William J. (Bill) Brannon
|Title||President and Chief Executive Officer|
|Telephone||Direct: (336) 553-0374|
|Years in Insurance||50+|
|Responsibilities||General management, sales and marketing|
Meet Bill Brannon
Bill Brannon was born November 3, 1943, in Memphis, Tennessee. His father was a shopkeeper and local businessman; his mother was a homemaker, and raised championship dogs on the side. Bill showed an early aptitude for business: in high school, he was selected the Junior Achievement Executive of the Year. His team produced and recorded a one-hour radio show, with Bill selling advertising time to local enterprises. After high school, Bill worked a variety of sales jobs while attending Memphis State University. It was during this time that his first two children were born, Charles in 1964, and Lori in 1966. In the spring of 1967, while working as a group representative with General American, Bill Brannon moved to Greensboro. “I remember my first visit to Greensboro: I was picked up at the airport and driven to Greensboro via Friendly Avenue. The houses were beautiful, the dogwoods in bloom, and even the street name seemed to welcome me,” he recollects. “I still think of Greensboro as that kind of city—warm and beautiful.”
It was in Greensboro that his other two children came along: Michael in 1968, and Wendy in 1970. Bill continued to work at General American, where he won several awards and promotions for outstanding sales and organization. During this time, he thought about the idea of perhaps opening his own business; he rapidly developed those ideas in 1980 when, as he put it, “I basically found myself out of a job when [General American] closed the Greensboro office to locate in Charlotte, and I didn't want to go.”
He created a company known as Combined Consultants Service, which later became Carolina Consulting Service, Inc. (C.C.S.) “My motivations were simply to survive, and hopefully to prosper,” Bill says. At that time the company had just two employees. In the beginning, Bill's efforts were directed toward personal production. The firm did well, obtaining a number of group clients, many of whom still regard Bill as their group consultant or broker.
Gradually, however, the firm shifted toward wholesale activities—working through brokers on an overwrite basis. For more than a decade now, the wholesale distribution system has been Group U.S.’s exclusive marketing approach.
Today, with projected premiums of $10 million annually, the future looks bright. “We provide an opportunity for the brokers we work with to deliver a professionally prepared benefits package—without a lot of downtime in the office and without adding to their overhead by hiring extra support staff,” Bill states. “The net result is more dollars per hour for our brokers, better benefit arrangements for their clients, reduced marketing expense for our carriers and financial reward to us based on the value we add—everyone wins.” Bill sums up the firm's commitment to quality service: “Group U.S. is all you need to know about group insurance. We are your One-Stop-Benefits-Shop.”