Sowing Seeds: Celebrating the Retirement of Bob Broome
Posted by Laura Thomas on November 17, 2017
Longtime clients of Broome Associates often visit our office, sharing their remembrances of our staff who retired after spending many years here. Whether the clients wrote their insurance first under Atlas Insurance, Associated Insurance Agency, Morrow Insurance of Hickory, Fidelity Insurance, or Broome Associated Insurance, they all smile in recognition of Bob Broome. As the second-generation owner of Broome Associated Insurance following his father, Frelon, Bob has worked hard to grow the agency for 43 years, since 1973. It was not until 2014 that he began to reduce his working hours, while remaining dutifully engaged with the accounts of longstanding partnerships in which he invested over the years. On Friday, October 27th, 2017, Bob officially announced his retirement, celebrated by a small party at Cafe Rule in Hickory that hosted just a few of the partners, friends, and staff that have been part of his insurance legacy.
Before Broome Associated Insurance, Atlas Insurance was established by D. Howard Murphy in 1948. Frelon Broome stepped into insurance with Fields Insurance Agency and, with Mr. Fields’ blessing, established Frelon Broome Insurance Agency in 1969. As Bob and his wife Susan told the story, he originally began his career in the textile industry but found corporate life and moving to a new town every few years was not healthy for his young family. On multiple occasions, his father Frelon had come to him offering a position in the insurance agency. Bob finally agreed and moved the family from Dalton, Georgia back to Hickory in 1973. After facing early challenges, Bob laid roots in his father’s agency and worked hard, with the company eventually becoming his own.
Since working for the agency, Bob led the growth of Broome through partnerships and mergers with 6 local insurance businesses. By joining with Associated Insurance Agency and Hickory Insurance Service in 1986, the agency became Broome Associated Insurance. Mergers in 1991 with Bethlehem Insurance Agency, 1996 with Atlas Insurance Agency, and in 2004 with Morrow Insurance and Fidelity Insurance Service rounded out the agency as it is today. In recent years, the company diversified to branch into additional services, becoming Broome Associates.
Bob reflected that some of his favorite memories surrounded his tradition of grilling hamburgers and hot dogs for agency luncheons, which embody the feeling of family gatherings at holidays. As in traditional Broome style, retirement for Bob is full of family – both those who are Broomes or Kaisers and the staff and clients who have become part of the Broome Insurance family over time. Bob’s ongoing legacy is a testament to the strength of honesty, hard work, and true friendship, as it is clearly seen from the joy of well-wishes Bob has received. As one former Broome employee remarked, Bob never made her feel as if she was working for him, but with him. This hallmark of servant leadership indicates proof of a well-led agency. Even clients who have recently come to the agency can feel the product of this leadership sown by Frelon Broome and further rooted by Bob. As he continues work in the community through organizations including the Hickory Farmers Market, Bob exemplifies the Broome Associates motto, “helping people”, that lends a small, simple summary of the heart and foundation of the company and its owners.
The strength of the agency today rests on Bob’s hard work in insurance, in the community, and through his sons Robert Broome, Scott Broome, and son-in law Andrew Kaiser, who lead the agency’s management and client partnerships daily. Last year, Lori Alala joined as an equity partner, attracted to the character and values that go before Broome Associates. Like Bob, it is with their values and integrity that they lead the agency today. Bob retires with confidence in the solid legacy that has bloomed and continues in strength led by Robert Broome, Scott Broome, Andrew Kaiser and Lori Alala.