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Photo of Merchants Insurance Group leaders with Middleton & Company leaders - from left, Dan Bierbrauer, David Gaynor, Richard Gaynor, Charles Makey, Rich Chichester

From left: Dan Bierbrauer, Merchants Sr. VP of Regional Operations; David Gaynor, Middleton & Company Account Executive; Richard Gaynor, Middleton & Company President; Charles Makey, Merchants President; Rich Chichester, Merchants Regional Vice President

Merchants Insurance Group has announced that Middleton & Company of Newton, New Jersey is the company’s 2022 Agent of the Year!

Since 2009, Merchants has presented this esteemed award to one outstanding agency each year, recognizing its consistent growth and profitability, strong relationship with Merchants, commitment to customer service, and demonstration of Merchants’ core values of integrity, respect, loyalty, teamwork, and the aspiration to improve. Merchants Insurance Group partners with more than 1,000 independent insurance agencies.

Merchants' Agent of the Year 2022 logo, Middleton & Company

“We are thrilled to present the prestigious Agent of the Year award to Middleton & Company,” said Charles E. Makey III, President of Merchants Insurance Group.

Middleton & Company has been appointed with Merchants since 1991 and has qualified for President’s Club, comprised of an elite group of Merchants’ independent insurance agent partners, seven times.

“Middleton & Company aligns with Merchants on delivering quality service, building long term relationships, and giving back to their communities,” said Mr. Makey. “We are proud to work with such a talented team of insurance professionals, and we are truly honored to count them as one of our elite agents.”

Founded by Arthur and Edith Middleton in 1937, Middleton & Company has been a family-owned business since Eli Gaynor joined the company in 1969. Richard Gaynor, Eli’s son, assumed the presidency in 1995, after 16 years with the agency. Upon completing their bachelor’s degrees, David and Brandon Gaynor started at the company in 2008 and 2012, respectively, offering fresh young minds, business technology, spirit, and energy,” as the third generation to join the family-run agency.

“Middleton & Company is a very loyal and exceptionally profitable agency partner. Specifically, Richard Gaynor’s stated mantra that ‘no one wins with a loss’ permeates the agency relationship with Merchants and aligns with the interests of the policyholder,” said Rich Chichester, Regional Vice President of Merchants’ Midlantic Regional Office. “Their professionalism and transparency with our team makes winning together truly possible!”

Located in Newton, New Jersey, Middleton & Company serves policyholders in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York, striving to be “the premier Insurance protection provider in the Tri-State area for small and medium size businesses including personal lines and Group Benefits, for those clients who appreciate a Trusted Advisor relationship,” according to the company’s Mission & Vision statement. The agency specializes in coverages for industries such as landscaping and irrigation; pool and spa; excavation and site work; builder and remodelers; metal fabricators and manufacturers; plastic manufacturing; wood manufacturing; and technology.


Candid photos as Merchants’ Dan Bierbrauer, Charles Makey, and Rich Chichester present the 2022 Agent of the Year award to Middleton & Company’s David and Richard Gaynor!


This year’s Agent of the Year was nominated by Merchants’ Midlantic Regional Office, located in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, noting not only the agency’s impressive growth and profitability, but their strong relationship with Merchants and their policyholders: “As outstanding as the production numbers are, the relationship is even better. They are trustworthy, responsive, professional and supportive in addressing issues/concerns. Importantly – they are committed to producing profit for the agency, their policyholders and Merchants.”

“Richard and his team have been fantastic to work with since I came on board with Merchants last fall,” said Mark Smith, Territory Manager at Merchants’ Midlantic Regional Office. “I really feel that they get who we are as a carrier, and their mutual respect for us is evident in all their actions.”

Middleton & Company takes part in several philanthropic initiatives. The agency acts as the insurance advisor for trade and business associations across New Jersey, providing educational seminars and publishing relevant articles on topics such as risk management, loss control, risk transfer, and other insurance industry interests. They participate in various charitable endeavors in the community, such as the Sussex County Food Bank and the “Stuff the Bus” donation drive, raising both food and monetary donations.

“Middleton & Company is a true agency partner with Merchants,” said Tim Smith, Regional Underwriting Manager at Merchants Insurance Group. “It’s a pleasure working with the principal owners and staff as they are committed to producing excellent results with Merchants over the long haul.”

Middleton & Company logo


About Middleton & Company

Middleton & Company is a professional and trusted advisor providing innovative Insurance Protection Solutions. We take time to inform you, our clients, of the best coverage and cost effective options. Providing solutions, clear communication, frequently, so you can make informed decisions and feel confident that your concerns are thoroughly addressed. We use a three layered approach: Loss control, Risk Management/Risk Transfer and the ultimate backstop: the Insurance coverages; to protect your future financial stability.

“How you make your money is your business. How you protect it is our business.”

To learn more, visit

Katherine Trautwein

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.