For Kym Clevenger, taking over the family business was never in the cards. In fact, her father, founder of the insurance agency that became Knoxville, Tennessee’s The Assurance Center, told the family, “No kids in the business!” So, after a successful career as an ICU nurse and starting, building and selling a paramedical exam business, Clevenger found herself taking over – you guessed it – the family firm.
“I kind of fell into it,” Clevenger says. “My dad was retiring and I was selling my other business and this was a great opportunity. He was pleased to keep it in the family and I was interested from a business perspective. I’ve always wanted to help people, and at its essence, insurance protects people as they navigate life’s unexpected twists and turns.”
The Assurance Center was co-founded by Kym’s father, Les, in 1969. Through consistent, organic growth and outstanding personalized service, it has become one of East Tennessee’s most successful independent insurance agencies and is one of Oakbridge’s newest partner agencies. The agency specializes in coverage for small to medium size businesses. Clevenger’s team also maintains a healthy book of personal line business.
“My job is fascinating. I love the interaction with our customers, and I love hearing their struggles and sharing in their successes.” Clevenger’s team shares her “people-first” perspective. And, in an unintentional twist of fate, her producers are all women. “I didn’t plan it that way. It’s unusual in this market, certainly. It distinguishes us but makes us work harder. The team is a top-performing group of professionals who just happen to be women. And, it probably doesn’t hurt when it comes to developing and maintaining relationships!” Clevenger says with a laugh.
Clevenger was attracted to a potential partnership with Oakbridge after meeting its leadership team. “It was my cousin who pointed out that ‘these are your people,’ that Hal Foshee (an Oakbridge co-founder) was as similar to my dad as anyone he’d met. We’re excited to partner with Oakbridge,” she says. “This partnership will elevate our level of professionalism with tools and resources we haven’t had. The ability to scale our business is crucial for our survival. I’m excited to be able to concentrate on my customers. For them, we’re still here, it’s the same great team servicing their business. It’s a win-win for all of us.”
Indeed. The Assurance Center’s reputation for top-notch professionalism and outstanding customer care, coupled with its prioritization of individual relationships, is a key element of the partnership with Oakbridge. Clevenger adds, “Our customers are better off and have more options now that we’re part of Oakbridge. There’s no downside. We’re stronger and they’re better protected.”