A 16-year-old Nashville commercial insurance agency has opened an office in Chattanooga — its first outside of Middle Tennessee.
Commercial Insurance Associates (CIA), an independent insurance agency that offers property and casualty insurance through 134 insurance companies or facilities to nearly 1,400 business clients across the county, marked the opening of its new office at 1210 Premier Drive, Suite 208, on Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
"I think Chattanooga's strategic location, both from a distribution and access point of view and access to talent, make it unusually well suited for what we want to do in the next five years or so," said Don Denbo, the CEO and one of the founders of CIA. "The number of business opportunities in Chattanooga and North Georgia just make Chattanooga a really interesting distribution point to help us grow."
CIA is a national company, handling risk management insurance consulting and property and casualty insurance policies for companies across the country from its Nashville headquarters and now Chattanooga. The company currently has a total staff of nearly 100 workers and opened the Chattanooga office with a staff of seven and plans to add more workers. The local office is headed by Jan Littel, who serves as office manager.
Denbo, a 42-year insurance agent who previously worked at the Willis agency in Nashville, said his agency works with clients in nearly three dozen states. A team-centered environment led to CIA's prominence in railroads, recycling, manufacturing, health care, transportation, retail, real estate, construction, food processing, and financial services.
"Our core focus is on privately owned businesses and small publicly traded businesses with revenues between about $10 million and $2 billion," Denbo said. "We have tried really hard to create an environment at the office where people love coming to work. We make a great, inclusive company culture one of our highest priorities, and we are excited to continue that tradition in Chattanooga."
Denbo says he likes to quote business guru Peter Drucker, who said that "culture eats strategies for breakfast."
"We have a unique culture and believe that all of our producers are professionals and we want them to absolutely interface with clients like professionals," Denbo said. "We do not differentiate between new business and renewals. We don't care where their clients come from as long as they keep coming."
Contact Dave Flessner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 757-6340.