volunteer Ambulance Company. The Leach Agency then began offering insurance to volunteer fire departments and EMS providers in the late 1970s. Lisa’s husband, Ed Goth has been an EMT for over 30 years and continues to keep his certification current using his skills as an active member of the New Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department. The Agency is now PA’s largest writer of Volunteer Fire Departments.
The insurance business is state regulated. Each state requires an individual to have an insurance license and continuing education in order to sell insurance. Lisa and Ed have earned the designation of Certified Insurance Counselor. Several members of their team have earned the designation of Certified Insurance Service Representative. Both of these designations require significant education and testing to obtain with ongoing hours of education each year to maintain the certification. Lisa says that ongoing education is an important part of the Agency’s success. Currently, the Charles P Leach Agency has 18 full-time employees and 1 part-time employee.
Lisa is very much aware of her family’s long history in the Redbank Valley area. She is the 5th generation to call this region “home”. Her Great-Great-Grandfather and his 3 sons started Brookville Glove Manufacturing in 1883. Her awareness of this long history and sense of community shows themselves in the primary goal that she has set for the Agency, “protecting you like family.” She said, “We don’t just sell a piece of paper. The value of our services isn’t realized until the client needs to make a claim. We personally help our clients when they need their insurance the most. We are there on their worst day”.
This awareness of history, community and responding to needs are all part of what makes the Leach Agency unique. Lisa sees the business as being part of the community, highly service motivated, and responsive to their clients. Lisa says they take the time to get to know the businesses they insure. They go out into the gas fields, the production floors, restaurants, and stores. This familiarity with the businesses has helped the Agency service their clients during the pandemic shutdown by adjusting coverages to the changes that were forced on the businesses.