Growing up in a family of radio broadcasters, it was understood that Matthew Bryan would at least give it a try. Though his personality and voice were fit for it, his entrepreneurial spirit couldn’t sit still. After earning his degree from East Tennessee State University in banking and finance, Matthew went to work for First Tennessee Bank and Merrill Lynch before finding his home base at Hitson, Crum & Blazer Insurance. His fervor for service means delivering fair and competitive prices and maintaining relationships with every client.
Matthew married his wife, Alena, in 2005. They have two young children, Rhodes and Marley. Together they love traveling, tailgating and growing deep roots in East Tennessee.
Founder and Licensed Agent (Retired)
Now retired, Gary Hitson had a handful of rules that kept clients a priority, and it started with a simple one: return phone calls the same day. The second rule was to keep your appointments and always be on time. The rules may be old-fashioned, but they worked, even in this modern world.
Though Gary is a third-generation insurance agent, he built Hitson, Crum & Blazer Insurance on his own after watching his grandfather and father succeed in national agencies. After spending one year in a national agency himself, Gary says “the light bulb went off,” and he decided to start his own business and go back to the basics of meeting the individual needs of each client and doing it with impeccable service.
Gary’s vision and zeal carried him from selling non-standard auto and life insurance out of his home to establishing a hometown business that’s grown steadily since 1978.
Personal Lines Manager
When Hitson, Crum & Blazer Insurance was in its earliest stage, Michele Self was there to do the groundwork. She started at Hitson, Crum & Blazer Insurance more than twenty years ago as a customer service representative and was licensed the following year. Today she specializes in personal lines of insurance and believes in every product she sells. Her knowledge and passion for the business have fueled a steady stream of referrals, a compliment like none other.
Michele was born and raised in Indiana but moved to Blount County as a teenager. Though she came “kicking and screaming,” she quickly fell in love with the area and vowed never to leave. Michele has two adult children; daughter Dana and her husband Andy Basler and son Darren who all live in Chattanooga.
Personal Lines Account Representative
As a Blount County native, Caitlin Cook is happy and proud to help clients in her hometown. From answering accounting questions and changing policies, Caitlin says she’s the “catch-all” person, a licensed agent who can help clients with their insurance needs large and small.
Caitlin married her William Blount High School sweetheart, Adam, and they have two young daughters, Ella and Emma. In true East Tennessee spirit, they love spending time in the Great Smoky Mountains and rooting for the Vols.
Penny joined Hitson, Crum & Blazer Insurance in early September of 2017. She is originally from Vermont and moved to Tennessee in 2015. As a licensed agent with over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, Penny really enjoys working with the public and finding solutions for their insurance needs. She is dedicated and always willing to make that extra step in taking care of her customers.
In her spare time Penny enjoys spending time with her son, riding her motorcycle and discovering new things in Tennessee.
Commercial Account Manager
Tillie joined Hitson, Crum & Blazer Insurance in February 2016 as a commercial account manager, but her experience in insurance goes back to when, at 7 years old, she learned how to answer the phones at her father’s company. Tillie went on to build a career in the insurance industry and still enjoys the daily challenge of doing the best job possible for each and every client.
Tillie and her husband, Ron, are Dollywood regulars for its Southern gospel music concerts. They have two daughters, a granddaughter, and a grandson.
Originally from Columbia, Mississippi, Virginia has called Knoxville home since the early 1970s, when she started her career in insurance. In 1995 she moved to Hitson, Crum & Blazer Insurance and continued to enjoy the challenge of balancing numbers. Virginia is proud of the professional longevity she has in the area and enjoys working for a company that provides the best price and fit for each client.
Virginia also enjoys traveling overseas when possible, reading, and playing Bridge. She has one daughter, a son-in-law, and six grandchildren, all in California.
Personal Lines Account Manager
Betty was born and raised in Blount County and has worked in the insurance industry for the entirety of her professional career, specifically at Hitson, Crum & Blazer Insurance since 1993. Betty’s work ethic is simple - do it right the first time and treat people how she’d like to be treated, two methods that have stood the test of time. She is dedicated to helping clients with whatever needs arise.
Betty and her husband Steven have a son and a daughter, along with three granddogs, whom she enjoys taking for walks.
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