Al Adams, insurance entrepreneur, says he does not much like working in a bank environment.
"I have a real intolerance for bureaucracy," he said.
Mr. Adams sold an insurance agency he co-owned to CNB Bancshares, Evansville, Ind., in 1994, and then remained as chief executive officer of Citizen Insurance until last year.
After his contract with the bank expired, Mr. Adams stepped down so he could go back to doing what he enjoys most-running his own show. In May he and a partner bought Corpening Insurance Center Inc., a small agency based in High Point, N.C.
The lesson he learned from his bank experience, he said, is that bank executives and entrepreneurs need to carefully establish the details of each party's responsibilities before stepping to the altar.
As the number of pairings between banks and independent insurance agencies continues to grow, Mr. Adams' experience may serve as a cautionary tale about the challenges of bringing disparate business cultures together.
Once he joined the bank, Mr. Adams said that he found himself spending more time in meetings with bank leadership than overseeing his agents. And despite bankers' familiarity with regulators, he said CNB was unprepared for the additional scrutiny that came with ownership of the agency.
"The bank did not understand the regulatory environment that we were in as an insurance agency," Mr. Adams said. "And we didn't understand what it meant to be part of a bank."
And Roger Forystek, the new chief executive officer of Citizens Insurance, said Mr. Adams may have been too independent to work for a bank. Mr. Forystek called him a great salesman, and praised the freewheeling entrepreneurial qualities that were the foundation of Mr. Adams' success. But those same qualities doomed him in the bank environment, Mr. Forystek said.
Entrepreneurs like Mr. Adams usually do not want to deal with administrative details, Mr. Forystek observed. "A lot of entrepreneurs don't have the patience necessary."