Upstate, South Carolina – January 16, 2022 Insurance industry veteran Tom Bates has been appointed President of the independent Stokes-Farnham Insurance Agency, returning to his birthplace of Travelers Rest, South Carolina. Beginning with Atlanta-based Crawford and Company as an adjuster, then moving to the agency side of the business three years later in Greenville, SC, Bates has built a 46-year career in the independent insurance market. He spent 18 years as the Vice President of Sales for one of the oldest insurance agencies in Greenville, the C. Douglas Wilson Company, then spent another 17 years as VP and COO of Herlong Bates Burnett Insurance. In 2017, Herlong Bates Burnett was sold to Assured Partners, and Bates continued on as a Senior Sales Executive through 2021.
"I feel as if I've come full-circle from a career perspective," said Bates, "but even more so is my personal sense of coming home. I was born two streets from the current Stokes-Farnham office. My wife and I built a house near the Swamp Rabbit Trail, and I can literally walk to my office. I feel that Travelers Rest is positioned to become the next destination town in South Carolina. This small town packs so much bang for the buck."
"Stokes-Farnham has deep roots in this town, and a strong and reputable name for good reasons. I want to see where it can go -- and hopefully take it to the next level and expand further. I enjoy mentoring and want to train other agents as well. About 25% of our work at Stokes Farnham is commercial property and casualty. We also offer home, auto, life, and even health insurance. If something has the name "insurance," I'm involved in it. People work with me not because I know about insurance though -- they work with me because they trust me. That's the most important attribute for an agent to seek."
Founded in 1954, the Stokes-Farnham agency was acquired in 2021 by the Owens Insurance Agency, led by Chris Crist and Shane Lynn.
"We are thrilled that Tom has been willing to come help us at Stokes-Farnham," said Chris Crist, co-owner of Owens Insurance. "To have somebody of his experience level and his commitment to service is not only a big win for us, but also for the people of Travelers Rest and the Upstate. He is very well-known in the commercial insurance space, not only for the depth of knowledge he brings, but also for his integrity. An independent agent is able to represent a variety of providers and offer very competitive prices. But more importantly is that he acts as an advocate and guide, sharing expertise and counsel for the customer. That relationship of trust and expertise is the independent insurance agent's greatest gift, and Tom represents the best of that heritage."
Bates is the immediate past state chair of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of South Carolina (IIABSC), the state's "oldest and largest trade association of property and casualty insurance agents;" he was named the association's "Agent of the Year" in 2021. Most importantly, he is the President of the Cancer Survivors Park Alliance, a cause that is dear to his heart after his daughter, Lindsey Bates Motley, died at age 29 of cancer. With the help of the community, Bates raised $300,000 for Lindsey's Leap of Faith, a part of the park named in his daughter's memory.
Founded in 1954, the Stokes-Farnham Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency based in Travelers Rest that represents a variety of reputable providers for commercial and personal insurance needs. For more information on Stokes Farnham, visit https://www.stokesfarnham.com or call Tom Bates at 864-270-0023.
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