All In the Family
Roots Run Deep at Jim Gill Agency
You could say the insurance business is part of the Gill Family DNA.
Founded in Cherryvale in 1963 by its namesake, the Jim Gill Agency is now in its third generation of leadership. And it’s not only the family business that has been handed down, but also a genuine commitment to the southeast Kansas communities it serves.
“In any community where we make a living, we believe we have a moral obligation to give back,” said Vice President Adam Gill.
It’s that type of commitment that earned the company well-deserved designation as the Montgomery County Action Council (MCAC) “Business of the Month” for September.
“Jim Gill Agency has been a longtime advocate for economic development in Montgomery County,” said Trisha Purdon, MCAC executive director. “They’ve been a progressive company, always advancing and diversifying their business and remaining optimistic.”
While the agency dabbles in some real estate services, its primary business is property and casualty insurance coverage. They offer a full array of products, including crop and life insurance.
After following his own career path outside of the insurance business for a few years, Rick Gill joined his father, Jim, and younger brother, Rob, in the family agency in 1982. In a business that relies on population numbers, Rick said, diversification and routine expansion – both of product lines and locations – have been vital in helping the company maintain its small-town roots.
In 1985, the agency acquired the Don Adams Agency in Neodesha, eventually renaming the branch the Wilson County Agency. In 1992, the company expanded to Coffeyville, where it established Coffeyville Insurance Associates “from scratch.” More expansions came with the 2001 acquisition of the Jack Brown Agency in Iola, renamed Iola Insurance Associates, and the 2002 acquisition of the Bill Thompson Agency in Chetopa. The company also operates an office in Erie.
The faces of the agency have changed over time, with the addition of Adam in 2005; the death of founder Jim Gill in 2006; and the unexpected passing of Rob in 2015. Though Jim and Rob have physically exited the business, reminders of their influence remain alive and well in the Cherryvale office. Rick keeps a framed photo of his father on display behind his desk, and “Robert C. Gill, Owner” still graces the front office window in vinyl letters. And the bloodline has remained consistent, as have the many support personnel who help keep the company running smoothly.
“We don’t have a lot of turnover, and we’ve got great, great people,” Rick said. “That’s what makes the business.” And, as Rick ponders his own retirement in a few years, more family recruits are on deck to keep the legacy alive. “Cherryvale and southeast Kansas have been good to us,” Rick said. “This is where our roots are planted, and we intend to keep growing.”