A History Of Service in Valdosta
The Tillman Insurance Agency began in 1912 when Winston McKey opened the McKey Insurance Company in downtown Valdosta. The office was located on the fourth floor of the McKey Building at 101 E. Central Avenue. Winston McKey’s original contract was with The United State Fidelity and Guaranty Company which was one of the finest companies operating in America. In 1937, Mr. McKey’s nephew, I.H. “Zeke” Tillman joined the company. He graduated from Georgia Tech and had spent the previous 17 years as a banker. When he joined the company, the business changed its name to the McKey-Tillman Insurance Company. Winston McKey retired in 1945 and Zeke Tillman became the sole owner. Zeke moved the business to a ground floor office at the corner of E. Central Avenue and McKey Street.
In 1954, Zeke Tillman was joined by his son, I.H. “Bubber” Tillman Jr. Bubber Tillman had graduated from the University of Georgia and had been honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. By 1969 the agency had grown and needed more office space, so the business was moved to 502 N. Ashley St. and became the Tillman Insurance Agency. Zeke Tillman retired in 1977 at the age of 80.
Bubber’s son, Hamilton Tillman joined the agency in 1982 after graduating from the University of Georgia with a BBA in Risk Management and Insurance. Prior to joining the agency, Hamilton worked as an underwriter for the Commercial Union Insurance Company in Boston, MA. In 1984, Hamilton became a Certified Insurance Counselor and completed the Certified Risk Manager’s Program in 2002. There are less than a thousand Certified Risk Managers in the country.
In 1992, Bubber’s youngest son, Dan Tillman joined the agency after graduating from Valdosta State University. Dan finished the Certified Insurance Counselor’s program in 1995. Dan is currently President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Lowndes County and is a broad member of the state association.
Bubber Tillman semi-retired in 1995 upon selling the agency to Hamilton and Dan Tillman. Bubber is still active around the Tillman Insurance Agency.
In 2004, Hamilton and Dan Tillman moved the location of the business to its current location, 3964 Old U.S. Hwy 41 North. What started as a one-man agency with one Insurance Company contract in 1912 has developed into the Tillman Insurance Agency with over fifteen direct contracts and access to hundreds of insurance companies.
Key to TIA’s success is our ability to build enduring relationships with our customers. Founded in 1912 on the principles of service and integrity, TIA will continue to adhere to this philosophy. In building relationships with both our clients and the insurance industry, the principles of exceptional service and integrity will be our guide.