The Norton Agency now has insurance offices in three Southern states with the recent acquisition of Jordan & McCallum of Anderson, S.C.
The agency, based in Gainesville, has acquired 10 companies in the last five years as it looks to grow.
“Our model over the last several years has been to look sort of regionally for growth,” said Bob Norton, president of Norton Insurance. “There are opportunities out there with a growing economy.”
While the agency has offices in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, Gainesville remains the hub of the business.
“Everything happens here,” Norton said. “We sort of run slimmed-down versions of insurance agencies in other areas.”
Norton said the company began by staying within a 30-mile radius, but now has offices in Kennesaw, Atlanta, Dalton and Birmingham, Ala.
“While in Gainesville we may be known as The Norton Agency, we have other brands,” Norton said. “We’re HN Insurance, Insurance South, American Risk Advisors, Hensler Insurance & Risk Management.”
He said that as the agency grew its real estate divisions it put insurance operations within the real estate firms, which led to “other opportunities with people.”
“We’ve sort of gotten away from looking strictly within a certain mile radius,” he said. “Anybody who has a client that needs insurance products, that’s what we’ve been looking for.”
With the use of technology, Norton said, there are no challenges having branches spread out. The expansions have actually benefited the company.
“It’s allowed us to get more insurance companies,” he said. “Some insurance companies might have an appetite for a certain type of business so we now represent several new insurance companies (in new areas).”
Having a larger footprint also gives the agency more leverage when negotiating pricing for clients.
“The bigger we are, the more leverage we carry,” Norton said. “But it’s not that our goal is to be the largest.”
Norton said the agency is the largest real estate and insurance agency in Georgia, and, with the recent additions, “one of the biggest insurance companies outside of metro Atlanta.”
Expanding into other states such as North Carolina has not been ruled out, “but at this point nothing has presented itself,” Norton said.