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Dayton, Ritz & Osborne, headquartered in East Hampton, New York, has been honored by Merchants Insurance Group with the 2016 Agent of the Year award.

The Agent of the Year award recognizes one of Merchants’ more than 1,000 independent agencies for achieving success through outstanding customer service. Award recipients must embrace Merchants’ core values of integrity, respect, loyalty, teamwork and the aspiration to improve.

From left, Bob Zak, Merchants’ President and CEO; Charlie Makey, Merchants’ Senior Vice President, Insurance Operations; Dayton Ritz & Osborne Principals George Yates and Fred Ritz III; and Eric Feit, recently retired Regional Vice President for Merchants’ Eastern Strategic Business Center


“We trust Dayton, Ritz & Osborne to provide comprehensive information about their clients and unvarnished assessments of our capabilities and the marketplace,” said Bob Zak, Merchants’ president and CEO. “Dayton, Ritz & Osborne shares its results and opinions openly with all of their insurance carriers, which makes us feel like a valued partner. We are fortunate to have a solid relationship with George Yates and his team, and count them among our very best independent insurance agencies.”

Dayton Ritz & Osborne was founded on Long Island, with its roots dating back to 1875. The agency currently has offices on Main Street in both East Hampton and Southampton. The agency insures 5,000 individuals and businesses in Eastern New York State. The firm has four partners: George Yates and John McGuirk, who grew up and continue to live in East Hampton; Fred Ritz III who grew up in Bridgehampton and now resides in Southampton; and Jeff Brown, an East Hampton native now living in Sag

Harbor. Dayton Ritz & Osborne employs 30 people at their offices.

In addition to their exceptional business record, agency representatives are involved with Merchants’ activities such as serving on the company’s agency councils and ideation sessions. These activities help the company enhance its policies and better serve its agents and policyholders.

The agency has also qualified this year for the prestigious Merchants Insurance Group President’s Club, composed of an elite group of independent insurance agents who have demonstrated a commitment to Merchants and that have achieved excellence in the insurance industry. This is the ninth time the agency has qualified.

The agency principals are also involved in many community nonprofits and service organizations:

  • George Yates is on the Board of Guild Hall and is a former Board member of the Nature Conservancy.
  • John McGuirk is on the boards of the Village Preservation Society and the East Hampton Historical Society.
  • Fred Ritz has served on the boards of the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church, Bridgehampton Lions Club and the Bridgehampton Club.
  • Jeff Brown is a Board member of the Neighborhood House and a member of the Sag Harbor Fire Department.

The agency also has a long record in giving back to their community, and actively supports the United Way, Meals on Wheels, The Wounded Warrior Project, and many more charities serving their local area.

“We are fortunate to have an agency of this caliber represent Merchants. They exemplify integrity and professionalism in every transaction which allows us to experience exceptional profit and growth results over the past 18 years,” said Charlie Makey, Senior Vice President – Insurance Operations, at Merchants. “Their staff is knowledgeable and very involved with supporting their local community. We are truly honored to count them as one of our elite agents.”

George Yates said, “We are lucky to have a wonderful relationship with many insurance companies and Merchants is at the very top of the list for companies we know and trust to do the right thing for our clients.  It is a true honor to be selected as the best of the more than 1,000 agents that Merchants does business with.”

About Dayton, Ritz & Osborne

With office locations in East Hampton and Southampton, Dayton, Ritz & Osborne’s trained professionals are committed to offering superior service while identifying, evaluating and providing the best solution to their clients’ needs. For more information, visit

Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group sells its products through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We sell our products through independent insurance agents because we believe they provide value to policyholders through their broad range of products and their insurance expertise.