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Southern Trust and Arbour National Announce Partnership and Significant Investment to Support Continued Growth

by | Jul 11, 2023 | Industry News, Latest News

Shared from Business Wire. Mette Evans & Woodside Serves as Counsel to Southern Trust In its Partnership with Arbour National.

June 27, 2023

MACON, Ga.–(BUSINESS WIRE)-Southern Trust Insurance, a provider of reliable coverage across the Southeast for over 50 years, today announced the signing of a definitive agreement for a partnership with Arbour National. The significant investment will support the continued growth of Southern Trust, reinforcing its commitment to independent agents and policyholders across the Southeast.

“With Arbour’s support and access to capital, we will be able to continue growing while staying true to the principles that have guided Southern Trust for decades.”

“This is the best thing for our people. We had a great fit with the Arbour team from the beginning, and our group is thrilled about the opportunities for growth this partnership will bring,” Southern Trust CEO & President Les Cole said. “With Arbour’s support and access to capital, we will be able to continue growing while staying true to the principles that have guided Southern Trust for decades.”

As part of the agreement, Southern Trust will continue to operate independently in Macon, Ga., led by Mr. Cole, who will remain a significant shareholder and board member. Founder Billy Anderson, who started the organization 55 years ago, will also continue as a board member and shareholder ensuring continuity of the company’s unique culture. Arbour National will become the majority owner of both Southern Trust Insurance Company and Southern Specialty Underwriters, with Cole and Anderson as key partners. To support continued expansion and hiring, at closing Arbour National will contribute an additional $20 million to Southern Trust’s surplus.

“We think this is a quality company that has a lot of potential,” Arbour National Chairman Dale Jenkins said. “We believe in Les Cole and think this team can continue to prudently grow across the Southeast.” Arbour National President Connor Leonard added “we deeply respect what the Andersons built over the first 55 years and plan to continue with a similar ownership approach that invests behind the team in Macon.”

The partnership is expected to close in 2023 subject to regulatory approval. The sellers were represented by PhiloSmith and Mette, Evans & Woodside, while the buyers were represented by WyrickRobbins and ArentFox Schiff.

About Southern Trust Insurance: Southern Trust Insurance Company has offered a wide array of competitively priced Property and Casualty Insurance products for independent agents for over fifty years. Southern Trust currently offers homeowners, auto, and a variety of business insurance products in Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. The company has a strong history of growth and profitability, maintaining an A.M. Best rating of “A-Excellent” for over thirty years. For more information, please visit

About Southern Specialty Underwriters: Southern Specialty Underwriters is a wholesale outlet of specialized coverage for personal and business insurance options. SSU provides insurance agents and brokers access to a nationwide wholesale insurance outlet of specialized commercial and personal insurance program. For more information, please visit

About Arbour National: Arbour National is dedicated to the long-term ownership of specialty Property & Casualty insurance companies led by extraordinary teams. Based in Raleigh, NC, Arbour is a privately held insurance holding company with a multidisciplinary team that has experience in insurance, entrepreneurship and investing. Arbour’s goal is to partner with proven underwriters in diverse specialty segments, creating an environment where leadership teams have the resources and support of a larger group while maintaining the autonomy and ownership culture of an independent company.

Connor Leonard
Arbour National
(919) 653-7499