Midland, Texas, was founded in the late 1800s with the discovery of oil in the Permian Basin, and Mims & Smith Insurance Associates, a division of MHBT, has been growing along with the oil and natural gas drilling industry since its founding in 1922. “Our primary focus is serving the risk management and insurance needs of oil and gas lease operators and service companies,” President Brenda Smith says. “About 65 percent of our commercial business is directly oil-related.
“The most important thing is to be able to explain to our clients what the risks are and how we can address them through risk management, including insurance solutions,” Smith stresses, “We dedicate time and resources to educate our staff to research and understand coverages and how they will apply uniquely to each individual client’s operations. This requires a high level of training that Mims & Smith obtains for its employees by supporting their efforts to become Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC) or Certified Risk Managers (CRM).”
Partnering with great insurance companies and underwriters is an important service that Mims & Smith provides for its customers. “The oilfield is very specialized, so not every insurance company understands the unique exposures in the oil field,” Smith declares. “We have eight to 10 key insurance companies and brokers with specialized energy programs, plus numerous other partners that complement these programs.”
She estimates more than 85 percent of the insurance agency’s business in the Permian Basin is commercial property and casualty, with the balance being personal lines or employee benefits coverage. Approximately 98 percent of revenue is from repeat customers.
Same Client Commitments
Generational changes have been felt at Mims & Smith. The independent insurance agency was founded by Percy Mims and Ray Hyatt, and the agency’s name has changed based on the partner working with a member of the Mims family. James Mims, who now is 91 and retired from the company, was in the second generation.
“My daddy died while I was overseas during World War II, and we were in combat in the Philippines,” Mims recalls. After taking care of family matters during the month of July 1945, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. “All bets were off then, so I went to the East Coast and was soon discharged,” Mims remembers.
With no background in the family business but with the help of an experienced insurance man, Eddie Stephens, Mims trained extensively in the insurance business and joined the agency with Stephens. They remained partners for the next 38 years.
It was after World War II that the oil business really took off in Midland. “When the oil business burst wide-open, people were coming here from everywhere, and Midland began to change character,” Mims says.
Mims’ son, David, worked with him in the agency and took over when James retired in 1998. David gave Smith the opportunity to buy into the agency in 1999, and the two worked as partners until David’s death in 2011. Now Mims & Smith has merged with MHBT Inc., a Dallas-based insurance firm with four other offices and 350 employees, and Midland-based Brooks Financial, which provides expertise in health and financial benefits. “With MHBT and Brooks, we have a greater opportunity to reach the oil companies than we ever did before,” Smith notes.“Our goal is just to carry on the great legacy of everything that the Mims family provided and that they wanted for our clients and our reputation here,” Smith concludes. “It’s all about relationships with our clients. That’s why we keep the name Mims & Smith, because that name is so important in our community. We’ve been here nearly 100 years, and we want to celebrate 100 years as Mims & Smith to honor those that came before us.”