Area native Elven Akers started Akers Real Estate in Branson, Missouri in 1952 and soon realized the community’s need for local access to insurance coverage. He wanted residents to receive good advice on how to best insure their properties and he wanted to see that their claims were handled professionally and in a timely fashion. Elven formed Akers Real Estate and Insurance and quickly established the company’s reputation as the area’s trusted insurance advisor – a reputation that remains today.
In 1969, Elven passed away unexpectedly, leaving the agency in the hands of his 27-year-old son Edd Akers, who had recently completed his Master’s Degree in accounting from the University of Missouri and was working as the co-administrator with Mary Herschend of the National Crafts Foundation at Silver Dollar City.
With a commitment to pursuing his father’s goal of providing local residents with access to a variety of insurance options, expert advice, and fast claims resolution, Edd made the decision to make insurance his life’s work and to focus the company’s efforts solely on insurance. The company had been incorporated as Akers Insurance Agency, Inc.in 1967.
In those days, the insurance profession, and insurance agents in particular, were not held in very high regard,” Edd said. “Insurance was seen as a commodity you could buy off the shelf, not as a service you got from a professional. I knew that if I wanted people to think of their insurance agent just as they thought of their accountant or lawyer, that I would have to approach everything I did with as much professionalism and expertise as I possibly could,” he said.
Edd received the distinguished Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter’s (CPCU) credential in 1982. To acquire the CPCU, one must pass rigorous undergraduate- and graduate-level examinations, meet experience requirements, and agree to be bound by a strict code of professional ethics. He went on to receive his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) certification from The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research in 1988.
In 1987, David Arney joined Akers Insurance Agency, Inc. and the name was changed to Akers & Arney Insurance Associates in 1992. David currently serves as company president and CEO. His extensive background in marketing and banking, coupled with his degrees from College of the Ozarks and Central Missouri State University, helped focus the company’s sights on a larger clientele base through enhanced marketing and branding while strengthening their commitment to professional excellence.
Edd’s son, John Akers (CIC) joined the company in 1992 as an account executive and manager of the Benefits and Financial Services Departments. John also serves as the agency’s Vice President and Treasurer. He holds a business degree from the University of Missouri and at one time, a Series 7 Stock Broker’s License.
After having outgrown their long-time downtown Branson location in 2006, Akers & Arney partnered with client Tom Boyce Excavating, Inc. to build the 15,000-square foot Corporate Summit office complex on Buccaneer Boulevard, near the Branson Junior High School. The building houses Akers & Arney, Tom Boyce Excavating, Elite Landscapes L.L.C. and Employer Advantage. The new location offers ample parking, office space for more than 25 employees at Akers & Arney, and a community room, which can accommodate up to 30 people for meetings and special events.
Akers & Arney has always endeavored tobecome a trusted advisor to their clients. To reach that goal, in 1999 the company joined Sitkins International™, for training, coaching and networking guidance. In 2000, Akers & Arney became one of the prestigious Sitkins 100™, a collection of one of the 100 leading insurance agencies in the nation.
Since partnering with Sitkins, Akers & Arney has received the annual “Best Practices Agency Award” 9 times from the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, which also ranked Akers & Arney first in their size category in 2005. The agency was honored with the “Best Small Business of the Year” award from the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce in 2003.
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Just as the Branson area has grown to become a world-class family vacation destination over the past five decades, so too has Akers & Arney grown. The company employees more than 15 licensed agents and has a commercial lines client base which includes multi-million dollar Branson theaters, hotels and attractions, as well as many other private businesses, schools and government organizations. The company’s reputation as a trusted insurance advisor has undoubtedly exceeded the expectations of the late Elven Akers. Akers & Arney has been called one of the nation’s top authorities on live performance theater insurance.
Partners Edd, John and David, along with the entire staff at Akers & Arney actively support numerous community organizations with their volunteer service, donations, and through sponsorship of special events.
“This company was founded out of a desire to serve the people and businesses in this community,” David said. “A lot has changed about how we operate our business, but nothing will ever change the ‘why’.”