Spokane Journal of Business

Pemco Insurance moves Spokane-area operations to big Valley space

West Side insurer mulls expansion into N. Idaho

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Pemco Mutual Insurance Co., the Seattle-based insurance agency, has moved its Spokane operation to larger quarters in the River View Corporate Center, at 16201 E. Indiana, in Spokane Valley, says company spokesman Jon Osterberg.

Pemco opened in its new, nearly 26,000-square-foot space, which takes up half of the fourth floor of the River View building, on March 16, Osterberg says. The company previously occupied nearly 21,000 square feet of space, spread out over several floors, in the Freeway Plaza Building, at 1500 W. Fourth, Osterberg says. 

Osterberg says Pemco has 80 employees in Spokane and 570 total throughout its three locations: Spokane, Seattle, and Lynnwood, Wash. It provides a variety of insurance policies, including home, automobile, boat, and renter’s insurance to customers around the Northwest. Pemco sells insurance over the phone, through its local community agents, and on its website. 

Pemco decided to move its Spokane operations partly because the lease was up on its previous space, Osterberg says. The company has signed a 10-year lease on its new space, he says. 

Also, Pemco wanted an office closer to the Washington-Idaho border to accommodate possible future growth into North Idaho. 

“We don’t have expectations to expand into Idaho for the next two years; 2017 is a possibility,” Osterberg says. 

Sylvia Brown, service manager for the agency’s Spokane operation, says the new location is more open and has more light than its previous quarters. 

“Everywhere you go in the building, you’re able to get a lot of light, and that’s always been a concern for a lot of our employees,” she says. 

Collaboration also was important when designing the new space, Brown says. 

“There’s a sense of privacy, but you’re able to work with your neighbor,” she says. The office features include desks that can be elevated electronically, so people can work standing if they wish, Brown says. 

“We also were able to do a lot of our branding throughout the building, which really makes (our workers) feel at home,” she says.

The new quarters also have enough space to accommodate more employees, should the company decide to expand here, Osterberg says. 

Pemco’s Spokane office also is its contingency site, in case a large earthquake ever devastates the West Side, says Seattle-based Osterberg. 

“Our contingency is if the big shaker ever hits over here, everything automatically shifts to the Spokane office so we can continue to serve customers seamlessly,” he says.

Pemco shared its former space here with the School Employees Credit Union, which was founded by Pemco founder Robert J. Handy. Osterberg says the credit union isn’t moving into the new space with Pemco, however. 

Pemco, which was founded in 1949, opened its first Spokane office on Nora Avenue in 1980. In 1988, it moved its Spokane operations to north Atlantic Street, and then to West Fourth in 2002, where it remained until last week. 

The River View Corporate Center was developed by well-known Spokane hotelier Walt Worthy in 2009, under Worthy Enterprises LLC. 

The five-story, roughly 250,000-square-foot center is about 80 percent leased, says Jack Marr, director of leasing for Worthy Enterprises. Marr says Pemco is the first tenant on the fourth floor of the five-story building, and there’s about 27,000 square feet still available for lease on that floor, he says, as well as a little space on the first, second, and third floors.

Katie Ross
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Reporter Katie Ross covers manufacturing, hospitality, and government at the Journal of Business. An outdoor enthusiast and snowboard fanatic, Katie is a recent graduate of Gonzaga University.  

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