Two competing Missoula-based insurance companies plan to combine to form a private insurance brokerage that will serve customers in the Pacific Northwest.

Payne Financial Group Inc. and Western States Insurance officials announced Monday the two companies plan to merge by the end of the year.

Payne Financial chief operating officer Sarah Kelly says the combined companies have around 640 employees, serve 30 communities in Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon and anticipate generating $90 million in revenue in 2012.

Payne Financial is employee owned. Western States is owned by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, which announced Monday it was becoming part of Health Care Service Corp. Kelly says Western States employees will have an option to become owners of the combined company.

Both companies sell personal and business insurance, surety bonds and provide employee benefit planning.