Daily Mountain Eagle
Byars|Wright Insurance has made its largest acquisition to date, purchasing a Birmingham company that will give the Jasper-based independent insurance company 20 percent growth in revenue and more than 1,000 new …
Daily Mountain Eagle
Byars|Wright Insurance has made its largest acquisition to date, purchasing a Birmingham company that will give the Jasper-based independent insurance company 20 percent growth in revenue and more than 1,000 new customers.
The purchase of Junkins Yarbrough Corp., also known as JYC Insurance, comes as Byars|Wright (byarswright.com) has placed fifth in Business Alabama’s 2007 Best Companies to Work For in Alabama listing in the August edition. The company was ranked in the Small-To-Medium Size Companies, with between 15 and 249 total employees.
It was the second year in a row the company — which will keep the Byars|Wright name after the deal —had been named to the list.
Haig Wright II of Jasper, president of Byars|Wright, said Wednesday the Jasper company had already branched into Gardendale, opening an office there five years ago at 999 Mt. Olive Rd. Five employees at JYC — Donna Leemon, Sally Melton, Ramona Parker, Beau Yarbrough and Jackie Yarbrough— have more than 70 years experience and will operate out of that Gardendale office, bringing the number of employees there to 20.
“We have had tremendous success in that community (Gardendale), and it has been a home for us to broaden our footprint up and down (U.S. Interstate) 65, but more so the Greater Birmingham area,” Wright said, noting that office has about as many employees as the Jasper office does.
Wright said he has known the Yarbroughs for more than 20 years, adding they are a second-generation agency, much like Byars|Wright is a third-generation business.
No breakdown is available concerning customers in Jasper and Birmingham, but Wright said the company has 5,000 customers, with JYC bringing in now another 1,200 customers.
“It’s been a real nice addition for us,” he said. “I think we can better serve the region in Birmingham and have more resources there for their customers and a place for their employees to come in and have a career.”
The acquisition has been talked about for nearly five years, Wright said.
“It’s been a labor of love,” Wright said with a laugh. “It’s been a lesson in patience and staying the course.”
In a press release this week, Wright said, “We are excited to welcome the experienced and well-respected JYC team to our Byars | Wright family. The addition of this second-generation agency comes naturally as Byars | Wright is continuously building and expanding on our brand and reach based on our guiding principle that Relationships Matter.”
The release noted the two agencies provide “a wide range of personal and commercial insurance, with an emphasis on commercial lines.
Byars|Wright offers a vast portfolio of insurance markets that JYC will utilize for clients, with its strength of operations to back and support all services.”
“JYC will use the Byars|Wright brand recognition to leverage two strong, well respected insurance agencies,” Beau and Jackie Yarbrough of JYC Insurance said in the release. “This new relationship will result in greater efficiencies and more access to quality carriers, which is to the advantage of our customers.”
Asked whether the acquisition will change the product offered, Wright said Wednesday the company will still have a concentration in churches, groceries, construction, health care, manufacturing and retail. Both companies have had roughly 80 percent commercial clients and 20 percent personal.
“The markets lined up. Their markets were mostly our main markets, so it was a nice acquisition for both parties,” Wright said, noting personnel within the company have been excited about the move.
The addition of the five employees will bring the total number of employees at Byars|Wright to 45 people, he said.
Wright said the company would continue following a long-term goal, started in 2010, to be “10 in 20.”
“I want to be a $10 million revenue agency by the year 2020. This gets us closer to our goal. We still have to work harder every day to get better and grow,” he said.
Asked where the company is in relation to that goal, he said, “We’re about 80 percent there.”
The three ways he sees of reaching that goal is organic business growth, producer recruitment and acquisitions, he said.
“We’ve been very pleased with organic growth,” he said. “We have met or exceeded industry standards as far as organic growth.”
He said the company’s market today is Jefferson County and surrounding counties — essentially the Birmingham-Hoover metro area, although he said some customers also come from northwest Alabama. The business comes from Cullman, the Shoals and even some multi-state accounts and even one that is international.
“Through the constant change, we really hold true to our core values,” Wright said. “This is our 71st year. We started in 1946, Mr. Byars did. We very much value our culture and work hard to keep that culture in place day after day.”
He said the JYC deal was an exciting acquisition and that the company is continuing to review and seek out other mergers or acquisitions where the cultures fit and it makes sense for all sides.
Anyone wanting to contact the company in Jasper may call 205-221-3621.