Joy Insurance celebrates 40 years

By Jared Castañeda
Posted 1/17/24

Joy Insurance, a three-generation insurance company based in Middletown, recently celebrated its 40th anniversary at the end of 2023. The Joy Family, who established the business during the early …

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Joy Insurance celebrates 40 years


Joy Insurance, a three-generation insurance company based in Middletown, recently celebrated its 40th anniversary at the end of 2023. The Joy Family, who established the business during the early 1980s, and its associates have provided protections to customers’ home, auto, and business properties over the last few decades, among numerous outreaches to communities in Middletown, Newburgh, and Montgomery.

Frances Joy, a Montgomery resident, founded Joy Insurance in 1983 as a captive agency to Nationwide after she took over for a retiring agent. In 1991, Frances purchased and renovated a building in Middletown, which has served as the agency’s base of operations ever since.

“Joy Insurance was started by Frances Joy, my mother, and that was back in 1983. She took over for a retiring Nationwide insurance agent and she had an operation from 1983 to ’96,” said Christopher Joy, Frances’ son and current owner of the agency. “In ’91, she purchased the building we’re in today and renovated it.”

Chris followed in his mother’s footsteps and joined the insurance industry in 1987 as a Nationwide agent, establishing the Christopher Joy Agency. In 1992, he worked out of Frances’ building, though despite the similar names, Joy Insurance and the Christopher Joy Agency were not the same company.

“In ’92, after this place was renovated, I came into the same building as my mom and rented the upstairs from her with my agency,” Chris said. “We had Joy Insurance Agency Inc. and Christopher Joy Agency Inc. in the same building, so customers stopped getting confused in Middletown.”

In 1996, Chris bought his mother’s business, and in 1999, he ended his contract with Nationwide, turning Joy Insurance into an independent agency. After he took over, the agency grew from just him and a part-time receptionist to a team of eight, including his son, Liam Joy.

“We decided that our customers needed a better selection of companies because Nationwide just wasn’t really delivering all the products we needed for all our clients,” Chris said regarding Nationwide. “So we terminated the captive contract with Nationwide and we became an independent at that time.”

When Chris and Frances joined the insurance industry, they saw the business as an outlet to help others in their communities. Outside of the agency, the two donated to local charities, supported churches and firefighters, and participated in nonprofit organizations such as Meals on Wheels and The United Way.

“Mom was always helping out in the community, whether it was a church or a local fire department or just different charitable organizations like United Way,” Chris said. “I also got involved in United Way, Middletown Rotary, and Meals on Wheels with Mom.

“We found that people really needed help with their insurance. They didn’t understand it. They didn’t know what coverages they needed for their different types of operations,” he continued. “We’re helping people protect what is most important to them as far as property goes.”

The Joys’ outreach is further cemented into their agency’s core values, and Chris and his staff strive to help customers protect their properties, provide professional advice on their various coverages, and maintain genuine relationships.

“Our belief system is to help others, help people keep everything that they’ve worked so hard developing and establishing in their lives,” Chris explained. “We’re always here to educate and help service clients. I think it’s our unique commitment to having pride in old-fashioned service, making sure people are being taken care of and comfortable in understanding what they need and what they own.”

Joy Insurance is involved with The United Way of Dutchess and Orange, Valley Central School District’s music and lacrosse programs, and the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, and has donated to breast cancer research, among other charities. Liam is also a member of the Newburgh Rotary, the Newburgh Illuminated Committee, and the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh.

One challenge that the agency has faced during its run is the stigma surrounding insurance. Chris asserted that many consumers believe insurance is just an “ID card” and purchasing insurance should be quick and inexpensive. To overcome this, Joy Insurance educates its customers on why insurance, the type of coverage, and its pricing matter.

“That’s been a big challenge of ours, educating the population in the community that insurance is actually a contract of protection and it’s worth knowing what you have and how it can protect you,” Chris said. “Instead of worrying about making sure it’s the cheap one.”

Additionally, Joy Insurance previously comprised three locations during the 1990s, but Chris closed two of them after having difficulties running all three at once.

“Back in the 90s, I had three locations, and I found that it was difficult to monitor each of the locations so that they’re running in the same format belief system that you want on a daily basis,” Chris explained.

Chris, while not interested in building expansions, seeks to hire new members and continue providing insurance coverage for his communities. He appreciates the accolades and gratitude that he and his team have received from their customers, and he looks forward to the company’s growth in the coming decades.

“Thanks for 40 great years. We’re very excited to see where the rest of the century takes us,” Chris said. “We’re looking forward to many more years of helping the community.”