The Southern Agency

The Southern Agency was founded by agent Derek Wirz. Derek created a framework of insuring a business by “systematizing” the way a business buys insurance and views their exposures. This is because the insurance industry applications do not give quite enough information about the applicant’s “back story.” This framework is what The Southern Agency calls The Southern Agency Underwriting Narrative.

When one of our agents submits an application with this narrative for the business, it will give the underwriters the feel of being on a tour of your daily operations. The Southern Agency has created this formula by highlighting your business through the 9 P’s of insurance. This builds confidence in the underwriters decision. The “9 P’s” include:

  1. Profile – brief description of business operations
  2. People – brief overview of the people involved in the business
  3. Product – an overview of what the business makes or does
  4. Process – an overview of how the business operates
  5. Plant – an overview on the building and equipment the business uses to operate
  6. Prevention – an overview on steps taken to mitigate hazards and reduce risk – additionally, we show that you have a Pre-Loss and Post-Loss Plan of action
  7. Pain – what the current shortcomings are in the current policy
  8. Price – we do not set the premium but we negotiate and this system helps – a lot
  9. Persuade – this is your forum to convince the underwriter that you are an excellent risk and how sincere you are

This creates a top-of-the-stack applications for your business. That’s what every business needs but few will ever get.

We work for you.

Meet Our Team

Derek Wirz | President & Producer

Derek is a licensed insurance agent in most states across the U.S. He writes all lines of insurance, while specializing in commercial lines. Over his 40+ years in the business, Derek has always been passionate about meeting his client’s needs.

Derek is active in many associations having served as the President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Tennessee, and as a Trustee of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents. He holds many designations including the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and the Certified Workers Compensation Professional (CWCP).

Derek graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). He is married to Tracey, and they have two children.

Tracey Wirz | The Southern Agency

Tracey serves as our agency’s manager and financial officer.

Tracey graduated from the University of Tennessee (UTK). She is married to Derek and they have two children.

Chris Cain | The Southern Agency

Chris is the Vice President of The Southern Agency, where he is in charge of Operations and Claims. He is licensed both as an adjuster and an agent in multiple states. This gives our clients a guide to preventing claims, identifying risks that need to be covered, as well as providing assistance to both our clients and carriers when a claim occurs.

In addition to his duties at The Southern Agency, he has recently served on the State of Tennessee Bureau of Workers Compensation Telehealth Advisory Committee as well as the Utilization Review Advisory Committee that helped develop the rules and statutes. In addition, he serves on the United Heartland Insurance Company Claims Advisory Council. Previously, he served as President of the Tennessee State Claims Association, and 15 years as President of Chattanooga Claims Association.

Chris has over 30 years in the insurance industry involving multi-million-dollar property and liability claims, as well as large risk pools and self-insured employer claims. At the age of 25 he became Workers’ Compensation Division Manager for a multi-line, third party administrator. He worked at this company for 27 years handling workers’ compensation, liability, property, and bond claims.

He graduated from University of Tennessee Chattanooga and holds a B.S. in Finance with a minor in Economics. Chris and his wife, Stacey, have two children. Tyler is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and currently serves as a Naval Flight Officer for the P- 8 Poseidon. Lauren is a Business Major at University of Tennessee Chattanooga and is the current President of the American Marketing Association Collegiate Chapter. Chris and Lauren have a podcast together called, Work Comp Chaos.

Kelly Taylor | The Southern Agency

Kelly began her insurance career in 1999 and is a licensed professional. She is the agency’s Client Service Manager, working closely with our account managers and producers to keep the agency running smoothly.
In her free time, Kelly enjoys spending time with her family. They enjoy activities that range anywhere between hiking trips in the mountains to lounging on the beach.

Brandon Crowe | The Southern Agency

Brandon is a licensed insurance agent. He has over 10 years experience in leading a team or division throughout his career. Brandon is currently our Personal Lines Manager while being committed to serving our clients with their home, auto, life, and personal insurance coverages. 

Brandon is passionate to provide the best service that each client deserves to receive. His humble and openness presents each client the opportunity to structure the most accurate policy to best fit their needs. He believes that with his ministry and leadership experience he offers a well-rounded approach to serve all clients with their insurance needs. 

Brandon and his wife, Rachael, are proud parents of two children, Aaidan and Addyson. They love spending time playing sports, swimming, and being with family in their Ringgold, GA community! 

Austin Case | The Southern Agency

Austin is a licensed insurance agent. Austin specializes in Franchise insurance programs as well as insuring contractors, homebuilders, and many other industries. He has created programs for Franchise’s on the Fastest Growing Franchise list by Entrepreneur.

A graduate of the University of Tennessee Knoxville, Austin holds a B.S. in Public Relations with a minor in Business Administration. Austin has always been a top performer at his job. His knowledge of the insurance industry coupled with his servant approach, leads him to finding his customers the coverage they deserve.

Rachael Crowe| The Southern Agency

Rachael has been at The Southern Agency since the beginning of 2022. She tackles a dual role as our Accounting Manager / Marketing Manager.

Rachael is married to our Personal Lines Agent/Manger Brandon Crowe and together they have 2 children, Aaidan and Addyson who keep them busy with golfing and cheerleading.

John Newman| The Southern Agency

John was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN. He graduated from UTC with a Degree in Business Administration. He and his wife Kristin have raised three boys in the Chattanooga area.

John has over thirty years of experience working in different capacities for small and large businesses throughout his career. He joined The Southern Agency in April 2023 as a Commercial Producer.

LaVonda Hysinger| The Southern Agency

LaVonda began her professional career in customer service under the TN Department of Commerce and Insurance as a Cosmetologist / Aesthetician in 1980.

A love for people and meeting their needs prompted her to obtain an Insurance Producer’s license to further help clients with all their insurance needs as an account manager.

LaVonda and her husband have three children and four grandchildren. She enjoys gardening and all things outdoors.

Jennifer Mahon| The Southern Agency

Jennifer began her insurance career 14 years ago and is a licensed insurance agent. She writes all lines of insurance, while specializing in commercial lines. She currently is one of our commercial lines account managers.

Jennifer is originally from Long Island, NY, moving to upstate Pennsylvania, and then to Georgia to be close to family. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her daughter, reading, gardening, crafting, doing volunteer work, and taking her dog for walks.

Stacey Colton| The Southern Agency

Stacey is originally from the east coast of Florida and moved to Chattanooga in 2007 and came to us in 2021 as a Commercial Account Manager.

She is wife to her husband Ron, mother to Travis and Kyle and grandmother to Amelia. Oh! And let’s not forget mom to her French bulldog Porkchop. She enjoys anything outdoors, especially horseback riding.

Shelly Cooper| The Southern Agency

Shelly joined the Southern Agency team in August of 2023. She has been in the insurance industry for a total of 13 years with experience in both personal and commercial lines. As a commercial account manager, she enjoys building relationships with the insureds and learning the aspects of their businesses so that she can better serve the insured.

Shelley has two beautiful daughters and enjoys spending time with them. She loves riding motorcycles through the mountains and being outdoors.

Joanie Dean| The Southern Agency

Joanie is originally from Upstate NY in the Finger Lakes region and moved here in 2021.  She has been in the Insurance business for over 30 years and is currently an Account Manager here at the agency in the Personal Lines Department.

She enjoys the beauty of TN and in her free time she likes to spend time with her son and daughter-in-law here in TN as well as traveling back to NY and enjoying her oldest son, daughter in law and precious grandbabies!

Cherie Gilbert| The Southern Agency

Cherie was born and raised in Michigan and has lived in Tennessee for about 2.5 years. She has 4 grown kids, a granddaughter and 4 fur babies. She has been in insurance for a very long time and when she is not at work, she enjoys being on her property and taking walks in the woods. 

We look forward to speaking with you!