Amy Wilkerson ’92 recalls her first day at Bishop Kenny as a very memorable one. It was her first day of her freshman year in high school, and she recalls sitting in Coach Lyons’ class and being called to the principal’s office. Amy was thinking “I just got here; what could I have done?” She walks into the principal’s office and, to her surprise, is informed that her dad won the tuition raffle! Amongst her teachers, she recalls Coach Lyons’ being very intimidating, and that her favorite teacher was Ms. Marnett who taught math. She says that Ms. Marnett was a hard teacher, but that she was also fair. Amy had a great experience at Bishop Kenny filled with a lot of athletics including basketball and tennis. The girls’ basketball team became her second family. They spent all their time practicing, and together they made many memories. One of her greatest memories was when girls’ basketball team and Coach Orlando went to the state championship three years in a row and won the title all three times. Amy’s competitive nature served her well not only in sports, but in life as well.
Amy went on to attend the University of Florida where she received her degree in Finance. Amy, like many at that age, was not sure what she was going to do after graduation. Between her junior and senior year in college, Amy had an internship at State Farm Insurance Company at its Southeast Regional office in Jacksonville. She had a wonderful experience with State Farm and found that her internship was extremely attractive to many employers in the insurance industry. Her senior year, Amy was offered a job with several insurance companies, ultimately choosing to accept an offer with Zurich Insurance Company as an underwriting trainee in Jackson, Mississippi. After a couple of years in Jackson, Amy transferred with Zurich to Chicago and found herself working for a company which was in a transition period. Wanting to have known her name and “not just being a number”, Amy left Chicago and went back to Jackson where she began work for Ross & Yerger Insurance, an independent insurance agency. Ross & Yerger was founded in 1860 and was owned by the Yerger family for four generations.
Ross & Yerger specializes in providing risk management services to its clients through commercial insurance, employee benefits, financial institutions and private client services. At 27, Amy became the manager of Ross & Yerger’s Commercial Lines Department (the largest department within the agency). In 2002, Amy and eleven of her coworkers were able to purchase Ross & Yerger from the Yerger family. At that time the company had about forty employees and generated approximately seven million dollars in revenue annually. Today, Ross & Yerger consists of over 140 employees and generates thirty-four million dollars in revenue annually, with offices in three states. Ross & Yerger is ranked the 99th largest Insurance Agency in the United States.
Amy was recently elected as the 2022-2023 Chairman of the Independent Insurance Agents of Mississippi (known in the industry as the “Big I”). Consisting of over 200 insurance agencies, the Big I is a trade association dedicated to representing the interests of independent insurance agencies on both the state and national level, including serving as an advocate for public policy issues affecting its members interests. The association will be celebrating its 125th anniversary during Amy’s term as Chairman.
Amy’s advice to anyone getting into the industry today is that there is always a need for insurance in every aspect of the economy, and you will constantly learn something new every day. Her best advice to anyone is just to work hard. Amy has made her mark in the insurance industry, and Bishop Kenny is so proud of her accomplishments.