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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Brazil Allstate agency under new ownership

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ted Paris -- previous owner of Allstate Insurance in Brazil -- recently passed the torch on to a new owner, Greg Kerns.

According to Paris, he's owned the business since 2005, but he's been in the insurance business much longer.

"I owned the Allstate Agency for about seven-and-a-half years," Paris said. "I opened it up in April of 2005. I was a district manager at Farmer's Insurance Group for 18 years. I went from management to personal protection."

Paris said the office has been in the same spot -- 213 E. National -- for approximately 15 years, with the owner before Paris starting in 1997.

He said what he'll miss most about the business is the personal relationships.

"The insurance business is one where it's personal," Paris said. "It's always personal, even though we say we're going to cover your car, we're really covering you as an individual.

"We have a large number of clients that we know, and know their kids' names and their grandkids' names. So we won't miss the business, but we'll miss the people we dealt with on a day-to-day basis."

Paris said the biggest part of his job was to find out exactly what people needed, so if the unexpected happened they are covered.

"What we try to do first is find out what the people need, match it with what they need and then hopefully they never use it," Paris said. "But if they do use it, then they have the right coverage."

Paris said technology has changed some aspects of the business over the years.

"I've been in the insurance business for 25 years ... technology has changed it, but it's still a people business," Paris said. "How you process the business has changed, but what you do hasn't."

Even though he's retiring, Paris said he's still going to keep busy.

"I told people the first thing I'm going to do is clean out my garage and seal the garage floor," Paris said. "My wife has a quite extensive list of 'honey do's' that we're going to do. I won't be completely, completely retired, I have a friend who owns an insurance school and I'm going to be doing some teaching for him to train new agents ... but that will be on a part-time basis.'"

Paris said he and his wife Sandy also have a trip to Hawaii planned in the near future to visit his oldest daughter and grandchildren. He also has two more children and grandchildren living in Indianapolis he hopes to visit more often.

Throughout the more than seven years he worked in Brazil, Paris said there are many accomplishments he's proud of.

He said he enjoyed being on the YMCA Board for three years, and through Allstate, helping secure approximately $5,000 in grants for the YMCA.

Paris said he was also instrumental in getting the Charles B. Hall memorial and was very active in the Chamber of Commerce, serving as president three of the last six years.

In addition, he said he supported local sports, including high school sports and the Clay County football and baseball leagues.

As Paris was getting ready to retire, he said he wanted to make sure when he did, he found a quality individual to take over, and he believes he found just that in Greg Kerns, originally from Sullivan.

"They've owned businesses in the past," Paris said. "When I talked to them about buying the business, I was making sure that he would fit in well in the Brazil community, which he is going to do very well. He does live here in town, he purchased a house in town."

Kerns said he and his wife Jeanie will both be working to run the business.

"Our main (goal) is to educate people on insurance and their insurance needs," Kerns said. "It's not something that's the most interesting topic for most people but (we want) to give (people) the ability to have protection for what they need and hopefully to help the community.

Kerns said he had been in the customer service industry for approximately 20 years and he will use some of that experience at his new business.

"Obviously we want to give good customer service and take care of the people and all their needs," Kerns said. "We have a great company, I think it's the best insurance company out there, in my opinion. We have a lot of great things to offer with the service and I think we have fair prices."

Kerns said Paris is going to be around at first to help make the transition a smooth one.

"He's going to be mentoring me for a while, so he'll be in and out of here," Kerns said "He's got 25 years experience, and you always want to keep your ears open, you always learn something, I don't care how long you've been in something."

Kerns said he and his wife are happy to be in a small town like Brazil.

"We are really glad to be here," Kerns said, "Brazil is a great community. We like the small towns, that's where we grew up. We like to have the community ties and to get to know everybody. We look forward to meeting everybody and becoming a part of the community."

Kerns added the business wasn't moving and he wanted to invite all current or prospective clients to stop in and say "hello."

For more information, call Kerns at the Allstate Agency at 448-2302.

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Good luck, Ted. I'm glad you're remaining a local resident! You have much to offer.

-- Posted by My Dime on Sun, Aug 12, 2012, at 12:35 AM

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