JOE PORTER signs a merger agreement, which combines Porter Insurance Agency with Southern Insurance of Cairo. Hansell Bearden, a partner of Southern Insurance, left, and Southern Insurance managing partner Chuck Thomas, look on. Not pictured is partner Dustin Thomas. The merger is effective today, Wednesday, July 1.
Two local insurance agencies are merging, effective today, July 1, in an effort to better serve clients and to position the surviving entity in a position of strength for generations to come.
Joe Porter, owner of Porter Insurance Agency, the local Nationwide Insurance agent, has executed a contract merging his agency with Southern Insurance of Cairo.
“This merger is a very positive step for the future and will allow me to better serve my existing clients, as well as new clients, with all of their insurance needs,” Porter said.
It will be a seamless transition, Porter says, and clients of Porter Insurance will actually not see any changes other than the physical location of their insurance agent’s office.
Under the terms of the merger, Porter will move into the Southern Insurance of Cairo office on First Avenue N.E. The number for Porter Insurance, 229-377-2623, will continue to be answered through Southern Insurance.
“I have been fortunate over the last 22 years to serve the residents of this community and have received strong support from my clients. My commitment to offering premium insurance and professional risk management services will not change. In fact, with this merger I will be able to better serve my clients as well as new clients,” Porter said.
“We are happy to welcome Joe to Southern Insurance. He is a bright, knowledgeable person who is actively involved in his church and community. He comes from a family which has been involved and committed to this community for generations. As I begin to prepare for my transition into retirement, I know that Joe can help us strengthen the management of Southern Insurance for the future and maintain our position as the community’s premiere insurance agency,” said Chuck Thomas, managing partner of Southern Insurance. Porter joins Thomas, Hansell Bearden and Dustin Thomas as the principal partners in the agency.
“This is a win-win for the consumer. Rather than being competitors, Joe is joining forces with us and it will allow him to offer his existing clients a wider range of insurance products than he could as an exclusive Nationwide Insurance agent. There is great strength in being an independent agent. We can offer our clients the best insurance options possible at rates that are reasonable and affordable,” Thomas said.
Porter agrees and commented, “We will continue to offer Nationwide Insurance, but I now will also be a representative of many insurance companies and can tailor a plan to best suit the needs of our clients.”
Changes made at the corporate level of Nationwide Insurance, which makes it more challenging for small agencies like Porter Insurance to compete, prompted Porter to consider the option of merging with another agency.
“Chuck, Hansell, Dustin and the great team at Southern Insurance have done a phenomenal job in building Southern Insurance into a progressive, profitable and successful agency. The firm and its associates are very active in the community and the agency supports many outstanding causes in our community. I’m looking forward to working with them and doing what I can to contribute to the agency’s continued success,” Porter said.
Porter, the son of Judge and Mrs. J. Richard Porter Jr., opened Porter Insurance Agency in 1998, taking over the book of business of the late John Widener, a longtime Nationwide agent here. Prior to returning home after graduating from Georgia Southern University, Porter worked as an agent of Horace Mann Insurance and was a claims adjuster with American Modern Insurance.
He and his wife, Jami, are the parents of two children, Kate, a 2020 graduate of Brookwood School, and Will, a rising eleventh grader at Brookwood. The Porters are active members of Cairo First United Methodist Church.
The origins of Southern Insurance date back to 1965 when the late Allen Baggett founded and managed an insurance agency that became Southern Insurance Managers and now Southern Insurance of Cairo.
The agency is located at 12 First Avenue, N.E., and in addition to (229) 377-2623, the agency can be reached by calling (229) 377-3652.