Ben Brown has been affiliated with the insurance business since the 1970s and has stepped down as district manager for Farmer’s Insurance, a position he held for 34 years. He was surprised with a luncheon in his honor last Friday at the Ozark Folk Center’s Skillet Restaurant, joined by about 25 friends, agents and company officials from across the state.
Brown said that at the time he opened his insurance agency the only other insurance agents were Edwin Luther, Muriel Dearien and Dean Teague. He moved to Mountain View soon after marrying his wife, Susan, and served as a Farmer’s agent for about seven years. He moved from Cave City and set up his office in the back bedroom of a house that served as a real estate office. His office was downtown when he started as district manager.
District managers are contracted by the company to recruit and train agents and work with them. He will continue his involvement with the company in a role as assistant to the new district manager.
There are about 20 agents in the district. While it is unusual for a district office to be in a small town like Mountain VIew, it worked well because it was geographically centered.
Steve Simmons took over the agency after Brown and he assisted in helping train agents for 21 years before he retired. Charlotte Nichols now runs the Mountain View office under the direction of Janet Smart, the agent in Batesville.
Ben’s uncle was a Farmer’s agent in Batesville when Ben decided to switch careers from teaching school, and he helped him get started. The most dramatic change he has seen since has been converting to electronic records, which occurred about the same time he started the district manager position. He said he had to stay current on technology in order to assist agents, and he said he operated for a time with a satellite dish on top of his office.
People have been the best part of the job.
“I appreciate the people I’ve had the opportunity to work with and the company that has been supportive of me all this time,” Brown commented. “I thank God for the opportunity and the privilege to do what I’ve done.”
He was also appreciative of how community members made he and his wife feel welcome after they moved to Mountain View 41 years ago.
“We expect to spend many more years here. We’re not going anywhere.”