Reliance Partners: Refreshing an Industry

By Sarah-Grace Battles, Communications Intern

Drawn to Chattanooga for the technology, business and transportation industries, Reliance Partners aspires to refresh and revitalize the insurance industry.

When I visited the Reliance office, I immediately sensed an unexpected energy. Employees spoke excitedly on the phone to customers and college pennants adorned the walls. As I toured the office, Laura Ann Howell, Vice President of Reliance, warned me of small colorful footballs littering the ground from pick-up games of catch.

Founded in 2009 by Andrew Ladebauche, CEO of Reliance, and the ownership of Access America Transport, Reliance Partners offers commercial and personal insurance, with a focus on transportation, logistics, third-party logistics and freight forwarding industries.

Reliance Partners’ leadership possesses a collectively strong background in transportation, logistics and insurance. Chad Eichelberger, formerly President of Access America Transport; Mark Ford, Executive Vice President and former executive at Coyote Logistics; and Howell, founder of an asset-based trucking company and freight brokerage; and numerous other Reliance leaders share a transportation background that guides Reliance Partners’ niche.

With a high standard of customer service and commitment to company culture, Reliance Partners has seen explosive growth — growing from 12 employees in Aug. 2015 to now more than 30.

“I think it’s important that we’re empowering our team with a clear road map to success,” Eichelberger says. “From that point, we’re able to scale more quickly because people are achieving the milestones that we’ve set.”

Steering away from traditional structure, Reliance Partners operates flatly with all employees working in the same space as a team.

“Our big thing is we want employees to be able to have their own business within this business, so we are all about empowering people and creating a positive work environment for them to grow personally and professionally,” Eichelberger says.

Casual dress, company outings, contests and transparency about how to advance within the company all contribute to the unique culture employees are a part of at Reliance.  

“The people and the energy are my favorite parts of working at Reliance,” Howell says.

From weekly kickball games to company events at Chattanooga Lookouts games and quarterly office-wide outings, the team at Reliance spends time investing in people and culture.

Firm believers in having a good time and being a part of a team, Reliance employees view the people and customers behind what they do as the most important part of the job.

“Our employees feel complete ownership of their customers. It’s personal,”
 Eichelberger says. “At a lot of companies — it’s just a job. But here, with the team we’ve assembled, their customers are the focus, so they’ll go the extra mile for the customer.”

“We want to be the best insurance agency in the business. When somebody calls, we want to be the most responsive, we want to be the most outgoing and the company that goes above and beyond. Frankly, this is an industry that in a lot of ways is stuck in the past. We are working to bring a fresh perspective to it.”

For more information about Reliance Partners, visit reliancepartners.com.

-Aug. 1, 2016