Our commitment to our community is timeless.
Thorp & Trainer Beginnings
Our history began in 1910, the decade when America came of age and was first considered a world leader. It was a time when a carton of milk cost $.32, and the average American earning $750 a year could take a 12 day cruise for only $60.
Before the Great War or the collapse of the stock market, Howard E. Thorp decided to try his hand in a new business, opening Thorp Insurance at the Dixon Square building in downtown Westerly. The agency offered fire insurance to local residents and businesses and soon began providing auto coverage as the Ford Model T and other new “horseless carriages” replaced the horse and buggy on the streets of South County and Southeastern Connecticut.
When his friend Rogers Trainer returned from fighting in World War I, he joined Howard Thorp, lending his name to the agency, Thorp & Trainer. While Howard focused on the burgeoning real estate business, Rogers oversaw the growing insurance business. The agency survived the Great Depression and helped returning GI’s find and insure their first homes.
A Family Legacy
In 1955, Howard’s son, Nelson H. Thorp, became president of the agency, signaling the first time the family business would be passed from one generation to the next. Less than a decade later a father again would welcome his son into the business. Nelson’s son, Neil H. Thorp, joined the agency after his tour of duty in the US Army’s 2nd Armored Division in Fort Hood, Texas.
A University of Rhode Island graduate, Neil works today as Chairman/Treasurer of Thorp & Trainer. During the 1960’s and 1970’s the agency continued to grow, merging with several local agencies, but experienced its steady growth by adding new auto and homeowner’s insurance accounts through customer referrals.
In 1980, Neil Thorp succeeded his father as president. The agency expanded beyond its downtown Westerly location, and in 1985 moved to its current location at 107 Airport Road. After graduating from the Citadel in 1990, Howard B. Thorp, Neil’s son, joined the business as a commercial lines sales representative in the agency. Howard worked his way up to vice president and corporate secretary and in 2004 became the fourth member of the Thorp family to hold the title of president.
Thorp & Trainer takes pride in maintaining the same tradition and commitment to its clients as it has for over a century.