The Man We Miss Most at Hibbs Insurance Agency
As Father’s Day approaches, it’s hard not to think about Ernest Ray Hibbs, beloved father, grandfather, and founder of Hibbs Insurance Agency. Known simply as “Ray,” he was humble and kind. He taught Sunday School at Lone Oak Baptist Church for 31 years and helped struggling families whenever possible. Ray also loved his family dearly and strove to be the best possible provider for his wife and children.
That love and sense of duty is the reason why Hibbs Insurance exists. Ray started the business to help make a better life for his family.
“He was just your average daddy and average husband, doing extraordinary things for his family,” Ray’s son, Mike, says.
Ray established Hibbs Insurance in 1960 while working full-time as a lab chemist for the Union Carbide Corporation. He already had a decent understanding of the insurance business because he had worked for a State Farm Insurance agent during college. At the time, selling coverage again seemed like a natural way to earn extra money for his family. Yet, Ray didn’t want to find another job with an insurance company. So instead, he began Hibbs Insurance as an independent agency.
“He always thought and always said that being an independent insurance agent, representing several companies instead of one, gave his clients and his policyholders different ways of looking at things—as far as coverages and cost,” Mike remembers.
Ray spent his days at Union Carbide and his nights and weekends with Hibbs Insurance, working long hours to give his family a good life. He did this for 17 years. Then, in 1977, Ray took early retirement from Union Carbide and devoted himself full-time to the insurance business.
He decided he would rather spend time with clients than with lab chemicals. He knew he could make a difference in people’s lives by helping them protect their families and homes.
“It wasn’t just a career move,” Mike says. “It was more of a desire to help people.”
By the 1980s, Ray had created a trusted business. It had become an agency where clients could have their choice of policies, struggling families could find help paying premiums, and business decisions reflected Christ-like love and compassion. That’s the legacy that Ray’s son, Mike, wanted to strengthen when he joined full-time in 1983.
Mike struggled for the next year and a half. He and his wife pinched many a penny as they cared for their children, Jason and Jennifer. Ray offered to help his son repeatedly during that period. But, Mike always refused—because his dad taught him the importance of making his own way in the world.
By 1993, Mike had built up his clientele enough to purchase Hibbs Insurance from his father.
Ray passed away on August 17, 2011, but he left a permanent mark on Hibbs Insurance, its clients, and its agents. Now, Mike’s two children, Jason and Jennifer, have also joined the business. They help Mike continue the work his father started—serving the community with humility and grace.
They strive to make the Hibbs Difference for each customer, just like Ray taught them.