Can you live the American Dream not once but twice?
“Absolutely!” says Colleen Campbell, one half of the husband-and-wife team who founded A2Z Insurance in 2007. “I know that, because Tommy and I have done it!”
Colleen and Tommy Campbell are the heart-and-soul of the insurance company based in Franklin, Tennessee that “insures everything—from A 2 Z!” But things haven’t always been easy for the couple—both of whom are cancer survivors. Their pathway to success has been founded on hard work, trustworthiness, and a passionate commitment to protect their customers with the type of insurance coverage based on the client needs.
The Campbell’s journey toward A2Z began shortly after their wedding in July 1996. It was a journey Colleen never expected to take.
“At that time,” she says, “Tommy was looking for a sales job, and a neighbor encouraged him to get an insurance license. So Tommy began studying for his life and health insurance license. One day, I looked over some of the material he was studying and said, ‘Oh, that looks pretty easy!’ I was actually just trying to encourage Tommy. But Tommy responded by saying, ‘Well, why don’t you get your license, too, so that we could both work together, then?’”
It worked like a charm. Soon they were working together as a team for a small life insurance company—and excelling. Every month they were the top agents.
Becoming even more valuable to their customers
“Things were going great,” Colleen says. “Then clients began to ask us, ‘Can you insure my car? Can you insure my house?’ So one day I said to Tommy, ‘We should go full-line, so we can protect our clients for all there insurance need, not just life insurance.’”
They soon took the required licensing tests, passed them with flying colors, and found themselves in their new Campbell Insurance office in Independence Square in Franklin.
Then disaster struck. About six weeks later, we were applying for life and health insurance. Tommy went to the doctor and found he had colon cancer. It was a painful, frightening ordeal. But, luckily, he had successful surgery and now has been in remission for nineteen years.
In 1998 our first full year in business offering all lines of insurance we were the top producing property casualty agency with the company. Then in 1999 were the number two agency with the entire company in both life and property casualty production. That wasn’t good enough, we put “Agent of the Year 2000” on all computers screen savers in the office. We couldn’t slow down then and were the top Agent of the Year 2000 with the entire company, come by our office and see the Giant Eagle. We could not have done what we have been able to do without a great staff over the years.
The birth of A2Z insurance
After Tommy’s health scare, the Campbell’s were living the good life—the American Dream. Thanks to their hard work and dedication to customer service, they enjoyed excellent salaries and a production bonus one year that was six figures.
But there was something missing.
“Campbell Insurance was with what is called a ‘captive company, or direct writer’” Colleen explains. “In other words, we could only provide our customers with insurance plans from one company, the parent company. And we wanted to be able to sell our customers the best plans at the best price based on their needs—not just what our parent company happened to offer.”
That’s when the vision for A2Z Insurance hit Tommy and Colleen.
“The idea would be that we would insure pretty much everything—A 2 Z—and do so by offering our customers great choices from a wide array of insurance companies with multiple options,” Tommy says. “That’s the #1 benefit to our customers and forA2Z being an independent agency.”
The American Dream: Take 2
Colleen started A2Z Insurance in 2007. But doing so took guts. She couldn’t take clients from her previous “captive” agency, so she started out with no clients and the current income went to zero.
“That was scary,” she says. “But luckily the reputation Tommy and I enjoyed started attracting lots of phone calls. And I do mean lots of calls! We were so grateful to our friends, neighbors, and past clients.” That gratitude extended to kind souls who helped Colleen through her own cancer battle, which happened shortly after the opening of A2Z. Fortunately, she—like Tommy—is now a long-time cancer survivor.
“We’re so grateful to our customers,” Colleen says. “They’re the secret of our success. I think they really appreciate the unusual level of service and devotion they get from a husband-and-wife team like us, and from the numerous other agents at A2Z.”
“And also,” says Tommy, “they appreciate the one-stop-shopping they can do with us. If you can write insurance on it, we can offer it.”
As the Campbell’s look back on their past decade at A2Z, they are grateful to their community of customers for their success, and mindful of the needs to “give back” to their community at large. For that reason, they are active with their Sunday School class and help with Room in the Inn (ministry to the homeless) at their church, and also are actively involved with Hospital Hospitality House, and the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Nashville, they also support The Joshua Chamberlain Society.
Through it all, they count their blessings—and are amazed they have lived the American Dream not once, but twice.