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Bates Appointed President Of Stokes-Farnham Insurance

Insurance industry veteran Tom Bates has been appointed President of the independent Stokes-Farnham Insurance Agency, returning to his birthplace of Travelers Rest, SC. Beginning with Atlanta based Crawford and Company as an adjuster, then moving to the agency side of the business three years later in Greenville, 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 insurances 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 Burnet 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 with 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 serve is not only a big win for us, but also the people of Travelers Ret 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 Motely, 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.


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