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Miami's oldest Insurance Agency

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Butler Buckley & Deets was founded in 1910, established as Newman & MacVeigh Insurance Agency. Raymond W. Butler the first joined in 1921 and renamed it Raymond W Butler Inc in 1932. For a good number of years Raymond W Butler Inc.  operated out of one of Henry Flagler’s Palm cottages, originally built to house the workers of his Royal Palm Hotel.  As one of Miami’s pioneers, the Butler agency has always had ties to some of the most notable names in the community. The agency still has some of those original ledgers which include names like William Brickell and Hopkins-Carter Marine Hardware. Back when horses and buggies rumbled down Flagler Street, Miami's founders bought their insurance from the agency's predecessors who scribbled the single-digit dollar and cent accounting entries in the hardbound ledger. 

As can be imagined, the agency has endured all the shifts known to the industry.  Over the past 100 years, the business has accommodated to “soft markets” where premiums drop and clients scatter for better premium, as well as “hard markets” whereby the opposite occurs and premiums are higher, companies are stricter, and the Independent Agent is tasked with finding feasible solutions for the client. Throughout the market changes and some very active even devastating storm seasons, Butler Buckley & Deets has grown into a stable and prosperous insurance agency.

Today the agency prides itself on having a stellar reputation and the ability to properly place all your insurance needs.  Raymond and Thomas Butler work alongside their sons who have the charge of leading the office into the next 100 years.  As Miami continues to grow, we are here to help insure it! This now fourth-generation enterprise has been built on a solid foundation. We hope you will allow Butler Buckley & Deets to be your Independent Agent.

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Looking down on visitors in the modern, gleaming waiting room of insurance agency Butler, Buckley, and Deets are portraits of the firm’s late forefathers. Raymond W. Butler and Raymond W. Butler, Jr.

Hidden behind the paintings, invisible to the casual visitor, but as real as the computer terminals lacing the desks, lies the company's intangible history, dating back to the early days of the 20th century when the firm was founded as Miami's First Insurance Agency.

Back when horses and buggies rumbled down Flagler Street, Miami's pioneers bought their insurance from the agency's predecessors, who scribbled the single-digit dollar and cent accounting entries in the hardbound ledger. The agency still has some of those original ledgers which include names like William Brickell, Hopkins-Carter Marine Hardware and Bunnell Foundation to name a few.

In 1910, E.F. MacVeigh and M.B. Newman opened the insurance agency, Newman and Macveigh. In 1921, Raymond W. Butler who had moved from Brunswick, Ga., joined the agency. The three agents worked together until 1932, when Butler took over the firm and formed Raymond W. Butler Insurance, Inc. with offices in the Seybold Building. For years, Butler plied his trade with a small staff, selling auto, dwelling and general liability coverage for businesses and individuals. Even when the depression hit, and several other local agencies found themselves unable to pay their account balances to insurers and went bankrupt, Raymond W. Butler managed to pay all of his company's accounts by selling their real estate holdings of properties on the Miami River and the land where the "Tobacco Road" restaurant now sits. Thereby staying solvent and maintaining the company's reputation.

In 1949, Raymond Butler, Sr. had suffered a stroke, and his son, Raymond Butler, Jr., who was a Pan American Airlines Pilot, joined the firm. Raymond Butler, Sr. died in 1968. Raymond Butler, Jr. continued to manage the agency until his untimely death in 1980.

Aside from his business, Raymond Butler, Jr. was active in the Miami community and served as chairman of the Miami Transit Authority for 14 years, running it "out of the fare box" and taking a salary of $1 a year, his son said. In 1969, when Raymond Butler, III joined the firm, the agency had $1 million in annual premium volume. His brother Tom, came on board in 1972 and brother Richard, joined in the company in 1976.

"My father loved insurance and this "town". His desire was to have all three sons in the business with him, and he got his wish.” said Raymond Butler, III. The brothers also have a sister, Lynne Hendricks, who is not active in the business. "I'm very, very proud of the fact that my grandfather started the company and his son and grandsons came into it," said Executive Vice President Tom Butler. "It's a close family and it keeps the family together."

Over the years, the firm has moved only 3 times. From the Seybold Building, the company moved in 1951 to one of Henry Flagler's original Royal Palms Cottages - built in 1896 to house railroad workers at 134 SE 2nd St. In 1979, when the property was condemned under imminent domain resulting in a forced sale to the city, the agency moved to its current location in the Waterford complex on Blue Lagoon Dr.

In April 1994, Raymond W. Butler Insurance merged with Buckley, Deets & Associates - which specialized in commercial insurance for property, casualty and employee benefits - to form Butler, Buckley, and Deets. "Today the agency has eleven agents and premium volume has reached $25 million a year," Raymond Butler, III said.

Butler, Buckley, and Deets are divided into several divisions, handling nearly every type of insurance for businesses and individuals. Divisions include commercial lines, personal lines, bonds, group health and benefits, claims administration, and aviation and ocean marine. "About seventy-five percent of the business is commercial," Raymond Butler, III said.

"Usually agencies have niches," said executive vice president Richard Butler. "But we try not to specialize too much . We don't try to limit ourselves to one particular industry or type of insurance."

The firm now represents about 55 insurance companies, including St. Paul Insurance, which has been represented by the firm since 1912, Raymond Butler, III said.

On Butler, Buckley and Deets' client list are names such Security Services of America, Overholt Construction Corp., Arquitectonica, Merrill-Stevens Dry Dock Company and MBL Paving.

Merril-Steven's Vice President Phil Everingham said "They were instrumental in getting our company out of the assigned risk pool and into a standard company with a significant savings on the premium," Everingham said the total savings over the four-year period has exceeded $200,000.

The agency also insured the 186-acre property that is now the Waterford complex from the time it was raw land in 1978, through the development and construction by Weda Developers, up until it was sold to Teachers Insurance Group in 1989.

Butler, Buckley and Deets also handle claims administration for self-insured rental car agencies such as Cruise America, based in Mesa, Arizona, which rents out its fleet of 5,000 motor homes across the entire North, Central and South Americas. Raymond Butler, III acts as the firm's risk manager.

Larry Deets, the firm's chief financial officer, also handles insurance consulting for such clients as Carlos de la Cruz and the University of Miami. "When you have five [partners]," said Deets, "there's more time spent on production and less time on administration."

Deets and Executive Vice President Tom Buckley - both of whom have more than 35 years of insurance experience - said they chose to team up with the Butlers because of the firms reputation and compatibility, and to create volume and efficiency.

"The days of the little agent are numbered because the insurance companies want to deal with agencies that have a large premium volume, and the only way to do that is to have strength in numbers," Buckley said. "[The Butlers] have been in business since 1910, they have name recognition here in Miami. I like that - with longevity, there's usually success."

Raymond and Tom Butler each have their sons in the business. Forrest , Garrett , and Brandon Butler are now learning the trade to continue the succession of this now four-generation "Miami" company!

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