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Founder Charles C. Parker graduated from the University of Washington in June 1931 and went to work for the General Insurance Company of America, which later became the Safeco Insurance Company. Six years later, Parker founded his own independent agency as a sole proprietor. Shortly thereafter, Graham Smith joined Parker in 1938.
In the 1950s, Parker-Smith Company developed a special expertise in construction insurance. Parker and Smith were involved with many of the region’s prominent construction projects, such as the Seattle Post Intelligencer Building, the Logan Building, Children’s Orthopedic Hospital, and Northgate Shopping Center.
Edward O. Feek joined the company in 1955. Feek brought a particular expertise in construction and surety. In 1957, Parker-Smith incorporated as Parker, Smith & Feek, Inc.
When the World’s Fair visited Seattle in 1962, Parker, Smith & Feek arranged the insurance coverage for the main attraction – the Space Needle. Other Parker, Smith & Feek projects of that decade included the Monorail, the Norton Building and, in 1968, the Pacific Northwest’s largest skyscraper, Seattle First National Bank building.
As the firm developed, a new team of professionals joined the firm’s leadership roles. Keith Douglas, formerly a Vice President at a regional competitor, Labow Haynes, became the next Parker, Smith & Feek president. Shortly thereafter, Vic Parker, Charles Parker’s son, joined the firm in 1971.
The Parker, Smith & Feek Employee Benefits Department organized in 1975. While Parker, Smith & Feek had already been serving clients in this area, the new division granted access to a broader collection of health insurance providers, and new team members allowed the firm to offer benefit plan design and consulting.
The Seattle area experienced unprecedented growth in the 1980s. The skyline sprouted many new skyscrapers, most of which Parker, Smith & Feek bonded and insured during construction. These included First Interstate Center and Columbia Center, the tallest building west of the Mississippi. During this time, Vic Parker became president of the firm, a position he would hold for 22 years.
In 1984, a premier partnership of privately held insurance brokerages around the world, Assurex International, asked Parker, Smith & Feek to be the sole representative firm for Washington State. At the same time, the firm’s involvement in the construction industry expanded to Alaska, and Parker, Smith & Feek executives were traveling regularly to serve clients in the 49th state. The decision was made in 1986 to open a permanent office in Anchorage to meet the needs of Alaskan contractors.
Parker, Smith & Feek is ranked as one of the nation’s top 100 largest insurance brokers by Business Insurance magazine. Widely recognized as a dominant broker in the construction industry, the firm began a concentrated effort to expand its services to other business segments like technology, healthcare, real estate, food processing and manufacturing. In 1998, the firm organized cross-disciplinary teams into Practice Groups and continued to add talent and experience focused on these selected areas.
In 2004, Greg Collins, a 17-year veteran of Parker, Smith & Feek, became the fourth president in the firm’s history. Today there are 190 employees between the Bellevue, Washington and Anchorage, Alaska offices. The firm represents more than 300 insurance and bonding companies and manages more than $400 million of property, casualty, surety, and health insurance premiums.