THE ASHLEYS & INSURANCE: A HISTORY
The name Ashley has been synonymous with insurance services in Roane County for more than half a century.
In 1963, Gene M. Ashley became a licensed insurance agent interested in protecting clients, colleagues, friends, and family. He was appointed as a principal agent representing Mutual Fire Insurance Company of West Virginia out of Clarksburg. Gene opened and operated a small agency out of his home in Amma, WV where he helped provide coverage to people in rural areas of Roane County and West Virginia. He enjoyed the business, but after only a few years, he found other areas that peaked his interest as a business investor. After just four years in operation, Gene gave his book of business to Ross Conley, who owned and operated an independent insurance agency in Spencer at the time.
Ever the entrepreneur, Gene Ashley and his uncle, Harry Carper, opened a shoe store, aptly named C&A Shoes after the Carper & Ashley connection. This shoe store was located in the old Phil D. Phillips Rexall Drugstore Building at 223 Main Street in Spencer. Retail stores in downtown Spencer were abundant at the time, and C&A Shoes was a great compliment to O.J. Morrisons, G.C. Murphys, Spencer Department Store, The Toggery Shop, H&P Stores, and others. C&A Shoes remained open until 1988.
In 1975, Gene’s son Bob Ashley joined Ross Conley’s team after graduating from Marshall University. Bob enjoyed selling and servicing many wonderful clients in the area, and loved working under the guidance of Mr. Conley, who was an insurance legend of this area. Today, Bob still loves to tell great, funny stories of his time with Ross.
Bob took a short five-year hiatus from the insurance industry to work as Advertising Manager for Hardmans Supply where he would meet his wife Anita. In 1983, Bob left Hardmans and started Ashley Insurance Agency from scratch as a sole proprietorship with no clients. He and Anita were able to purchase the old Phil D. Phillips Drugstore building in 1988, the same location where C&A Shoes was located. Bob & Anita renovated the space to serve as an insurance agency downstairs and a law practice upstairs.
Through hard work, dedication, and a "service above all else" attitude, Bob grew the business by leaps and bounds. He built and maintained long-term relationships with many clients, and is proud to provide peace of mind to those who needed it. Bob signed a contract with Erie Insurance in 1983, which he was happy to establish as the agency’s preferred carrier. He did so because of the great rates and great service Erie provides, which is still true today. Over the years, Bob has been recognized with many honors in the industry and from his carriers. He earned seventeen consecutive Founders Awards from Erie and was recognized as the 2017 recipient of the Earle S. Dillard West Virginia Independent Agent of the Year.
Bob also served for 30 years in the West Virginia Legislature where he championed, sponsored, and co-sponsored many important laws and regulations protecting insurance consumers. In the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions, he served with a bright young Delegate from Kanawha County who would eventually become his daughter-in-law, Suzette Raines Ashley.
In 2017, Suzette married Bob’s oldest son, Ben Ashley, and together they have one daughter, Alaina. In December 2017, more than 50 years after Gene Ashley opened his Amma agency, Suzette became an insurance agent and joined Ashley Insurance Agency. Ben joined the agency at that time in an advisory role as Marketing Director.
In 2020 after Ben became licensed agent in Property, Casualty, Life, Accident & Sickness, Bob agreed to sell his ownership of Ashley Insurance Agency to his son and daughter-in-law. Today Ben and Suzette are managing members of Ashley Insurance Agency LLC.
Even as third-generation insurance agents, the same goals that Ashley Insurance Agency began with years ago still ring true: we are dedicated to providing our clients with exceptional service and great pricing to meet individual insurance needs.
We look forward to building more history with you!
GENE M. ASHLEY
Insurance Agent, Entrepreneur
223 MAIN ST., SPENCER, WV
Ashley Insurance Agency Location
Founder - Ashley Insurance Agency
BEN, SUZETTE & ALAINA ASHLEY
Owners - Ashley Insurance Agency