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A Fast-Growing Company, Acentria Fills Insurance Needs from 5 Polk County Locations  

April 2, 2024 News

Acentria was founded by Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mason and Chairman Kendall McEachern, who “opened a branch of another national insurance agency in Destin. With the support of that agency, they decided to branch off in 2010, launching Acentria Insurance. To this day, several original team members and clients remain part of the Acentria family,” according to Acentria’s website. The company’s principles are integrity, innovation and dedication.   

 “We take the time to get to know you, providing customized plans, fresh products and programs – and service that feels like family,” its website says. 

The company offers all types of insurance, including personal, business, health and life. 

With its headquarters in Destin, Florida, Acentria has more than 50 branches in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, including five in Polk County. It can write policies anywhere in the United States. 

Acentria’s Local Presence

Michael Watkins was previously with a local payroll company, when it spun off its insurance agency and sold it to Acentria Insurance. Now, he’s a vice president with Acentria, managing people and working with clients. 

Watkins loves working for the new company and is glad it decided to retain him when it purchased Certipay’s insurance agency in April 2021. 

“When I was managing the insurance agency, I was doing what I do now – managing people and clients,” Watkins said. “I’m still managing the benefits teams within Acentria while also managing a group of clients. I like doing that. I don’t like things to be static, where I do the same thing day after day. I love having the ability to have my management hat on, then work with clients. It leads to a heavy workload sometimes, but I’d rather be busy than bored.”  

Each Polk County branch specializes in a different area, he said. The branches are located at:  

  • South Florida Avenue in Lakeland. 
  • Fitzgerald Road in Lakeland, partnered with Comp360. 
  • Lake Wire Drive in Lakeland. 
  • South Lakeland Drive in Lakeland, partnered with GreenRoad Insurance. 
  • Avenue C Southwest in Winter Haven, which handles commercial insurance and benefits. 

“We all do different things,” he said, like one Lakeland office focuses on workers’ comp while another focuses on trucking and commercial insurance. 

He estimates that together they employ about 50 people. “Acentria buys up other insurance agencies,” which is how it grows. 

Acentria focuses heavily on people, Watkins said. “They do the right thing for customers. That translates to how they treat their employees. They want to make sure people who work for them are engaged and enjoy their jobs. They really do want people to be happy and satisfied. They truly are some of the nicest people, all the way to the top. At the last event, I sat next to the CEO and had a nice conversation at lunch.” 

Like other companies, Acentria is having a hard time finding quality candidates for everything from account managers to salespeople, he said. “We have the same challenges as everybody.”  

Community Ties

Watkins attended junior high and high school in Polk County, and his mother still lives here, he said. Although he lives in Ridge Manor now, he works in the Winter Haven office. He has clients in Wauchula and Tampa we well.  

“I’ve been in business for 32 years, and the entire time part of my work territory has always been in Polk County. I’ve been tied to the community since I went to school here,” he said. “Polk County is in my blood.”  

He loves working here because he resonates with the people of Polk County, he said. “I’ve always had good business success in Polk County. I’m a real person, and most of the people I keep as customers are real people. I think that’s what the connection is.”  

Acentria Giving Back

Acentria gives back to the communities it serves through #AcentriaCares. So far, it has donated more than $1.5 million to more than 125 local nonprofits through corporate contributions, fundraising events and carrier partner relationships, according to its website. “As a company, we set aside more than 4,500 volunteer hours annually for our employees.” 

Some of those volunteer hours occurred in 2018 after Hurricane Michael hit the Panhandle. The company sent employees to help affected communities seven days a week for three weeks, the website said. 

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