Longtime Charleston insurance business buys Florida agency

A longtime, locally based insurance business that operates along much of the Eastern seaboard has extended its reach into the Sunshine State.

Johnson & Johnson Inc., a family-owned company that’s marking its 85th anniversary this year, said it has acquired St. Petersburg, Fla.-based John Handel Associates Inc.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal will give Johnson & Johnson a second Florida location. Its other office in the state is in Melbourne, which it acquired through a 2012 acquisition.

John Handel Associates was formed in 1983 as a seller of specialty policies not offered by traditional insurers.

“Bringing JHA into the Johnson & Johnson family provides us with a terrific group of employees that will expand our ‘service first’ approach in Florida,” Francis Johnson, president, said in a written statement this week. “With our expanded Florida team, we will be able to offer our partner agents in Florida a wide array of superior insurance products and services.”

Mount Pleasant-based Johnson & Johnson doesn’t sell insurance directly to consumers. It’s purely a wholesale operation that offers an array of specialized products and financial services to independent agents.

Johnson & Johnson also is considered a “managing general agency,” meaning it can evaluate risks and draw up custom policies.

The company was started in 1930 in Charleston. Its sales and service footprint now includes every contiguous coastal state from Maine to Mississippi. The firm’s other offices are Greensboro, N.C., Montgomery, Ala., Quincy, Mass., and Burlington, Mass.