United Insurance Agencies and Affordable Auto Insurance 11/14/17 11/30/17 2:39:35 PM
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United Insurance Agencies and Affordable Auto Insurance located at 1055 North 115th Street hold themselves to a high standard of excellence in the products they sell and the knowledge they provide people.
Honored to Serve the Omaha Community:
United Insurance Agencies and Affordable
Auto Insurance Named Chamber’s
Latest Small Business of the Month
By Dan McCann
The Daily Record
For Heidi Vescio, president of United Insurance Agencies and Affordable Auto Insurance, it comes down to helping people. That, to her, is the most rewarding part of an almost life-long involvement in the insurance industry.
“Let’s say we’re working with a first-time home buyer who cannot qualify for a loan because of the cost of insurance – it makes me feel good when we’re able to seek out an affordable homeowners program and obtain the best rate by packaging it with their auto insurance and getting every possible discount available. You are helping them to achieve their dream of homeownership and that is very satisfying,” she said.
An insurance veteran now, Vescio was introduced to the business at a very young age. Her father, Wayne Miller, founded Atlas Insurance in 1969, which grew to become United Insurance Agencies. Vescio started coming to the office with her dad when she was still in elementary school. She began working for United Insurance Agencies in high school and, by 1985, was a full-time agent. Vescio started her own company, Affordable Auto Insurance, in 1991 and purchased United Insurance Agencies from her father after his retirement seven years later.
Vescio said the secret to the companies’ longevity – almost 75 years of combined service to the Omaha metro – can be traced to the Golden Rule: “We take every opportunity to treat our customers as we would want to be treated ourselves. We strive to do what is right – not just what is profitable.”
The Chamber has taken notice, recognizing United Insurance Agencies and Affordable Auto Insurance as its Small Business of the Month for November.
“We hold ourselves to a high standard of excellence in the products we sell and the knowledge we provide,” Vescio explained. “We take time to educate our customers on the ways that insurance can protect them and provide financial security for their future.”
The United Insurance Agencies and Affordable Auto Insurance team is a tight-knit one. Vescio runs the operation with just three other people: agents Cindy Davis and Connie Rivera, who is also Heidi’s sister, and administrative assistant Beverly Rodriguez.
“I’ve been working with Cindy for over 30 years and Connie for 20. They are both exceptional agents who consistently provide great service while driving new business. Our newest addition to the group, Beverly, does everything from providing customer service to managing our social media presence. Each person has strengths which complement the other team members,” Vescio said.
Creativity, she added, is respected and fostered at the office.
“We encourage employee feedback and create an open atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas. Many of those ideas have been implemented in the form of revised workflows, marketing and community involvement,” she said.
While being a smaller agency allows for direct communication, quick decision-making and general nimbleness, it presents challenges as well.
“Our size means we have to balance finding new business with maintaining the level of service our customers expect,” Vescio said. “Our ability to communicate well as a team and being able to quickly adapt to changes is how we have managed to keep that balance.”
Vescio said her team is just one of the things that continues to stoke her passion for the profession after all these years: “I am driven by the excitement, enthusiasm and success that I see from my team.”
She also finds fulfillment in reinventing the agency, as needed, to change with the times.
“Technology is changing the way we do business,” she said. “We continually have to educate ourselves on what customers are looking for and what they value. We have to deliver superior customer service in record time.”
Customization and follow-up are also key to delivering that superior experience.
“Each policy we sell is created specifically for that customer and their particular needs,” Vescio said. “We check in with our customers annually (at a minimum) to make sure their needs haven’t changed. We’ll sometimes check in if we think we can find them a better rate – even if that means less commission for us. That kind of service has translated to customer loyalty.”
Vescio said she and the rest of the team are “honored to continue to serve the Omaha community and call it home” and honored to be recognized as the Chamber’s latest Small Business of the Month.
“The Chamber was one of the first groups we joined at the start of Affordable Auto Insurance to connect with other area business owners,” she said.
The companies’ community involvement does not end there. United Insurance Agencies and Affordable Auto Insurance support several local events throughout the year and this year, announced their own charitable event: The Cutest Canine Photo Contest. Dog lovers from all over Nebraska and Iowa posted and voted for their favorite “pooch pics” on the companies’ Facebook page. The contest raised $1500 for nonprofit dog rescue groups Heartland German Shephard Rescue (HUGS) and Short Nosed and Friends United (SNAFU).
“We are passionate about getting involved in the community,” Vescio said.
United Republic Bank sponsors the Chamber’s Small Business of the Month award. To nominate a small business online, visit www.omahachamber.org. Nominees must be current Chamber members with 50 employees or less.