As the head of Fort Lauderdale-based Triton Insurance Group, B.J. Michaud wasn’t thinking about moving from Southeast Florida to Middle Tennessee. But that changed after an unrelated visit to the area.
Hundreds of thousands of people have relocated to Nashville in the last decade or so, but your move here wasn’t so typical. How did you land in Williamson County?
B.J. Michaud: About three years ago my wife, Kimberly, and I retired a horse that we owned to Glasgow, Kentucky. We visited Nashville and, while we were downtown at The Diner, our waiter told us to check out Franklin. We did and said, ‘We’re done!’ It reminded me of Bucks County, Pennsylvania where I spent the first 38 years of my life. It was like home but without six months of winter.
Triton Insurance is in the business of risk management. But wasn’t it risky opening a branch where you had few connections?
BJ: Triton has eight offices in Florida and now we have this one in Tennessee. My business partner, Mike Zubero, and I are also looking at neighboring states. Our national carrier partners do not write property in Florida, so moving here has helped facilitate Triton’s growth. We’re a leading provider of home, auto, and business insurance and we represent close to 50 carriers, from many of the large national brands to regional companies. But insurance is a relationship business. Triton was built on the sidelines of athletic fields and in car lines at schools. Our office is in Leipers Fork across from Fox & Locke in the United Country Real Estate building. We work for our friends and neighbors; we are not captive to one carrier and we are continually hunting for the best coverage options for our clients.
You’ve already mentioned horses and Triton also specializes in equine insurance. Coincidence?
BJ: Not at all. We own quarter horses and, growing up in Bucks County, horses were always part of life. Just as they are in Florida and Tennessee. I’ve never been a dedicated rider; all I do is hold on. Kimberly, on the other hand, was a barrel racer as a child and has always been a rider. Equine insurance is not just for valuable show or racehorses. Liability insurance is necessary for
boarding or for whenever anyone is on your property. And vet bills, especially for illness or surgery, can be staggering. We know this from personal experience.
On a personal note, how has the move here been for the Michaud family?
BJ: I always had eyes on getting back to that style of rural living where neighbors helped their neighbors, and this community has turned out to be even greater than it was in my mind. We moved our horses into the barn last June and we moved into our house three days before Thanksgiving. From where we live it’s about 15 minutes from our office in Leiper’s Fork or into town. Being here has exceeded our expectations. We are home.
"I always had eyes on getting back to that style of rural living where neighbors helped their neighbors, and this community has turned out to be even greater than it was in my mind."