Anthony DuBose Goes Coastal
Banking and insurance will be essential to the growth of the Florida Panhandle, and helping make those available for that growth is Anthony DuBose.Anthony DuBose Goes CoastalJackson County native emerges as leader in Bay
Banking and insurance will be essential to the growth of the Florida Panhandle, and helping make those available for that growth is Anthony DuBose.
DuBose, 35, president-elect of the Panama City Beaches Chamber of Commerce, comes from a family of bankers.
“I’m in insurance, but I’m also on the board of Coastal Community Bank and I plan to be more involved on the bank side in the future,” he says. “That means I’ll be a fourth-generation banker. I had two great-grandfathers on my mother’s side who were bankers in Troy and Andalusia, Ala. My mother’s father established a bank in Marianna, and my father started his banking career there working for him.”
His father, Terry DuBose, sold the First Bank of Marianna to SouthTrust in 1987, giving the Birmingham-based corporation a Florida toehold. SouthTrust then proceeded to establish branches throughout the Panhandle.
Old Charter Provides Growth Platform
In March 2002, Terry DuBose, along with a group of investors, acquired Apalachicola State Bank with plans to add branches and turn it into a regional bank. Coastal Community Bank was born and, along with it, Coastal Community Insurance.
“It’s easier in today’s environment to acquire a bank than to try to start one from scratch and make it profitable,” Dubose says. “The Apalachicola State Bank charter gave us something to build on, and the fact that it is the oldest bank charter in Florida means a lot to my dad.”
Since 2002, Coastal Community Bank has added branches in Panama City Beach, St. Andrews, Lynn Haven and Southport. A second Panama City Beach location, not far from Bay Point, is being developed.
DuBose intends that Coastal Community Insurance succeed in a footprint coinciding with that of the bank.
Ironically, hurricanes helped his business.
“I got into the insurance business just as the market was hardening due to hurricanes,” DuBose says. “It didn’t really matter if you were the biggest agency in town or the smallest, there were so few companies willing to write business in Florida that they dealt with me just like they did the big guys. The playing field had been leveled by storms.
“I don’t like to reinvent the wheel, and there are agencies I looked at when we got started,” he says. “Fisher-Brown comes to mind. They cover Pensacola to Panama City better than any other agency. I’d like to use their model and become the strongest, most reputable agency in the heart of the Panhandle of Florida, from Apalachicola to Destin.”
DuBose finds that the availability and cost of insurance have improved in Florida in the last year, but says the state remains highly vulnerable to a major storm.
As Coastal Community Insurance was coming on line, so, too, was the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the homeowners’ insurance safety net created by the Legislature in 2002 to offer property coverage to Floridians without private insurance options.
“If we get a Katrina in Florida and Citizens experiences billions in losses, policyholders across the state are going to be hit with huge assessments,” DuBose says. “People don’t understand the crisis we would have on our hands. Given the potential for storms, we’ve written only a limited amount of condo business. Our focus is on people who live and work here year-round.”
Looking Ahead with Optimism
The Panama City Beaches Chamber of Commerce, Dubose says, is an organization that targets wallets more than payrolls.
“Economic development is important, but we deal primarily with resorts and restaurants and the tourist experience,” he says. “That’s our lifeblood. Our beaches area is evolving and so are travel patterns. We need to be adaptable. We need to constantly revisit our vision and make sure that we have appropriate goals.”
DuBose says that the natural resources of the Panhandle are a key economic factor in its future.
“Our natural resources, 18 miles of beaches, Pier Park, the new airport, the I-10 connector on its way – I can’t imagine a better place to live,” he says. “We have so much to offer that I believe the Panhandle will pull out of the economic downturn more quickly than many other areas."