Troy insurance firm tied to Dan Gilbert is moving to Detroit

Posted on August 24, 2011, an online life insurance brokerage owned in part by Quicken Loans founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert, will soon follow Gilbert’s other companies in moving to downtown Detroit from the suburbs.

MyInsuranceExpert employs about 85 workers in Troy, but has plans to hire an additional 200 in the next several months and move downtown by the end of this year.

The expansion and move have been aided by an investment from Rockbridge Growth Equity, a private equity firm based in Detroit that is one of Gilbert’s investment firms.

“Beyond simply raising capital, it was imperative for us to find the right strategic partner for our business. We’ve done that through this relationship with Rockbridge Growth Equity,” said CEO Lorne Zalesin.

“As a Web-based, culture-driven company, we are extremely fortunate to now be partnered with an extraordinary family of companies that includes Quicken Loans, Detroit Venture Partners, ePrize and One on One Marketing, to name a few,” Zalesin added. “We are … eager to be counted among the new wave of Web-based businesses that are making Detroit their home.”

A spokeswoman for Gilbert said the company would consider locations in various downtown buildings.

Since Gilbert moved 1,700 Quicken Loans employees downtown to the Compuware headquarters a year ago, several other smaller firms associated with Gilbert and his partners have also made the move. Among those are Quizzle, a free online personal finance tool, and Fathead, a maker of wall graphics.

In addition, Skidmore Studio, a graphic design firm that is not owned by Gilbert, plans to become the anchor tenant in the Madison Theatre Building in downtown Detroit, which Gilbert has bought and is renovating for a fall opening.

All of these firms are part of what Gilbert has called Webward Avenue and Detroit 2.0, his vision for a lively downtown based on an entrepreneurial, digital-based economy.