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To say Mount Dora’s Stephanie Richardson has a heart for business is an understatement. After spending two decades of her career helping save lives in the operating rooms of Lake County, Richardson is making the move next week to help protect the lives of her neighbors throughout the Golden Triangle.
As the Sunshine State begins to find its way through these post-pandemic days, the long-time Waterman Florida Hospital surgical assistant is launching a new career spurred on by COVID-19 and its impact on the families of Central Florida. This Monday, Richardson and her staff will be opening Brightway, The Blue Lake Agency insurance office in Mount Dora.
“So many people lost their lives due to the deadly virus, it has been life-changing for everyone in the medical industry,” Richardson said. “I recall one young mother who came in unable to breathe, like so many who were rushed into the hospital. After several days of fighting, she succumbed to the illness. She left behind very young children and there was no insurance to handle the expenses. They were just starting out and these children were now without a mother and a family left to wonder what happens next.”
Wanting to work in the medical field ever since she was a little girl, Richardson eventually made the decision to work in life insurance. “It truly had my heart,” Richardson added. “My grandmother worked in nursing and I wanted to be just like her; helping people however she could. But then, helping others protect those closest to them just became a mission.” Recently, Richardson decided to expand on her business and offer all property and casualty insurance coverage through a brand-new agency of her own, Brightway, The Blue Lake Agency.
Already partnered with long-time Lake County realty owner Jaret Whitney, Richardson’s team will be operating the company from suite space within Whitney’s Exit Realty Agency located on U.S. Highway 441. “It just made sense to put those businesses under the same roof,” Richardson added. “Working together on helping people in Lake County really makes you begin to take heart.”
For those who may doubt where Richardson’s heart lies when it comes to doing what’s right, they won’t need to look any further than the business duo’s latest adoption. “We rescued an English Bulldog named Luna. And, it just so happens she is going to need surgery,” Richardson said. “It turns out she has a heart murmur. Basically, she has a hole in her heart.” A surgery is scheduled at the University of Florida in Gainesville to repair the issue.
Richardson, a Central Florida Institute alum (’01) holds a bachelor's degree in surgical assisting. A Mount Dora resident who earned her high school diploma from Glenhaven Academy at the age of 16, Richardson was also selected as one Lake and Sumter Style’s “Business Women of Style” in 2022.
Selected to administer Brightway, The Blue Lake Agency is veteran insurance pro, Nathan Boler. With more than seven years of insurance experience in The Villages, Boler is a Tavares native with expertise in insurance coverage and customer service.
Brightway, The Blue Lake Agency offers customized Home, Flood, Auto, Boat, Condo, Renters, Personal Articles, RV, Motorcycle, Umbrella, and Life insurance policies from numerous insurance companies. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST) and Saturday/Sunday by appointment. Visit them at their office at 18610 U.S. Highway 441 in Mount Dora, online at BrightwayBlueLake.com or call 352-260-0418.
Brightway’s corporate office staff provides expertise and support in areas including customer service, technology, accounting, marketing, distribution and business analytics. In addition, Brightway handles carrier relations and appointments, as well as support with personnel hiring, licensing, onboarding, training and retention. The company’s signature after-the-sale service empowers Agency Owners, like Stephanie, to focus on new business sales and provide customers the personalized service they deserve.
About Brightway Insurance
Established in 2008, Brightway grew to become one of the largest privately-owned property/casualty insurance distribution companies in the U.S. with more than 300 franchises in 35 states and more than $1 billion in annual premiums. Recently, Brightway’s success led to a private equity investment that has infused the company with financial and human capital, and data and analytics access, to accelerate growth and deliver new and exciting market opportunities.
Brightway produces winning outcomes for franchisees and their customers by offering access to customized coverage solutions from a range of insurers paired with full back office and marketing support. This winning model allows agents and producers to focus on addressing the needs of their customers to become trusted advisors and grow their businesses.