Insurance Legacy of Excellence
The Norton Agency, a family-owned industry stalwart, celebrates more than 90 years as a one-stop market resource for the state of Georgia
You don’t stay in business for 90 years without doing things right. The Norton Agency, one of the largest independently owned insurance agencies in the state of Georgia, has done just that. Representing over 75 carriers handling $150 million of insurance premiums per year, the established family-run operation focuses not only on a thorough risk assessment: coverage, contract and lease review, but on providing the construction and real estate industries with dedicated customer service that goes above and beyond.
Generations of Experience
Robert (Bob) V. Norton and his brother, Frank Norton Jr., are the third generation of Nortons to help run the business. Bob oversees the insurance division of The Norton Agency, while Frank runs the real estate and property management division. Their grandfather, W. L. Norton Sr., started The Norton Agency in 1928 and his son, Frank K. Norton Sr., joined the company in 1952.
While the company has grown exponentially over the years, from the beginning the Norton family has been actively involved in the real estate, property management, development and insurance business. Bob shares, “I’ve grown up in the industry. I’ve seen my dad build subdivisions and hotels and golf courses. I learned the finer details of properly insuring the industry by protecting our own investments. We’ve built medical office space, office space, retail space, industrial space—and so learning the details of those led us to the expertise that we have in insuring the construction industry.”
Understanding All Sides of the Contract
The company’s longevity and deep knowledge are really what sets The Norton Agency apart in the region. Bob says, “What mostly separates us is our understanding of not just the insurance contract but how it applies to the individual job. We read construction contracts, we read leases, we read hold harmless agreements—and have a first-hand understanding of the intent for both sides. We’ve been the developer and we’ve been the insurance agent. And so, we have a unique ability to match up insurance to meet the goals and objectives not only of the contractor but also to meet the requirements of the general contractor.”
Local Service, Local People
With its stated company philosophy of “providing local service with local people,” coupled with its size and buying power, The Norton Agency uses “the power of choice in winning the trust of their clients.”
Bob explains, “Because our roots are in Gainesville and smaller communities, we developed a philosophy to get to know our clients not just through a sales relationship but really to get deep in and to know our clients’ needs. Our footprint is 22 offices throughout northeast Georgia and South Carolina, and in each one of those we are active in the community. And so, we know our clients very well and aren’t just there for the insurance. We’ve done a very good job of partnering with our clients to better understand their overall goals and objectives. Whereas a lot of agents just deal with selling insurance, because of our heritage of serving clients in a small-town structure and wanting to know and get to know our clients, we’ve used the same approach to larger clients as we’ve expanded.”
Power of People
As for the company’s growth, Bob gives some credit to the economy and to the diversity in locations that has allowed them to grow more quickly than if they had stayed in just one place. “But the main thing,” he says, “is that we have really good people. Most of our agents are also owners in the company, and so they take pride in the product that they deliver because they’re not just an employee; they’re part of the fabric of our organization.”
Bob likens their approach to that of The Blue Book Network. “We see The Blue Book as a networking group of people who want to broaden their horizons beyond just what they do; they want to meet new people and actively participate in this industry. That attitude aligns with our philosophy of getting to know clients and being able to assist them.”