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BiS Profile: Ricky Blanton, Chatham County Farm Bureau Insurance

about

Ricky Blanton

Agency manager, Chatham County Farm Bureau Insurance

1102 Shannon Ave.

background

I started with the Farm Bureau in 1992 as a training agent in Columbia County. I moved to career agent and in 1995 was transferred to the Savannah office. I’ve been in the business 25 years. This office began in the early ‘70s.

what we do

I service individually about a $3 million dollars of insurance premiums. We sell all lines of insurance—home, auto, life and commercial insurance. I am an individual producer and I oversee production for the lines…Also, we offer many discounts to members including travel discounts, a Ford rebate program, theme park discounts, rental care discounts.

We’re a branch of the Georgia Farm Bureau which has its headquarters in Macon.

And there’s the Farm Bureau Bank with a home office in San Antonio. Texas. It serves the financial needs of Farm Bureau members in 40 states. We handle loans and certificates of deposit with our lowest rate for 62 months of 1.92 percent.

employees

Eight including three agents and one customer service representative.

why we’re successful

Because I work hard. My success comes from many hours of hard work, honesty and trust. It’s not that I’m a super agent in any area. I know people and they recommend me to other people. Our main referrals come just from word of mouth.

Resilient: Like after the hurricane with trees on houses, roofs blown off, we showed up Monday morning with no power. But we had a generator. The phones didn’t always work and the Internet didn’t work. But we were able to file claims with a pen and a pad.

more on success

I think one of the main reasons the Farm Bureau is successful because we’re a grassroots organization. We have a local office, local representatives. And our board of directors is local volunteers. We have 5,000 members in Chatham County. This is mostly an urban area. But we have some farms like Ottawa Farm in Bloomingdale. They grow hay for cows and strawberries and blackberries. Owner Pete Waller is one of our board members.

favorite quote

“It is what it is.” I say that all the time.

professional achievement

I’ve won some of the top awards (in the Georgia Farm Bureau) based on production. In 2015, the agency of the year. And in 2016, agency of the year in our Farm Bureau bank based on our loan volume along with the district quality award. (District Seven runs from below Augusta to Brunswick.

personal achievement

I feel like my best achievement is when I graduated from college. I went to school nights and finished my bachelor’s degree in business administration at Brewton-Parker College. That’s my insurance policy. I feel like nowadays you have to have a business degree in the business world. It just opens up a lot of doors. It shows you have the ability to stick with something.

slogans

“Helping you is what we do best.” And “always the home team.”

future plans

I plan to stay here and serve Chatham County and service customers…I don’t have any plan to make changes.

tips for other businesses

Don’t forget how you got where you are. And value people as much as technology…Insurance is based on relationships and trust. Technology may help ease the process. But people are valuable. Especially with the younger generation, everybody is comfortable online. That usually works well, except when there’s a claim or a problem. Then you want to deal with a person, not a computer.

why Savannah works for us

We have good relationships with realtors, mortgage lenders, real estate attorneys. It’s paid off just based on the size of our premiums. In 1995 we had 2.5 million dollars in premiums. Now we have grown that more than seven million from providing good service which generates referrals.

contact

Call (912) 355-5659

No local website but find the Georgia Farm Bureau at GFB.org

Find Chatham County Farm Bureau Insurance on Facebook.

— Lanie Peterson

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