Rodney Watkins, CIC, CRM

President of IAAT

Rodney Watkins joined Watkins Insurance Group in 1994 at the urging of his uncle, David Watkins.

Rodney is active in the East Texas community currently serving as a board member for East Texas Medical Center hospital in Quitman. Past positions include Mayor of Mineola, a trustee on the Mineola Independent School Board, Mineola City Councilman, President Wood County Chamber of Commerce, President Mineola Chamber of Commerce, President Leadership Lake Country, President of Mineola Youth Foundation, President Mineola Optimist Club, President of Mineola Advocates for Safe Schools, Chairman of the Certified Retirement Community Designation program for the City Of Mineola and board member for Main Street Mineola.

Rodney was awarded the Honorary Chapter FFA degree by the Mineola FFA in 1998, Mineola Man of the Year by the Mineola Chamber of Commerce in 2001, and the Community Builder Award by the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas in 2006.

Professional involvement includes serving on the IIAT Board of Directors for 2015 and 2016 and as Regional Vice President for IMPACT (the largest insurance-producer political action program in Texas). Past positions include serving on the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT) Budget and Finance Committee, elected President of Independent Insurance Agents of Tyler and serving on agent advisory committees for various insurance carriers. Rodney has earned the prestigious professional designations of Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Certified Risk Manager (CRM).

Rodney spends his spare time being actively involved in political and community activities that benefit both the insurance industry as well as customers.

Jonathan Watkins, CIC

Accounting – Compliance – Operations

Jonathan Watkins joined Watkins Insurance Group in 2008 while attending Tyler Community College as a Business Management Major.  He started working with IAAT in 2011 and in 2017 took over as manager of Compliance and Operations.  In 2019 after shifting all operations of IAAT to the Mineola office, Jonathan took over as the Accounting Manager for IAAT as well as continuing his duties as manager of Compliance and Operations.  He holds his Property & Casualty and Life & Health licenses and works as a producer for Watkins Insurance Group. He is a 2014 graduate of The Dale Carnegie Public Speaking Course and in 2019 earned the prestigious professional designation of Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) through the National Alliance of Insurance Research and Education.  He is currently in his 3rd year serving as the President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Tyler and serves as a board member on the Mineola Chamber of Commerce.

In his free time, you can find him spending time with his wife and children or on a golf course.

Betsy Smith

Agency Development Specialist

Betsy joined Watkins Insurance in 2002 as a personal lines CSR. She received a Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) designation from the National Alliance of Insurance Research and Education in 2008. She began working with IAAT in 2009 when the East TX division was established.

In 2011 she became personal lines manager for the East TX offices of Watkins Insurance before working solely for Access Plus in 2014. With over 15 years in the industry, her experience with IAAT has given her the opportunity to work with various agency structures from start-ups to fully staffed and operating agencies.

She is a native of Baton Rouge, LA and enjoys reading and cheering for the LSU Tigers with her family.

Melissa Chrietzberg

Access Plus Manager

Melissa has over a decade of experience in the insurance industry. Her insurance career started with a small independent agency in personal lines, she moved into commercial lines and then took on an administrative role. She left the independent world and went to work for a captive agency.

Her career started with Watkins Insurance Group in 2004 and subsequently took a break from Watkins to open her own agency with Allstate. She sold the business after several years and came back to Watkins Insurance Group in the commercial lines department. Melissa took on the role as Marketing Coordinator for Commercial Lines in the East Texas Area and has continued to retain key commercial accounts for Watkins Insurance Group. Melissa has her Life & Health license and Property Casualty.

When not working, Melissa enjoys spending time with her family and friends, but she and her husband are most excited about their new role as Nona and Papa.

Kayla Williams

Access Plus Placement Specialist – CL

After receiving a Bachelor’s in Accounting and an Associate’s in Business Administration and in Bible in 2015, Kayla joined the IAAT team and began her career in insurance. She serves as the AccessPlus Processor in commercial lines and holds her Property & Casualty license. When not in the office, Kayla spends her days on the road exploring with friends, kayaking new waters, and working with teens.

Nic Watkins


Nic Watkins joined Watkins Insurance Group in 2010 after attending Tyler Community College. He has been a producer at Watkins Insurance Group for personal and commercial lines business as well as helping with marketing and advertising. He received his Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist (CLCS) designation in 2014. Nic is active in his local community currently serving on the Mineola Main Street Board and the Iron Horse Committee Board. He has recently joined IAAT in the role of Recruiter. His focus will be on building relationships with prospective agents and helping them be successful as they move forward with IAAT.

In his spare time, he can be found spending time with his family and camping.

Amber Smith

Access Plus Placement Specialist - PL

Amber grew up in Tyler, TX and graduated from Chapel Hill High School in 2001. She started her insurance career in 2007 with a local captive agency in personal lines and went to the independent side in 2008. From there she has been doing personal and commercial lines. She joined the IAAT team in 2017 and serves as a personal and commercial lines placement specialist. When not in the office, Amber enjoys spending her time with her family and friends.