Technology frees PEMCO to seek newer, smaller headquarters



SEATTLE — PEMCO Insurance, the Northwest's largest locally based insurer, foresees a bright future in a new South Lake Union headquarters it expects to occupy in late 2015, following the sale of its iconic Seattle building on Eastlake Avenue.

Since PEMCO was founded in 1949, it has known only one home – the block just north of REI's flagship store. Motorists have long relied on PEMCO's rooftop time and temperature sign and enjoyed the spotlights that bathe PEMCO's penthouse in holiday and team colors.

And if the transaction continues as planned, by next fall PEMCO will own and occupy a new headquarters at 1300 Dexter Avenue, a building also considered iconic by some. It's a smaller structure than PEMCO's current seven-story home, which in years past was shared by since-departed tenants, leaving it a bit spacious for PEMCO's needs.

Technology and society's evolution from paper to online documents have made a smaller, more-efficient home possible.

"Our current building was designed at a time when businesses revolved around handling and storing paper documents," said Stan McNaughton, PEMCO's president and CEO. "Today, buildings are designed for people to collaborate and serve customers using technology that has freed us."

PEMCO will lease back its existing headquarters until extensive renovation of the new Dexter location is complete. The Dexter site, formerly the Casey Family Programs building, likely is considered iconic by many, given its heritage, style, and location.

"PEMCO remains committed to the South Lake Union neighborhood," McNaughton said. "We'll own our new headquarters, which should serve our needs for at least the next 20 to 30 years. We'll tailor it to better reflect our local Northwest brand.

"We want to stay near the vibrancy, creativity, and growth happening in the South Lake Union neighborhood and around Westlake Steps," McNaughton added. "We move from being near a freeway to bordering one of the busiest bike routes in the city."

Long-term, PEMCO will keep three locations: Seattle, in South Lake Union; Lynnwood; and Spokane. The new Seattle office will house a workforce comparable to PEMCO's current Eastlake staff. 

About PEMCO Insurance

PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, and umbrella insurance to Northwest residents. PEMCO Insurance is sold to consumers by the method they choose – phone, local community agents, or online. For more information, visit​. J.D. Power has ranked PEMCO "Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Auto Insurers in the Northwest Region, Two Years in a Row." For J.D. Power award information, visit​.