75th Anniversary – Canal's First 75 Years: What A Ride

Canal-Family-Photo“Any successful venture is built day by day, and the blueprint kind of unfolds…You can have your goals, but it’s really what you do every day that builds the future,” said the late William R. Timmons, Jr., Chairman and Secretary from 1948 until 2005 and son of Canal’s pioneering leader.
Canal Insurance’s first 75 years have been built by over 27,375 of those day-by-days, and there’s quite the story to be told.  Beginning with his own insurance agency, the William R. Timmons Agency in Greenville, S.C., William R. Timmons, Sr. saw an opportunity and a niche for his insurance agency if he could solve the insurance needs of these truckers. Highways and equipment were improving and states such as South Carolina, followed by Georgia and North Carolina were passing laws requiring long haul truckers be properly insured.The William R. Timmons Agency was writing more insurance on truckers and commercial passenger vehicles than any other agency in the area. However, insurers were struggling. Timmons once again seized an opportunity to purpose his own insurance company. So in December 1942, Timmons purchased a three year old carrier Canal Insurance Company which was originally incorporated on February 27, 1939 by the First National Bank of Columbia to insure autos that it financed.Timmons and his business manager, T.J. Mims, were soon joined by Gordon Rodgers. In 1948 Rodgers was added to the management team to help build a coast-to-coast network on general agencies. Then tragedy struck with the sudden death of Mr. Timmons in 1948 in an automobile accident. Bill Timmons, Jr., a retired army captain, left Furman University one semester shy of graduation to help run his father’s company.Growth continued with the addition of Charlie Timmons, Sr. in 1949 and as the interstate highway system grew mile-by-mile, so did Canal, day-by-day.  No one could have imagined that this management team would lead the company for nearly 50 years into the late 90s, all of whom would remain employed until their passing.Throughout the years, three generations of Timmons have been joined by other vibrant leaders. In 2008, an independent Board of Directors was established – and today’s management, including current President and Chief Executive Officer, David J. Firstenberg, maintains its dedication to the transportation industry.We’ve certainly grown, but our guiding philosophy persists – to deliver the best possible outcome for every client, every claim, every time. It’s worked for 75 years. There’s no reason to stop now – except to celebrate!Throughout 2014, you’ll see signs of pride and celebration, from our 75th anniversary logo and icons, to articles and ads and special events that mark this major milestone. Even our website has been redesigned to be responsive to various mobile devices and more user friendly and attractive as well as continue the electronic time capsule of progress from the 1930s to today. You can find this at canalinsurance.com/history.We will share even more in our next newsletter, but for now, suffice it to say that we’re just a bit proud. And we’re grateful. We certainly wouldn’t have gotten here without our clients and business partners – so more than anything, we want to say “thank you.”

We are grateful that you have chosen to take Canal along on your business’s ride. Here’s to the next 75!

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