Willis Insurance acquires Shell Knob Insurance

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cassville company aims to expand, grow for future

Willis Insurance, which has been on the courthouse square in Cassville for 127 years, is expanding outside the city, as it acquired Shell Knob Insurance on April 1.

Annette Henderson, vice president and co-owner of Willis Insurance with Bob Allen and Jeremy Marple, said the acquisition is an opportunity for the company to grow for future generations.

"Willis Insurance has been here for 127 years, and with this new market, we hope to continue that longevity," she said. "This is an opportunity for us to expand, since we have only been in Cassville, and branch out into Shell Knob."

Henderson said Shell Knob Insurance fits into Willis Insurance well, and she has known the former owner of Shell Knob Insurance, Ray Ritchey, for many years. She said Willis Insurance had been in negotiations to purchase Shell Knob Insurance twice before.

Marple said the move is a good way for Willis Insurance to take its first steps out of Cassville.

"We just want to expand for future growth, and that agency fits well with ours," he said. "We're anxious to become more active in Shell Knob, as we are members of the Shell Knob Chamber of Commerce and are active in the community, and we want to play a bigger part."

Henderson said as a part of the expansion, Willis Insurance representatives will rotate between the Cassville and Shell Knob offices, and Shell Knob Insurance broker Paula Anderson will stay on board in the Shell Knob office.

"We'll offer home, auto, business, life and health insurance in Shell Knob, and we'll take turns going down there," Henderson said. "We're also happy to keep Paula in the office, because she has a great rapport with those customers, so it's a good opportunity to expand into the Shell Knob market and keep a local representative there."

Henderson declined to discuss financial details of the April 1 acquisition, and Ritchey declined comment on the story.

Willis Insurance will officially break ground on the new location on April 25, when an open house and ribbon-cutting is planned to take place from noon to 1 p.m.

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