Published November 16, 2004
Volume 12, Number 11

Commerce West Insurance Moves Headquarters to Hacienda
Insurance Company Leases 22,333 square feet at 4301 Hacienda Drive

Commerce West Logo

By George Walsh
Special to NETWORK

Anyone who drives a car knows that there are a number of criteria to look at in deciding which company you want to provide insurance. If you’re looking for personal or commercial auto insurance coverage, Commerce West Insurance Company, which moved into its new headquarters at 4301 Hacienda Dr. in September, believes that among the various options to consider, customer service and a long history of doing business in the region are important.

“We are primarily a personal lines automobile insurance company,” says Mike Vrban, chief financial officer and treasurer of Commerce West Insurance Company. “We also have a commercial automobile program that accounts for about 13 percent of our business, but we only provide auto insurance.” The new Commerce West Insurance headquarters will be the workplace of 75 employees. The company’s marketing staff works remotely from various regions in California and Oregon.

Commerce West Insurance Company was founded in California in 1948 as Western Pioneer Insurance, initially offering personal automobile insurance. In 1995, the company became a member of The Commerce Group, Inc., of Webster, Mass., an organization with over $3.1 billion in assets. Commerce West is rated as one of the top 50 automobile insurance companies in California. Its products are offered by nearly 1,000 independent agents throughout California and Oregon. “Commerce West Insurance Company is a domiciled California Insurance company,” Vrban says. “We’re affiliated with The Commerce Group Inc., but we have separate officers and operations. All of the Commerce West Insurance Company’s operations for California and Oregon are handled out of this location.”

“The key reason for our move to Hacienda was expansion,” Vrban says. “Our old headquarters did not lend itself to our growth in human resources. We only had 17,000 square feet at our prior location. Here, we have 22,333 square feet.” While the new headquarters on Hacienda Drive is Commerce West’s first location in the park, it’s not the company’s first location in Pleasanton. “We’ve been in Pleasanton for a long time,” Vrban says. “We moved here from Oakland in the early 1990s mainly because it’s a nice area, our employees liked it, and it’s centrally located. The BART station, proximity to the ACE train station, and a variety of commute options are also a plus.”

Vrban is proud of Commerce West’s commitment to service. “We still communicate one-on-one with people, which is pretty rare nowadays,” he says. “Our customers can pick up a phone and get a live person at the other end of the line that will talk to them— whether it’s in our claims department, policy services, or underwriting operations. Our independent agents like that personal touch, as do their customers.” Taking the time to provide personal attention seems to be paying off. “Commerce West Insurance will probably end this year with about $55 million in premiums,” Vrban says. “We have roughly 36,000 policy holders and plan to expand to offer coverage in another state soon as well.”


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