BB&T Corp. last week announced another deal to buy an insurance agency and said it's hungry for more.

The Winston-Salem, N.C., banking company said Blue Ridge Burke Insurance Agency Inc. would become its 34th insurance agency acquisition when the deal closes by late March.

More importantly, the agency would be the first in BB&T's headquarters city.

"We had courted them for years, and we finally snagged them," said Bronna B. Greer, insurance merger and acquisition manager at BB&T Insurance Services in Raleigh, N.C.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But Blue Ridge Burke, founded in 1935, would keep its name and all 40 employees in Winston-Salem and Mount Airy offices.

The president of Blue Ridge Burke, David M. Pruett, would take the new post of chief administrative officer to oversee BB&T's day-to-day insurance operations.

"We have reorganized due to our hectic acquisition schedule that we've set for ourselves," Ms. Greer said.

She said Mr. Pruett would become the right-hand man of BB&T Insurance president H. Wade Reece. That would give Mr. Reece room to focus on additional deals, she said, and another one may be announced within the month.

Mr. Pruett, a native of Mount Airy, said his biggest challenge will be helping oversee an agency that is now ranked as 16th-largest in the country and biggest in the Carolinas.

BB&T has 25 offices in North Carolina, three in South Carolina, and six in Virginia. A ranking by Business Insurance magazine said its 1997 revenues were more than $65 million.

Mr. Pruett may worry about managing such a large organization, but he's not anxious about any cultural problems in going to work for a bank.

"BB&T's success in insurance is because they are running it like an insurance agency," he said.

Gail Theard, Blue Ridge Burke's commercial lines manager, would fill Mr. Pruett's post once the deal closes.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.