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Thomison merges with Ark.'s Rebsamen

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by Paul Flemming

SBJ Staff

Thomison Insurors, a 100-year-old local independent insurance agency, has merged with Little Rock-based Rebsamen Insurance. The move marks the dominant Arkansas firm's entry into the Missouri market and is the first of more acquisitions for Rebsamen in Springfield.

"We were most attracted to southwest Missouri. It's a natural stepping-stone for us from Fort Smith to Springdale to Springfield," said Jerry Dollins, senior vice president for Rebsamen.

Both Rebsamen and Thomison are independent agencies representing multiple insurors. A release about the merger said Rebsamen is the 21st largest privately held insurance broker in the United States, as ranked by the Hales Report. The merger will add 15-20 companies to the list that Thomison represents, said Charles Thomison, who will be president of the merged agency.

Rebsamen has full-service offices in Little Rock, Springdale and Fort Smith. The agency offers brokerage and risk management to manufacturing, food processing, transportation, financial and construction industries, among others. Some of its clients include Tyson Foods Inc., Entergy, ALLTEL and Stephens Inc.

Dollins said the company would like to acquire two more agencies in Springfield this year before looking to expand elsewhere. "We like Branson, and we like Joplin," Dollins said. "We think business is good here (in southwest Missouri). We know business is good in northwest Arkansas."

Thomison Insurors was founded in 1898 as the C.O. Sperry Company. It subsequently became Sperry/Thomison Insurance and later Thomison Insurors. Thomison said all staff and employees will stay on, and the office will remain at 1111 S. Glenstone.

Mark Patrick is senior vice president and Louis Bartholomew is vice president for life and health. In February, the company reported 10 local licensed agents and two support staff.

Thomison said the deal, which was effective April 1, was in the works for several months. Dollins said Rebsamen looked for an agency compatible with itself and one with a good reputation. He said Thomison came highly recommended from some of the insurance companies the two have in common. Dollins said the deal has advantages for both firms.

The merger will provide Rebsamen with entree to the Springfield market and give Thomison the leverage of a larger firm.

"You don't see any mom-and-pop groceries anymore, and the same is true for insurance agencies," Dollins said. "Insurance companies want a significant number of premium contracts" to underwrite for an agency, and that can be difficult to do in a smaller agency.

In addition, he said some larger clients are more open to doing business with a larger broker.

"This will give (Thomison) the opportunity to approach some accounts" they hadn't been able to before, Dollins said.

The merger represents not only Rebsamen's first Missouri office, but its first outside of Arkansas. "For Rebsamen to truly be a regional broker, we need to grow outside of Arkansas," Dollins said. He said the company is looking to open locations in Tennessee and Oklahoma, but is still searching for the right opportunities there.

INSET CAPTION:

'You don't see

mom-and-pop groceries anymore, and the same is true for insurance agencies.'

Jerry Dollins

Rebsamen[[In-content Ad]]

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