Tampa Bay AAA Auto Club South to combine with its Midwest counterpart

Jun 8, 2011

The following article was published in the St. Petersburg Times on June 8, 2011:

AAA Autoclub South to Combine with is Midwest Counterpart

By Ivan Penn

Tampa Bay area AAA Auto Club South plans to combine its operations with the nonprofit’s Midwest counterpart, enabling it to expand services including auto and homeowners insurance policies.

If approved by government regulators and the national AAA Auto Club, the combined operation will include 7,700 employees and 8.4 million members — making it the second largest club behind Auto Club enterprises in Southern California, which has 10.8 million members.

The Midwest operation, the Auto Club Group, based in Dearborn, Mich., specializes in insurance, while the Tampa-based AAA Auto Club South brings its relationships and expertise in travel and vacationing. The new relationship also would aid in expansion of such services as auto repair, offered in Atlanta.

“Over the long run it will definitely result in enhancing our services, expanding our services, perhaps having the capital to do things more quickly,” said Kevin Bakewell, senior vice president for AAA Auto Club South.

The combined club would become effective Oct. 1.

AAA Auto Club South is a relatively small player in Florida’s homeowner’s insurance market, but the number of policies has doubled over the last 12 months from 14,000 to 28,000.

For now, AAA offers the policies only as a package with an auto policy. But the addition of the Midwest club, with its expertise in insurance, combined with a larger operation, would enable the merged clubs to consider a broader range of insurance options.

In addition to the homeowner and auto insurance package, AAA Auto Club South writes about 350,000 other auto, life, home and flood policies, which includes 134,000 policies it writes as an agent for Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-run insurer that dominates the homeowners insurance market in Florida.

Both AAA operations began informing employees and former employees about combining the operations in a letter from the presidents and chief executives over the last few weeks.

John A. Tomlin, chief executive of Auto Club South, and Charles H. Podowski, chief executive of the Auto Club Group, noted in their letter that “for most employees, your day-to-day responsibilities will continue as they do today.”

The combined club will maintain both headquarters in Tampa and Dearborn, Bakewell said.

Find this article here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/aaa-auto-club-south-to-merge-with-its-midwest-counterpart/1174090