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Carthage insurance agency to open new HQ by March

Specialty Risk Insurance expects to add 200 jobs by 2030, officials say

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A Carthage-based full-service agribusiness and commercial insurance agency will be on the move this quarter to a larger headquarters as part of a multimillion-dollar investment in its hometown.

Specialty Risk Insurance owner Kevin Charleston said his company should make the move to 10385 Blackberry Road by March from 2023 S. Garrison Ave., where it has called home since opening in 2012. He said the agency purchased the 20,000-square-foot facility and its accompanying 42 acres for a little over $2 million from Consignment RV Sales LLC, which consolidated its operations to a single location in Carthage. The Blackberry Road building is on the south side of Interstate 44 across the street from Joplin Regional Stockyards.

“We feel like we invested in a spot that’s more accessible to Springfield and Joplin,” he said.

Charleston said the company will spend an additional $600,000-$800,000 to get moved in, which includes renovations, signage and computer equipment installation.

“It’s basically an RV building that has a 10-bay shop in the back that we’re putting glass doors on,” he said, adding the new headquarters will double its current space. “We really didn’t think we’d grow out of this quite this fast. We can accommodate our people better now.”

The Missouri Department of Economic Development announced in December that Specialty Risk Insurance was investing over $5.3 million in its Carthage expansion, which includes more than tripling its workforce with the creation of roughly 200 jobs over the next six years.

“It’s exciting to see Specialty Risk Insurance growing and creating jobs in Carthage,” Gov. Mike Parson said in a news release. “Our state’s favorable business climate, skilled workforce and strong infrastructure continue to result in business growth statewide. We look forward to Specialty Risk Insurance’s ongoing success as it benefits its community and our state’s thriving agriculture industry.”

For the facility and staff expansion, Specialty Risk Insurance will benefit from the Missouri Works program, a tool that helps companies expand facilities and its workforce by awarding withholdings or tax credits. Charleston declined to disclose details of the yet to be determined dollar amount for the economic incentives, adding his company is set to meet in Carthage this spring with state DED officials to discuss them.

Charleston said around two-thirds of Specialty Risk Insurance’s 90-person workforce is employed in Carthage. The remainder work either remotely or at its other Missouri locations in Joplin, Nevada and Sarcoxie, as well as offices in Fairfield, Texas, and Cave Creek, Arizona. He said the Sarcoxie office will consolidate with the new Carthage location.

“We’re getting better remote, but I’m not ready to give it up. I’m still old school,” he said of maintaining an in-office presence.

Specialty Risk Insurance offers coverage lines including production agriculture, food processing and packaging, livestock, machinery and equipment, construction, retail and manufacturing. The company also has clients that use its risk management services for employee benefits, human resources, safety and payroll. Aside from Missouri, Charleston said he’s had clients in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

“We’re in about 45 states from a licensing standpoint,” Charleston said, adding around 70% of Specialty Risk’s business comes from agriculture clients. It’s a percentage he said has remained consistent throughout the company’s 12-year existence.

While declining to disclose figures, Charleston said revenue was up 25% last year over 2022 – a growth percentage he estimates the company can duplicate this year.

The company’s work is part of an insurance market on the rise, according to a 2023 report by Allied Market Research. The research firm noted the global agricultural insurance market was valued at $38.5 billion in 2022, and is anticipated to surge to $67.4 billion by 2032, rising at an annual growth rate of 5.8% from 2023 to 2032.

The agricultural insurance market in the North America region accounted for the largest share of the market, at 45.4%, in 2022 and should continue to hold its major share over the next decade, according to the report. The research cited government initiatives to expand infrastructure in the insurance sectors and current economic conditions.

With Specialty Risk Insurance’s employee count expected to increase substantially over the next several years, Charleston said the new facility will easily accommodate the oncoming growth. The previous owners had already added 6,000 square feet of concrete foundation on the back side of the building that can allow for quick expansion if the need arises.

Additionally, Charleston said being along I-44 should boost the company’s visibility. The daily vehicle traffic on the interstate in that area exceeds 33,000, according to Missouri Department of Transportation data.

“It fit us well,” he said of the new location. “A lot of customers that we have are in and out of the stockyards a couple times a week. It makes a lot of sense to be where we’re at out there.”

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