Val Privett

dog lover, boater, golfer, backyard griller, traveler


Val founded Beacon Insurance Advisers after launching and running Privett Insurance Group for 20 years.


Val came to the insurance industry following a successful stint coaching women’s basketball on the collegiate level. With a Master's in Education and her background in teaching and coaching, Val makes sure her clients understand the coverages available and how that coverage protects them, their families, and their assets.


Staying current is vital in any business especially in the insurance industry. Val holds multiple designations assuring her clients get the most up-to-date information and protection. She is a Certified Insurance Counselor, a Certified Personal Risk Manager, and a Life Underwriting Training Council Fellow.


Val believes in being an active leader in her community. She is a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors, Knoxville Mortgage Bankers Association, the Knoxville Affiliate Council for Realtors, and Farragut Rotary.

Erica Buchhammer

rock climber, yoga enthusiast, music patron


Fresh from Georgia College and State University with a Bachelor’s of Music Therapy, Erica pursued her dream of living in California. She soon missed southern hospitality and family. Thus, Knoxville became home in 2014.


Her music therapy career stalled, but Erica honed her skills in a new way, still making a difference in the lives of others. She became licensed in Property and Casualty Insurance in October 2016 and sold her first policy 3 months later. Admittedly, she wasn’t passionate about insurance until she saw what having the wrong coverage looked like. Knowing she could help someone restore their well-being, sparked her devotion to her new career choice. In October 2017, she added her Life Insurance license.


Erica believes the most honorable attribute of an agent is a commitment to the client. A client-focused agent is willing to walk away from a situation that would leave the client vulnerable at claim time. At Beacon Insurance Advisers client interests are our top priority and sacrificing coverage isn’t an option.


Sheila Griffis

wife, mother, grandmother, blessed


Sheila has been a part of Val Privett's team since 2010. She serves as Beacon Insurance Advisers Administrative Assistant and Compliance Officer. She is responsible for all of our agent and agency licensing and credentials in 20+ states.


Prior to joining Val's team, Sheila devoted her time to nurturing her family and homeschooling her children. She and her husband, Gary, have 6 children and 2 grandchildren. She is heavily involved with her church where she serves in the music ministry as well as the ladies' ministry. Sheila's hobbies are cheering her children on in whatever they are participating in. No matter the team-football, volleyball, band, FFA, Hi-Q, FBLA, or chorus, Sheila is the proudest and loudest Mom in the stands!

Renee Smith

foodie, tech geek, theater goer, learner, part-time professor


Renee is our Director of Marketing Technology. She comes to Beacon Insurance Advisers with 35+ years of experience as a television and digital media producer. She has a strong background in social media and communication strategy. All of that is a fancy way of saying that she believes we are all connected and by sharing information we move forward together.


Renee makes sure our clients have the most up-to-date information about our services and events. While the rest of the team thinks she’s working on a mysterious plan to take over the internet, she’s mostly just in charge of finding cool internet memes, and on occasion making funny cat videos. Her secret talent is rapping the entire soundtrack to Hamilton.


Renee holds a Master’s degree in Organizational and Intercultural Communication and a PhD in Communication and Information. She maintains strong ties to her alma mater the University of Tennessee, where she serves as an adjunct lecturer for the Department of Journalism/Electronic Media.

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