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Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Chad Eichelberger, president of Reliance Partners, speaks after winning the Small Business Award during the Small Business Awards Luncheon in 2018.

Reliance Partners, which has grown into one of the nation's biggest insurance agencies serving the trucking and logistics industries through internal growth since its start in 2009, has made the first of what could be multiple acquisitions.

The Chattanooga-based commercial insurance agency announced Thursday that it has acquired the assets of Capacity Southeast Agency, a transportation-focused insurance agency based in Nashville. Capacity Southeast Agency's President, Debra Brake, and Senior Vice President, Jessie Merritt, are joining Reliance Partners' team.

Chad Eichelberger, president of Reliance Partners, said the company is looking at other agency acquisitions in the future to supplement its own organic growth. He called the purchase of Capacity Southeast "an important strategic opportunity to expand our regional footprint and further emphasizes Reliance Partners' focus on the transportation and logistics industry.

"We are enthusiastic about having Jessie and Debra on the team due to their many years of experience in the transportation and logistics space," he said.

Brake has more than 30 years of transportation insurance experience and will be joining Reliance Partners as a senior vice president of sales. Merritt joins Reliance Partners as a vice president of sales. Merritt was recently elected as chairman for the Tennessee Trucking Foundation's Young Professionals Council and has eight years of trucking insurance experience.

"We chose Reliance Partners for their dedication to leadership, culture, and growth," Brake said. "For these reasons, we are so pleased to be on the same team."

Reliance Partners is one of the fastest-growing commercial insurance agencies in the country and expects to book more than $200 million of insurance business this year.

Reliance Partners was founded in 2009 by Andrew Ladebauche and a group of Chattanooga logistics entrepreneurs focused on the trucking industry. Reliance expanded to offer warehousing and other commercial lines of insurance in 2010.

The company has about 160 employees at locations in Chattanooga, Chicago, Milwaukee, Tampa, Birmingham, Alabama, Sacramento, California, and Austin, Texas. Reliance has a national client base largely concentrated in the transportation and logistics industries.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.

 

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