Alaska is calling. “I’ll probably be fishing in Alaska,” Arthur Royston admitted when they officially retire after selling their Nationwide Insurance Agency at the end of the month. “We will be around for a while. We’ve got lots of things we want to do. But one of those will be to return to Alaska to fish.”
The Royston’s moved the Nationwide Insurance Agency to the Harrison Downtown Square in March 1991. They also added the independent contractor post office in 2007 as a convenience to area businesses and customers when the main post office moved to Industrial Park Road.
Arthur and Chris Royston have been in Harrison since moving to the area from Russellville in 1978 to work with Sheridan Garrison’s trucking company.
“I’ve only had two jobs in my lifetime. I worked in the trucking industry for 18 years prior to selling insurance,” he said. “Now, I’m ready to leave it to the younger people and enjoy fishing and traveling.”
“I didn’t drive a truck, but I was a sales manager. We were friends with Paul Mathis who was the first Nationwide agent in the area. When Sheridan sold the business, I spoke to Paul more seriously about selling insurance.”
For 35.5 years, Arthur sold Nationwide Insurance policies. “I’ve been thinking about retiring for about five years to see what my options were. I didn’t want to sell to a corporate-type agency where the owner didn’t live here. I wanted to sell to an independent agent here in Harrison and Mark Foresee was the only one I seriously talked to last March.”
“I didn’t know Arthur until he walked into my office last Spring,” Foresee said. “I had also been looking for a way to expand my general insurance business and retire from being an insurance adjuster — climbing on roofs should also be left to young people. I may still have to do some until the company finds another qualified adjuster for the area but that should be very soon.”
Is the Post Office staying? “It’s a formal process to transfer from one independent contractor to another. But we don’t anticipate any problems,” Royston said.
“The post office is an important service for area businesses and customers,” Foresee said.
Foresee said he is keeping Nationwide, and bringing additional companies with it. Mark and Doris Foresee’s daughter, Jamie Gonzalez is also a licensed agent and Doris has worked with Chris in the post office portion of the business since last fall. Derek Foresee is planning to join the business in the next few months after getting the necessary licenses.
“In 2018, Nationwide made the decision to go from 'captive agencies' where we could not write insurance for any other companies to go to the independent channel of distribution,” Royston said. “In July of 2019 is when I made the switch to an independent agency. I knew the independent channel was the best way to go, and that’s why I picked Mark.”
“Nationwide has had a big presence in this area for 37 years. It will remain the bulk of Mark’s business going forward. But we do have other carriers that may offer our Nationwide customers an alternative — whether it’s rates or type of policies,” Royston said.
“We service all personal lines, everything from home, auto to the toys. Commercial lines, factories, restaurants, nursing homes, medical supply stores and we’ve put in a good bond implementation in the last 12 months,” Foresee said.
Hours will remain from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
A meet and greet is scheduled for the public on Thursday, Jan. 30, from 1 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Foresee General Insurance Agency office is located at 100 N. Willow on the corner of Willow and Stephenson. The phone number is (870) 391-3723.