Launch of independent agency alliance Fortified in the South East

A new agent-owned “alliance” intends to unite independent insurance agencies in the Southeast.

Fortified is slated to launch in January, with 54 independent agencies across Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee on board. Together they represent over 225,000 clients and place over $2.6 billion in premiums.

Joe Craven, CEO of Fortified, was named head of the group earlier this month. Craven has worked with Travelers before and was most recently at Grange Insurance, according to a fortified press release.

Craven has worked closely with independent agencies before, Fortified said, and it was his “familiarity with independent agencies and their struggles” that spurred his appointment.

“Independent agencies are the foundation of our industry. They are small businesses that work hard to provide the best possible coverage for their customers, but unfortunately being a ‘small’ business can make it more difficult to develop partnerships with insurers,” Craven said.

Independent agents continue to place the majority of P&C business, Fortified said, with percentage growth in nearly every line of coverage over the past five years.

“Independent agencies exist to serve their customers,” said Lou Moran, III, owner of Multi-Agency Insurance Services and founding partner of Fortified.

“We build trust by making sure they have the coverage they need. Which means they come back when they need more, and they consistently recommend us to those looking for coverage.

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