Loretta Bailey Insurance Agency – Joplin

The spring of 2011 was the worst possible time to be a Joplin insurance agent.

brick building with striped awning and blue sign reading AllstateLoretta Bailey, owner of the Loretta Bailey Insurance Agency, had much more to cope with than a tsunami of claims. The roof of her duplex in nearby Duquesne had been ripped off and many of her possessions scattered; she underwent surgery; and she had lost her satellite office and one very precious memento: the Christmas stocking her son, an Army Afghanistan veteran, had since he was three months old. He’d also lost his father just the week before.

“The first few months, we did nothing but turn in claims,” Bailey says.

She doesn’t remember taking a day off until July. “When the dust had settled, I thought, ‘Well, I would like to rebuild that office.’ ”

Bailey attended an event sponsored by the Joplin Chamber where SBTDC staff presented tips on reviving or improving a business, writing post-disaster business plans and securing SBA loans. With the help of Lisa Robinson, SBTDC director, and her team, Bailey rewrote her business plan, whipped an SBA application into shape, revised her return on investment figures and determined how much money she could realistically afford to spend. Shawn Wininger, SBTDC business counselor and a Joplin native, even went with her to the bank, Bailey says. “By Monday I had a loan!”

Bailey is currently perfecting her plan and working on financing for a second office on 20th Street with Wininger. And the silver lining doesn’t stop there.

A man she dated 25 years ago whose policy she held contacted her after the tornado to see if she was okay. “And for some reason he decided to come talk to me … we are probably getting married.”

No word on that stocking.

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