Photo courtesy of Korrie Bourn
Melinda Bourn, left, will hand the family insurance business over to her daughters Kelsey, center, and Korrie.

By Ann McCreary

The Bourn family has been in the insurance business in the Methow Valley for 41 years, and the next generation is ready to continue the tradition.

Melinda Bourn, who owns Melbourn Insurance Agency, with offices in Winthrop and Twisp, has turned the business over to daughters Kelsey and Korrie.

The Bourn daughters also will become partners in six other VIP Insurance agencies around the region that are owned — in whole or in part — by their father, Mike Bourn. The result is a new business to be called the VIP Cascades Agency Inc., said Kelsey Bourn, who will be operations manager for the group, which employs 39 people.

The Bourn family insurance business had its start in 1976, when Mike and Melinda opened the first office in Winthrop.

Kelsey said her mother was considering retirement but wanted to keep Melbourn Insurance in local ownership, so she sat down with her four daughters — Kelsey, Korrie, Brooke and Beau — and asked if they would be interested in taking on the business. Kelsey and Korrie decided to team up.

“I was raised in the Methow Valley and was fortunate to open a business that I’ve been able to continue to enjoy and be successful,” said Melinda. “I’m thankful that my daughters have chosen to take over … It’s great to have new energy to continue the tradition. I’m happy to be able to provide a business opportunity for Kelsey and Korrie to continue living here.”

Both Kelsey and Korrie left the Methow Valley after high school to attend college. They said they are grateful to be able to come back to their home town and support themselves while continuing the longstanding family business.

“When I was in high school, I always knew I wanted to return to the Methow,” said Korrie. “It has always been a special place to me. I have always felt accepted by the community, and being so close to the North Cascades, with outdoor activities right outside my door, is priceless.”

Korrie has been working for Melbourn Insurance during the past three years and will work as office manager in Twisp and Winthrop.

“My mom has successfully operated her business here through tough economic times and has spent countless hours, including nights and weekends, to make sure her clients are taken care of,” she said.

“Being a part of the transition that is going to allow my mom to retire is exciting for me,” Korrie said. “I’m looking forward to working alongside of her and to continue learning from her.”

Kelsey lived, and attended school, in Seattle for several years. She graduated in 2016 from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in public policy and governance. “I decided to move back to the Methow because I wanted to be closer to my family and still have stable work to support myself,” Kelsey said.

She has been working as operations manager for her father’s VIP agencies. “When our mom mentioned selling the business I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down,” Kelsey said. “I also feel very fortunate to be a valley resident who has stable consistent work all year round, and I know that is unique.”

Melinda said she plans to work for a couple more years with a slow transition out of the business. “My plans are to enjoy my grandchildren, outdoor activities and travel.”

The insurance business is continually changing, “and as agents we are required to keep up,” Melinda said. “With the recent wildfires in our area, many companies have gotten more strict on their underwriting. Fortunately, as an independent insurance agency, we represent several insurance companies and can find markets to meet our clients’ needs.”

Kelsey and Korrie will have another business partner, Rebecca Gebbers, who is a partner with Mike Bourn in several of the VIP Insurance agencies.

In addition to Twisp and Winthrop, the new VIP Cascades Agency has offices in Tonasket, Oroville, Omak, Brewster, Chelan and Yakima. Gebbers primarily works at the Brewster office writing crop insurance policies and will continue doing that work, said Kelsey.

Combining with VIP will allow the Twisp and Winthrop offices to offer policies through several more companies than it currently does, she said.

The combined new agency offers home, auto, business, life, health, farm and crop policies through numerous insurance companies.