We recently had the pleasure of spending some “virtual” time with Andy Stephey, one of the owners of UIS Insurance & Investments, and learned there is more than meets the eye with this independent agent. We always see a deep commitment with independent agents to their community, however, Andy not only serves his community but also his country. Since 1991, Andy has served with the Ohio Air National Guard at the 180th Fighter Wing, based in Toledo, Ohio. His duties include regular drill weekends and training commitments throughout the year. The military has instilled discipline and attention to detail that has benefited him in his insurance career.
The Air Force has three core values: (1) Integrity First, (2) Service Before Self, and (3) Excellence in All We Do. These values run deep for Andy in his personal and professional life, and it is at the core of all that he does. Putting service before self is at the heart of the UIS core values. The team at UIS has a deep respect for all relationships including those with employees, clients, and carrier partners. With this value at the helm, they strive to achieve excellence in all they do!
Service before self is the thread that runs through Andy and UIS, as they are deeply committed to their community. In fact, UIS formed an internal program called UIS Cares where they provide each employee 15 hours annually to donate time to a non-profit of their choosing. The agency as a whole all seem to gravitate towards charities that involve children and hunger issues, which have become more prevalent in the last year with COVID.
One of Andy’s favorite organizations to volunteer for is the Tiffin Community Foundation. He was a member for 3 years prior to becoming the Chairman. The Foundation has over 80 different funds they manage that benefit the causes and passions of donors in Tiffin and Seneca County. Andy taps into the philosophy of UIS, which is being a trusted advisor and expert in their local community. They are a small-town agency with the expertise and experience you would expect at a national level. It is this expertise that allows Andy to work with the board to manage the Foundation’s charitable funds. The foundation serves donors by providing a vehicle to establish a permanent charitable fund and allows donors to make charitable contributions to existing funds.
The same level of commitment UIS places in the community is directly invested back into the agency and its people. Andy remarks there is a group of agents with 5 years of experience or less and Andy is committed to working with them to grow their knowledge in insurance and bolster their passion to become the trusted advisors their clients have grown to expect. Employee development is so important to Andy that he hired a dedicated resource that is focused on building out programs for their employees. Furthermore, Andy ensures he is present and available to junior staff members to allow him to play a big role in their professional development.
Andy joined the OIA Board of Directors at the beginning of 2021 but has been dedicated to our association for years. He finds the state and federal advocacy events to be incredibly interesting and instrumental for meaningful change. Being able to speak to lawmakers to express the importance of their issues and see movement is what makes the association so invaluable to Andy and his team. Every year, the agency sends different associates to attend the advocacy events, as the first-hand experience infuses passion and demonstrates the significance of the OIA and how important their advocacy efforts are to the industry.
Andy finds the events offered through OIA an important resource and strongly recommends to the next generation of leaders to get involved and participate in the association. Especially to those that are starting out their career in the industry. Getting involved with OIA, connecting with their peer groups, and developing meaningful relationships outside of the agency are all things that will help progress their career. Andy also advises to not delay in professional development, as the earlier you start the better you will be. Finally, we circle back to Andy’s guiding light in life, the three Air Force values. Andy assures both new enlistees and new agents, use the three core values as your NorthStar, and everything you pursue will work out in your favor. Great advice from a natural leader!