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[caption id="attachment_37846" align="alignright" width="222" caption="Mike Ryan, Bill Merget"][/caption]

PETALUMA -- After barely a year in the North Bay, Edgewood Partners Insurance Center will relocate from the Petaluma Marina Business Center to a larger space to accommodate its growth over the past year while establishing a permanent location in the city at 5350 Old Redwood Highway.

EPIC's Petaluma branch, opened last July, was started by longtime North Bay insurance veterans Bill Merget and Mike Ryan,  both formerly of ABD Insurance, which was acquired by Wells Fargo Insurance Services in 2007. The two principals said the move into a 7,000 square-foot location-- which just about doubles its size --  is a reflection of its inaugural year's performance.

"It's been a little over a year and we've popped in pretty nicely," Mr. Merget said. “The response of the North Bay business community to EPIC and what we are creating locally has been nothing short of phenomenal."

EPIC, the North Bay's ninth largest independent property and casualty insurance agency, had just over $30 million in premium volume in its first year, Mr. Ryan said, adding that the agency is looking to expand all of its offerings.  Its  North Bay  annual premium volume is generated roughly through property & casualty premium of $19 million, workers compensation premium of $9 million and surety production of $3 million.  In addition, its employee benefits department generates nearly $6 million of premium.

The Petaluma Marina location was never meant to be permanent, Mr Ryan said.

"We wanted to get a permanent space, and we wanted to put our roots down to further growth," Mr. Ryan said. EPIC will expand its employee benefits department, property casual, surety and over time its personal lines departments.

"What we're doing is going to the same service model we've done in the past, where we're a one-stop shop, and we want to bring the resources all under one roof," Mr. Ryan said. "It's been a fortunate first year out of the gate."

EPIC plans to grow from its existing 13 employees to 20 or so within the next year. It signed a seven-year lease at the new location, at the corner of Old Redwood Highway and Redwood Way, and has an option for an additional 5,000 square feet should the branch need to grow further, according to Mr. Ryan.

“We are very bullish on our growth plans," Mr. Merget said, particularity in the employee benefits and casualty departments, where EPIC is looking to fill positions.

The building is owned by San Mateo-based Cornerstone Properties, which has purchased seven buildings over the past several years in Petaluma, among them the 170,000-square-foot former Cisco Systems campus in northern Petaluma.

Mr. Merget said EPIC will be fully moved in at the new location and operational by Aug. 15.

EPIC was represented by Micheal Jones of Cresca Partners of Los Angeles and Cornerstone was represented by Tony Sarno of Keegan & Coppin. (Mr. Sarno has since left Keegan & Coppin for another brokerage.)

In addition to the Petaluma office, EPIC’s Bay Area division includes locations in San Francisco, San Mateo, where it is based, and San Ramon. It has nearly $60 million in revenues, putting it in the top 50 retail insurance brokers in the U.S., and it is the fifth-largest privately held brokerage in the state.