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During a recent client visit, some insurance fossils were unearthed. While working on converting paper files to electronic ones, employees at R.E.H. Holdings found copies of insurance policies dating back nearly 100 years. Arguably our longest-term client relationship started back in the 1930’s, when R.E.H. Holdings, Inc. was operating as H.J. Williams Co., Inc. As we paged through the documents, we couldn’t help but think about how our respective organization and our client relationships have evolved over the past century of service.


The origins of R.E.H. Holdings, Inc. began in York, PA in the 1930s. Over the next several decades, it would grow into one of the foremost heavy and highway contractors in the region, credited with building many roads and bridges throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland.

While we haven’t determined the exact date our companies began working together, we found some insurance policies dating back to 1939 (pictured below), which marks the beginning of our longest client relationships.

McConkey Insurance and Benefits Auto Insurance Policy from 1938

McConkey Insurance and Benefits Endorsement from 1939


Some states begin to allow multi-line insurance companies to underwrite both property and casualty insurance. This gave way to market expansion for insurance companies, since it was easier for their clients to work with one company, as opposed to several. That was exactly the goal for our growing agency as well; to offer our clients the convenience of working with one agency for all their financial security needs.

McConkey Insurance and Benefits Auto Identity Card and ‘What to do in case of an accident’ fact card


It is around this time insurance companies were allowed to sell package policies, which combine several coverages, such as a Business Owners Policy. Alongside the shift and growth in the industry, McConkey also grew with a major concentration on commercial business. Under Jack Barnhart’s guidance in the 1960s, McConkey evolved into an agency that focused on serving York’s most notable businesses.


In 1973, H.J. Williams Co, Inc. diversified by acquiring Elderlee, Inc. and L.S. Lee, Inc., both contributing to significant growth in their construction capabilities throughout the Northeast.

Just a few short years later Hank Christ joined McConkey in 1976. Under Jack Barnhart’s leadership, Hank eventually assumed the opportunity to serve R.E.H. Down the road, Hank would become the President & CEO of McConkey, and later, a Chairman of the Board.

McConkey Insurance and Benefits Casualty Policy on Mrs. H.J.W.’s 1940 Pontiac Sedan


In the early 80s, what is now R.E.H. Holdings started to develop. Helm Coal Corp. was formed as holding company for the three wholly owned operating companies: Elderlee, Inc., L.S. Lee, Inc., and Buffalo Specialty Products. It was around this time H.J. Williams Co. was sold, which closed the chapter on their road-building focus and allowed the company to switch gears to specialty highway contracting and manufacturing. This remains their focus today.

During this time, McConkey was incorporated as E.K. McConkey & Co., Inc in 1986. One year later, success dictated that the agency move to operate more efficiently and accommodate ongoing growth. After many years of our offices being located at 53 East Market Street in downtown York on the second floor of the Farmers Fire Insurance Company, the agency doubled their square footage by moving to 497 Hill Street in Spring Garden Township.

McConkey Insurance and Benefits Insurance Policy from 1938 for H.J. Williams Company, Inc.’s Building


Whether it was managing workers’ compensation claims or bracing themselves for a lawsuit in an increasingly litigious society, businesses carried more risk with greater complexity at higher stakes than ever before. To respond to the growing need for budget-conscious, yet adequate insurance coverage, McConkey directed focus towards captive programs as a way for best-in-class companies to work together to manage a shared risk.


Helm Coal Corp. was eventually renamed to R.E.H. Holdings, Inc. in honor of Robert E. Hirschman, the second-generation leader that was responsible for the companies’ greatest growth. It was under his leadership until his death in 2007 that H.J. Williams Co., Inc. had become a diversified heavy and highway road builder with significant projects throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland

During this period, McConkey also expanded by merging with NL Associates, which tripled the size of the benefits department. This greatly benefited clients due to their increasing need for employee benefits consultation. McConkey also continued to focus on the growing popularity of group captive insurance, and in doing so launched a new subsidiary that specialized in captives.

As with any organization, there comes a time to pass the torch. Ongoing client relationships spanning decades will eventually be serviced by new faces.  Our unique, team-based service structure cultivates long-lasting, deep-rooted relationships that guarantee smooth transition when that time came for Hank to pass the torch to the next generation.  It’s an inherent benefit we possess as a salary-based agency that operates as a team. No client left behind.

McConkey Insurance and Benefits Boiler Policy from 1938

McConkey Insurance and Benefits Short Rate Calculation Table


R.E.H. Holdings, Inc. describes their organization as a mix of specialty contracting and manufacturing. They continue their legacy as a 4th generation family-owned business, operating three wholly owned companies: L.S. Lee, Inc., Elderlee, Inc. and Lee Fence & Outdoor, LLC. R.E.H. Holdings operates in NY, PA, MD, DE, D.C. and VA specializing in the manufacturing and installation of highway guide railing and signs. In 2015, R.E.H. Holdings, Inc. expanded their operations by opening Lee Fence and Outdoor, LLC. concentrating on commercial and residential fencing, decks, and access control.

Nearly a century later, McConkey remains the trusted insurance partner for R.E.H. Holdings. Throughout this nearly 100-year client relationship, we have supported R.E.H. Holdings as their risk and insurance experts for any insurance, employee benefits and surety bonding matters. As it was then, so it is now: we strive to always be more than just a vendor or supplier of services. Over many decades, our unique, unmatched service model encourages us to truly partner with clients like R.E.H. Holdings as a valuable resource in their overall business strategy.

For more than 130 years, McConkey has partnered with businesses to mitigate their cost of risk and profitably grow together. What began as a primary focus on fire damage to business buildings, eventually evolved into greater, more complex risks that businessowners must consider. Along the way, McConkey has always remained ahead of the curve by providing impeccable service and access to the most innovative solutions specifically designed for each client.

We look forward to the centuries of business partnerships, innovation, and growth to come.

“We don’t care to work with anyone else. When we have issues, McConkey is always there [...] Responses are quick. They are advocates and educators and tend to be ahead of trends.”

Matt ShorbR.E.H. Holdings, Inc.
Tim Ziegler, CRIS

Author Tim Ziegler, CRIS

Vice President/Principal

More posts by Tim Ziegler, CRIS
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