Norman Roe didn’t see much opportunity in bypassing the dealer to insure trailers, but he gave Francis Roe a contract, and Arlington Insurance Agency was formed on August 13, 1964. At the age of 41, Francis set up shop in the family kitchen and together with Ruth made ends meet. They had five children, a 1949 DeSoto and literally budgeted by putting money in envelopes for gas, food, the mortgage and basic needs. They were on a mission together to build a family-owned business.
Francis bought a small desk big enough to hold a typewriter, used the kitchen table during the day to spread out work and the phone on the wall was equipped with an extra-long cord. Their telephone service was by way of a “party-line” where multiple people shared the same phone line, and their mailing address was 5024 N. Kitley in Indianapolis, Indiana, six blocks away from Arlington High School.
In fact, the name “Arlington” originated from Francis Roe’s dream to move to one of the offices in the Devington Shopping Center on Arlington Avenue once his business was big enough. Though the company never moved to those offices, in 1980, Jim Roe proposed adding “/Roe” to end to emphasize the importance of family and to leave what the company does ambiguous, should the company decide to go in a new direction. Thus, the current name “Arlington/Roe” was born.
Jim Roe entered the business as a teenager typing policies for his father. Minimum premiums were $15 and commissions ranged from 35% to 40%. Jim earned 25 cents per hour. Francis thought Jim was being overpaid.