About Bonek Agency, Inc.
The Bonek Agency was formed in 1934 by Bill and Viola Bonek. It was owned by the Bonek Family until 1977. Currently, Christopher E. Branson, C.I.C. is the owner and agent. Our dedicated Customer Service Representatives serve you, the customer, from our offices in Suttons Bay. Every member of Bonek provides high-quality insurance services in an efficient and relationship-based manner.
Christopher E. Branson, C.I.C.
Chris Branson offers extensive, long-term experience in the insurance industry. He earned his insurance license in 1977 and began his career with a Detroit-based insurance agency. In 1979, Chris moved to Northern Michigan to serve as agent and part owner of the Bonek Agency. He obtained his Certified Insurance Counselor License in 1995. Today, Chris is the owner and agent at the Bonek Agency.
Chris is married with two adult daughters who were raised, lived, worked, and played in the Suttons Bay Area. He believes that customer service, competitive pricing, and solid customer relationships are what set our agency apart from the rest.
Meet Our Team
Dan Penning: Agent
Dan started his work with Bonek in January, 2019 after spending 32 years practicing law. In his law practice, Dan represented a diverse client base and served both individuals and businesses as their trusted advisor. As a result, Dan brings a wealth of legal and practical experience to assist him in working with our clients.
Dan resides in Suttons Bay, with his 2 Labrador retrievers, and has 3 adult sons. In his spare time Dan enjoys boating, golfing and any other outdoor activities which might present themselves in beautiful Leelanau County.
Susan Swanson: Office Coordinator
Before joining Bonek, Susan worked in the insurance industry for ten years. She was a licensed marine agent and underwriter for Hagerty Insurance. After a phone call from Chris Branson late last year stating he was losing his office manager of fifty years, he asked Susan if she would have an interest in working at Bonek. Susan jumped at the chance knowing Chris for over thirty years and the reputation he and Bonek have. Susan joined Bonek December, 2015 and oversees interoffice daily needs while also directly serving customer needs.
Susan enjoys spending time with her granddaughter, boating, camping, and gardening. She also has a son and daughter who live and work in the area remaining close with them as well.
Jennifer Dillon: Customer Service Representative, Personal Lines
Jennifer came to Bonek in December, 2017 with over 20 years in the insurance industry. She obtained her property and casualty license and after a few years also received her license for Life and Health. During that time she was recruited to run the insurance division of a restoration company, who saw a need in the industry to work directly with insurance carriers to provide excellent customer service for ice and water damage along with fire claimants. In just under 3 years the company went from $0 to $7.3 million in sales. She has worked with State Farm and AAA but found the independent agency is where she is happiest. She is also Chairman of the TBAISD Career-Tech Center Advisory Committee for Insurance careers. She truly enjoys the challenge of reviewing a client’s coverage to ensure they are properly covered with the best price.
She has 2 beautiful daughters and in her spare time she enjoys spending time with her 3 grandchildren, playing cards, music, cooking and reading.
Cheri Durdel: Customer Service Representative, Personal Lines
Cheri has been a devoted Bonek Agency representative for thirty years. She appreciates the fact that Bonek is a small-town agency that truly cares about its customers. Cheri has a cheerful and helpful demeanor for customers as they walk through Bonek’s doors or call over the phone.
She and her husband have been involved in dog conformation, obedience, and field trials since 1991. They have also been breeding Dalmatians since 1995 and are active in breed clubs and rescue transportation.
Danielle Hanson: Customer Service Representative, Personal Lines
Before coming on board with the Bonek Agency in July 2016, Danielle worked with LSI/Dynatect for over seventeen years. Her commitment to her work is apparent as she now serves customers at the Bonek Agency. Danielle has lived in the Leelanau area for over 30 years. She infuses the Bonek Agency with her fresh energy and professional confidence.
Danielle enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog, Louie, and is an avid Tigers fan. She has two grown children who study and work in the Leelanau area.
Victoria Kelly, Personal Lines Processor
Victoria is a native to Leelanau County and was eager to join the Bonek team in December, 2018. She returned to the area after earning her B.A. from Alma College to begin her internship with Habitat for Humanity, Grand Traverse Region. While there, she assisted with fundraising events, grant writing and creating their Emergency Fire and Safety Action Plan. After spending a few years in the financial industry coordinating outreach events, educational programs and servicing clients, she decided to expand her career in the insurance industry. She is currently studying to acquire her Property and Casualty license in the spring.
In her free time, she enjoys the beach, road trips, looking for her next investment venture and actively volunteering in her community. She is always looking for the next local event or business opening to attend.
Jessica Sommerfield: Customer Service Representative, Commercial Lines
Jessica moved to area in 1995 and has fallen in love with it. She joined Bonek in May 2017 after spending eight years with the Suttons Bay Animal Hospital where she was known for her customer service skills. Since receiving her Property Casualty license she has proven to be a tremendous asset and has been promoted to a Customer Service Representative in the Commercial department.
Jessica has two children that attend Suttons Bay Schools. In her free time you can find her on the soccer field cheering on her kids! She also enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, camping and yoga.
Dee Griswold: Customer Service Representative, Commercial Lines
Prior to joining Bonek Agency, Dee was Assistant Professor for Olivet College Instructing Insurance Risk Management as well as she worked for Auto-Owners Insurance Company for over fourteen years as a Field Claims Representative in the claims department, as well as working in Commercial and Personal Lines Underwriting during her tenure there. Dee is Licensed in Property, Casualty, Life and Health & Accident.
Dee is a native of Traverse City and she enjoys, spending quality time with her husband and three children as well as cooking and several outdoor activities.
Sarah Boynton - Receptionist
Sarah comes to Bonek with 30+ years of customer service working with the travel industry. More recently she was with a local real estate agency as their Administrative Assistant.
Sarah and her husband have 2 sons in college and 1 married son with 2 little boys and a girl on the way!. She enjoys traveling, reading, cooking and hiking local trails, with their 2 dogs.
Karen Schaub, Commercial Processor
Prior to joining Bonek in November, 2018, Karen’s career was in the legal field for over 30 years; both in the courts as an administrative assistant for the Circuit Court judges and private sector as a paralegal.
She is a lifelong resident of Leelanau County and married to her best friend with two grown sons. She and her husband own a vacation rental in the county that keeps them both busy. Karen enjoys walking, being outdoors, gardening, traveling, camping, and hanging out on the pontoon.