Morgan Insurance Agency is merging with Bartlett, Baggett & Shands, bringing together two local businesses with a combined 150-plus years of insurance experience.
Terry Morgan and Ben Bartlett said the transition is in place, and customers shouldn’t have to worry about anything other than finding their way to the new office at the Morgan Insurance Agency location at 3708 S. Medford Drive.
“We want this to be as seamless as possible for our customers and as trouble-free for our customers,” Bartlett said. “We’ve already done a good bit of work preparing our customers for what’s coming, but they really shouldn’t see anything different other than don’t go looking for me at 1204 South First. I’m 3708 South Medford now.”
Perhaps the future will bring more blending, like a combined website, but as for right now, the singular office location is it. No layoffs were made during the course of this merger, and Morgan said, if anything, they plan on growing and hiring in the future because of the merger.
Bartlett, Baggett & Shands began in 1932 as Bartlett Insurance Agency by Ben Bartlett’s grandfather, Ernest Bartlett. The current name was adopted when the company merged with Lufkin Insurance Agency in 1954.
Ben joined the team in 1983 with some persuasion from his father, Ernest Bartlett Jr. He has stayed with it since and values his family legacy.
Morgan Insurance Agency began in 1962 as Bob Morgan Insurance. When Terry joined his father in 1982, they adopted the present name.
In December of 1981, Morgan was out of undergraduate studies and taking some business courses thinking about heading into a master’s program when his father gave him a call.
“My mom had become sick. She had cancer, and I remember he called me in December and said, ‘If you ever want to consider the insurance business, I think it would be a good time to do it,’” he said. “I said OK. I was going to give it six months. That was in January of 1982, and here I am.”
His daughter has now worked with him for two years.
Morgan said the company has changed with the times, but customer service and doing the best job possible for the customer are their primary focus.
Both Morgan and Bartlett said they have been friends since they were young, and they have always held a friendly rivalry since Beaver Scouts, when Morgan was patrol leader and Bartlett was assistant patrol leader for Troop 136.
“We have always been friends and friendly competitors,” Morgan said.
“We have a long history and have spent plenty of time in each other’s company,” Bartlett said.
Merging the two companies came easily because both men and agencies had similar values, integrity and goals, they said.
“From my end, I think we can take the good things they did and combine them and make it even better,” Morgan said.
Bartlett said he does not have any children who are going into the insurance business, and he wanted the company to go to someone local he could trust when he retires.
“I did not want to be owned by somebody in an ivory tower somewhere,” Bartlett said. “Honestly, Terry’s agency is the only one that truly made sense.”