About Whitacre McNamara Insurance Services, LLC
Our Business Philosophy
The Whitacre McNamara Insurance Agency was started in 1932 by Mr. J.A. “Duke” Nuckolls and Mr. Orville Smith and was known for years as Smith-Nuckolls Insurance. Shortly after World War II, the partners split up and the agency became J.A. Nuckolls Insurance and was located in a building on the south side of Decatur’s Central Park. In 1962, the business had grown to the point that Duke needed a partner and William D. “Bill” Whitacre joined the agency. Bill was a Millikin University graduate and had been in the insurance business since the end of World War II working for Crum Forster Insurance Group and was Regional Manager at the time he joined Nuckolls. Duke and Bill were great friends and spent time hunting, fishing and skeet shooting. They often went to Canada fishing and the Dakotas for pheasant hunting. Both were members of the Decatur Gun Club and Southside Country Club.
In 1977, Duke retired and in 1978 current owner, Don Whitacre, joined the agency after having been Assistant Vice President of Hoffman Mortgage Company. His first job in the agency was answering phones and typing insurance policies. (some insurers had computers to print and bill policies but many did not, so we had to type the three and four-part carbon insurance policies) If you don’t know what carbon paper is, check here. Once Don was proficient at typing policies they let him rate auto and home insurance. Once again, there were no computers and rating was done by using a four or five-inch thick manual and a calculator. It could take all morning to rate one auto and home package.
In 1985, we purchased our first computer, an IBM-AT, which had a 20 megabite hard drive and was one of the first small computers sold for business use. The hard drive would crash at least once a year and compared to today’s computers, it was very slow. They started doing the bookkeeping and billing with it and a few years later used it for rating policies. Today, there are computers, scanners and printers all over the office and most of the rating and issuing of insurance policies, personal and commercial is done over the Internet. Almost all of the functions in 1978 are now performed faster, easier and with a higher degree of accuracy.
Over the years, many great insurance agents have joined the agency, including Ken File, Bob Smith (Orville’s son), Bill Mattson, Ralph Jostes and Norma Karloski. Duke Nuckolls passed away in 1987 after a short illness and Bill Whitacre passed away unexpectedly in 1991.
In 1997, the agency merged with the McNamara Insurance Agency; which was owned by Mike and Martha McNamara and formed the Whitacre McNamara Insurance Agency. Although “Big” Mike McNamara retired, Martha continued in the business until 2010 when she also retired.
Today, the agency has one of the best insurance teams in the area, including Brenda Workman, a 30+ year veteran of insurance, Dave Tarter, with 14 years and our new-comer, Cathy Ater who worked many years for Federal Kemper in Decatur.