Obituary Billy Earl Hibbs

Billy Earl Hibbs, founder of Tyler, Texas-based Heartland Security Insurance Group, died from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on Nov. 5. Hibbs, who was born in Quitman, Texas, in 1938, moved to Tyler in the 1960s and eventually bought the Leonard H. Bruck Insurance Agency. Hibbs grew the small business with three employees into one of the largest insurance holding companies in the Southwest with 240 employees and six operating divisions.

Operating entities include the retail insurance agency known as Hibbs-Hallmark & Company; two third-party administrators, Claims Administrative Services and CCSI, a premium finance company; Premium Convenience Services; wholesale broker and underwriter Patriot National Underwriters; and Old Glory Insurance Company,the first property/cas-ualty insurance company domiciled in Tyler.

Heartland Security entities presently pay the claims for almost half the school districts in Texas. Heartland is also one of the nation’s largest providers of claims services to the federal government. Billy Hibbs loved his work and the people who made his companies a success. He was very thankful to have been associated with so many outstanding insurance professionals during his 45-year career.

In 1981, the Texas Legislature recognized Hibbs for his performance in handling the John Tyler High School fire loss. In 1990, he led the passage of a bond proposal for upgrades to the City of Tyler’s infrastructure. As president of the East Texas Symphony Association, Hibbs worked to relocate performances to the Cowan Center at U.T. Tyler. As president of the Tyler Civic Theatre, he oversaw construction of the new Braithwaite Theatre, and the opening of the Rogers Children’s Theatre. He also served as president of the Tyler Rotary Club, was a member of the Henry Bell Masonic Lodge, and served on many other Boards and organizations. He was a member and past trustee of Marvin United Methodist Church.

In 2004, Junior Achievement inducted Hibbs into their “Business Hall of Fame.” Also in 2004, the University of Texas at Tyler made Hibbs a member of their honor business fraternity, Beta Gamma Sigma. In 2005, Hibbs-Hallmark & Company was honored with the Better Business Bureau’s “Torch Award” for providing exemplary marketplace ethics over the years, and was the featured business at the Martin Luther King awards ceremony in Tyler. Most recently, the Tyler Rotary Club honored him by naming all $1,000 donors to the Tyler Rotary Foundation as “Billy Hibbs Fellows.”

In 1999, Hibbs formed the Hibbs Family Foundation, which works with many non-profit organizations.

“My father knew he was very blessed,” said his son, Billy E. Hibbs, Jr. who succeeded him in the business. “And through his life he was able to impact countless others. From the sale of insurance products and services that helped others recover, to the employment and economic opportunity he offered to his associates, and to the many lives who are touched by his Foundation, he left the world a better place.”

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