YOUR BUSINESS AUTHORITY

Springfield, MO

The First Choice Insurance Agency office within the 2760 S. Kansas Expressway Bank of Missouri branch is no longer operational.
SBJ photo by GEOFF PICKLE
The First Choice Insurance Agency office within the 2760 S. Kansas Expressway Bank of Missouri branch is no longer operational.

First Choice Insurance office closes after 6 months

Posted online

Poplar Bluff-based First Choice Insurance Agency closed its Springfield office this summer after less than six months in operation.

The office that opened Jan. 3 at 2760 S. Kansas Expressway, inside The Bank of Missouri, closed in late June, said Steve Baratta, former vice president of employee benefits for First Choice, who launched the location.

“It was a complete surprise that after a short, six-month period, they decided to close the office when, in fact, my network development was actually producing results,” Baratta said.

First Choice Insurance President Steve Phillips disputed the claims, saying the Springfield office is not closed and that employees still staffed it. He declined to say who managed it or the number of employees. Phillips said Baratta was terminated, but declined to say why.

The Springfield office phone for First Choice Insurance is no longer operational.

Springfield Business Journal’s visit to the branch showed no First Choice Insurance signage or visible operations. Bank of Missouri employees at the branch said the First Choice office was no longer open, and that the closest location was in Poplar Bluff.

Baratta said he stopped working at the office because “in closing the office, there was no longer an employment opportunity.” He said he was recruited from south Florida for the First Choice job, and is now seeking other employment opportunities in Springfield.

First Choice — a sister company to The Bank of Missouri — offers business and individual insurance coverage, including group health, property and casualty, and personal lines, such as home and auto insurance. Its website lists offices in Poplar Bluff, Cape Girardeau, Caruthersville, Columbia and Perryville.

The website indicates the company continues to serve the Springfield area, and Phillips said the company is still conducting business in the Queen City and Branson markets.

Phillips started First Choice in 1989 while working as a welder on Corvette mufflers in Dexter, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

Comments

No comments on this story |
Please log in to add your comment
Editors' Pick

Robotics in Waiting: OTC seeks pole position as advanced manufacturing educator

The move would come with a new property tax levied on residents of regional school districts.

Most Read
SBJ Live logo
MOST-WATCHED VIDEOS
Training Bootcamp: Training Needs Assessment

All workplace problems have root causes. When will training be the solution? Sherry Coker, OTC Center for Workforce Development business development director, provides you the framework of a training needs assessment, which will uncover the root causes of a workplace problem and help you determine if training is the solution. A download is available at workforce.otc.edu/bootcamp with a complete outline for an effective training needs assessment. This is sponsored content. Duration: 2:29

Don’t Micro-Manage Are you guilty of micromanaging your employees? “If we’re going to require them to be that educated when they come to work for us, should we not let them do their job? They should know so much …
Seek Wisdom from Many “My whole life goal is to change the world, one connection at a time,” says Keisha Mabry. Mabry, who is an author, speaker, and social entrepreneur, says she had a “quarter-life crisis” and …
DNA Uncovers Best Version of You A simple swab of the inside of your cheek can lead to optimizing your nutrition and fitness program, personal medication profile, in addition to your ancestry. According to Austin O’Reilly, owner …
Booked - Go Back to the Basics “You’ve gotta go back to the basics,” says Larry Peterson, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Springfield Missouri. Peterson says he gains leadership advice from General Ulysses S. …