If you’ve seen Melinda Bourn out and about hiking, playing golf, or hanging out with her grandkids lately, there’s a good reason for it: she retired a week ago. After more than 40 years of working in the insurance industry, VIP Insurance tells us, Melinda has decided to retire, handing off the business she built with her then-husband, Mike, to two of their daughters: Korrie and Kelsey.
Born and raised in the Methow Valley, Melinda graduated from Twisp High School in 1972 and from Eastern Washington University in 1976 with a BA in elementary education. After substitute teaching for a year, Melinda joined Mike at the insurance agency he had bought from former Winthrop Mayor Warren Badger in 1975. “She had a hunch it was going to be a good business,” says Melinda’s daughter, Korrie, who is one of the new co-owners of the agency.
VIP was already a bit of a family business by the time Melinda joined. Melinda’s mom, Evelyn Darwood, had worked for Ralph Ferguson as an insurance agent in Twisp for 15 years, before joining Mike at VIP Insurance. After Melinda joined VIP, they purchased Ferguson’s agency and became the only insurance agency in the valley for many years.
In the early 2000s, Melinda began Melbourn Insurance, offering primarily commercial insurance for local independent contractors. In 2017, Melinda again merged with VIP insurance and sold the business to her daughters Korrie and Kelsey, remaining on staff for three more years to help with the transition. Melinda’s other daughters, Brooke and Beau, have also worked for the agency over the years.
Korrie says that Melinda “has been invested in clients” all these years, and that by passing the business into the hands of her daughters, Melinda is “giving her customers continuity and giving us a good profession.”
Melinda loves to be outside and will likely spend a hefty portion of her retirement enjoying the vast playground around her home, as well as traveling to warmer climates in the winter. “It’s a high-demand job,” Korrie says. “You think about it all day long and through the night. Retirement makes more space for my mom to enjoy her friendships and enjoy this valley.”
Due to COVID-19, VIP Insurance is not able to host a gathering to celebrate Melinda’s retirement; however, please send congratulatory notes to Melinda at P.O. Box 1230, Winthrop, WA 98862.