Long-time insurance man, Dave Demaree, sold his business “Durham & Demaree Insurance Agency” on Third Street, in Danville to Lynn Taylor Tye on January 1, 2014. Although he’s ready to step away from his nearly 40-year career in insurance, he has agreed to serve as a consulting agent for commercial, personal, and life insurance for Tye’s newly re-named “Blue Moon Insurance Agency.”
I caught up with him this week to talk with him about the insurance industry, the sale of his business, and his own future plans.
Angela: Dave, can you tell me a little about your history in insurance?
Dave: Well, I graduated from IU, in 1966 with a degree in business. I majored in Insurance and minored in Economics. I began work with Aetna Life and Casualty immediately out of college. I also worked for MassMutual before going with Hartford Insurance in 1974.
With Hartford, I was a underwriter for personal and commercial policies. Later, with Hartford, I served as a marketing rep, which meant I called on Independent Insurance Agents to help them with the Hartford products, to answer any questions, and help them build their business. It was a “liason” position.
Angela: At what point did you become an Independent Insurance Agent yourself?
Dave: In 1978, I joined “Durham and Durham Insurance Agency” here in Danville, Kentucky. I was a partner with Jack Durham for a year before I bought the agency in 1979 and put my own name on the shingle.
At that point, it became “Durham and Demaree Insurance Agency.” In January of last year, after 35 years, I sold the business to Lynn. She changed the name to “Blue Moon Insurance Agency,” but remained in the same location.
Angela: How do you feel about the name change?
Dave: I put my name on the agency when I bought it and she’s putting her own personal brand on it now. She lives at Blue Moon Farm and has rental property under the “Blue Moon” name, this agency is part of her professional and personal identity and I think that’s good. The legal name is still Durham & Demaree Insurance, LLC with the Secretary of State. “Blue Moon Insurance Agency” is a trade name, a DBA, and is a way for Lynn to make the business her own.
Angela: In what other ways has Lynn “made the business her own?”
Dave: Lynn has solicited business aggressively; I am too old to do that anymore. I’m still involved as a consulting agent, but she’s a wonderful business woman and insurance agent. She’s brought on a talented team as well. Paden Tye is a remarkable young man and Kelsey is a beautiful, capable young lady. I’m happy that her team is there to take care of my clients and I’m pleased that she is growing the business so effectively.
Angela: Why did you sell the business to Lynn and what are your plans now?
Dave: I am seventy years old — it was time to gear down. I had several people who wanted to buy Durham & Demaree, because I had built a great business and it was desirable. I chose Lynn because the clients are like my family — and I needed to find someone who would take care of them. Lynn is a community and service-oriented individual and I knew that she would take care of my clients. Paden and Kelsey are wonderful with the clients.
It’s because of the climate of the business they are building that I have agreed to stay on as a consulting agent. I liked being available to help with any questions they might have as they got the business going and wanted to help my client transition comfortably. Now, it’s a pleasure to go into the office from time-to-time, because every time I go in, I’m reassured that my former clients are in good hands.
As far as future plans — I hope to spend more time traveling and volunteering locally.
Angela: Tell me a little more about Paden Tye and Kelsey Joslyn.
Dave: Paden’s honesty, his congenial nature, and his abilities make him a great addition to Lynn’s team. If I had a grandson, I would want him to have Paden’s qualities. I’ve told him that, and he gets all “Aw, shucks” when I do. There has not been a single one of my former clients I’ve talked to who are not thoroughly impressed with this young man.
I insured Kelsey’s parents and other members of her family for years before she joined Lynn’s team. Lynn hired her because she was impressed with her resume, her enthusiasm, and her desire to become a professional insurance agent. She’s been a great addition to the service team.
The most important thing about Lynn, Paden, and Kelsey is that they all fight for their clients — and you’ve got to do that. Their customers are always first.
Angela: What about the experience factor?
Dave: Experience is important, but even with all my years of experience, I still have to double-check details and look things up when writing a policy. The rules, regulations, and legal aspects of the insurance business change constantly. Lynn has years of experience as a business woman and all three of the team are exceptionally quick learners, who are motivated to continue to learn. If they don’t know the answer to something, they find it!
In the beginning, we had regular, in-office “training” sessions as they got going and I’m still on hand to help them when, or if, they need me. But, it’s the ability and willingness to learn that is the key to success in this industry. They have that.
Besides, the proof is in the pudding, they had an exceptional first year. I expect even more growth from them in the upcoming year. I’m personally impressed with the growth this newly-branded company has already shown and am proud of their constant dedication to their clients. They offer old-fashioned service every single day, with each and every client.
Angela: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dave: Lynn, Paden, and Kelsey have their customers’ best interests at heart. They are motivated and driven to find the best premium value for the individualized coverage each client needs. These three insurance professionals are all customer-centric, and that’s what matters.
(Angela Allen is a freelance writer and small business marketing consultant in Danville, Kentucky who enjoys interviewing people about their businesses, their passions, and their personal experiences.)