• News

    Winter Insurance Agency, A Division of The Unland Companies, Celebrates 25 Years with Auto-Owners

    By in Press Releases on

    Auto-Owners Insurance Company and WINTER INSURANCE AGENCY recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of their partnership. The agency has represented Auto-Owners in East Peoria for a wide range of personal and commercial insurance products as well as life, annuity, and disability income, since 1997.

    Auto-Owners Insurance is a Fortune 500 company and is the 14th largest property & casualty insurance company in the nation, based on written premium. Auto-Owners Insurance is one of nine insurance carrier groups in the U.S. to receive the highest rating possible, A++ Superior, by A.M. Best, which is a nationally recognized rating agency for insurance companies.

    Auto-Owners is represented by more than 44,000 licensed agents in its 26 operating states. The company provides auto, home, business and life insurance to more than 2.7 million policyholders.

    WINTER INSURANCE AGENCY is located at 201 CLOCK TOWER DR, EAST PEORIA, IL 61611-2449 and may be reached at 309-699-3938

  • Photo of Afton Booth

    Remembering Afton Booth

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    Remembering a great leader in Afton Booth today! He had a tremendous impact on many of us and was instrumental in growing our agency into a very successful one before he passed. We are still enjoying the fruits of his labor and continue to carry out his mission of helping and serving others in this great business. He loved the game of golf and had a Bucket List experience back in 2001 at the famous Old Course of St. Andrews in Scotland. The attached pic is from the Swilcan Bridge on #18. I thought of him today as the first day of The Open at this same course is taking place and the best players in the world are walking across this same bridge.

    — Pat Taphorn

  • Tammy Riddle holding her ISAHU Distinguished Service Award

    ISAHU Distinguished Service Award

    By in Press Releases on

    Our team is making big news! Unland Benefits Account Manager Tammy Riddle was awarded the Greg Smith ISAHU Distinguished Service Award by the Illinois State Association of Health Underwriters on June 16th.

    The award, named in honor of the late Greg Smith (a friend and carrier representative for Unland), recognizes Tammy’s outstanding leadership and value to the association. We’re beyond proud of Tammy’s hard work and dedication, and we’re thrilled to have someone from the Central Illinois Chapter win this prestigious award.

    Congratulations, Tammy! Keep up the great work!

  • News

    Celebrating 80 Years of Service

    By in Press Releases on

    Eighty years is a long time to be in business. If you ask Unland Companies President Patrick Taphorn, eight decades of community support has been a tremendous asset to the company’s success.

    “We’ve been extremely blessed to be in communities that really value supporting local businesses,” Taphorn said. “We’ve been the recipient of that, and in turn, we’ve provided a very good, value-added service to our customers. To all those communities, thank you very much for your support and for trusting us to provide insurance coverage for you all these years.”

    This year, Unland Companies celebrates 80 years of service to Central Illinois. Founded by J. Logan Unland in 1941, the company has grown from a single location with three employees to five locations with nearly 40 employees.

    The more things change…

    Of course, the insurance industry has changed a lot since 1941 when Mr. Unland himself was selling Aetna life insurance door-to-door. One of the biggest changes has been the evolution of technology in the industry. Although technology has normalized digital communication in the office, Taphorn said the Unland Team still prioritizes knowing individual customers personally and understanding their specific concerns.

    “Technology has been a big change,” Taphorn said. “It’s a huge part of what we do and how we continue to be efficient and timely in service to our customers, but we still have that personal touch. Insurance is a relationship business, and we need to do everything we can to maintain and grow our relationships.”

    Even though we started in the days of pen and paper, we have adopted a wide variety of tools to support our customers. Platforms such as Ease, for example, provide an interface that makes benefits enrollment easier for employees, employers, and agents.

    “We invested in that platform a number of years ago and it’s really benefitted us as a company,” Taphorn said. “Business owners wear many hats and taking employees through the enrollment process for health insurance, dental, life, and other benefits programs can be a challenge many are not prepared for – they don’t want to mess with stacks of paperwork, sending it out to employees, waiting on them to send it back, and often chasing people down. That platform has really helped our customers. We’re growing rapidly in that area because of Ease.”

    Although technology has made enrolling easier for both Unland and its customers, the increasing reliance on consumer tech solutions isn’t without its drawbacks.

    “You would have never thought 15 or 20 years ago that you’d sell a cyber liability policy and that people would be asking for it,” Taphorn said. “That’s been a big change in the recent past.”

    “Property & Casualty policies used to just include basic coverage such as fire, lightning, wind, hail, etc.   The contracts now can integrate electronic data processing equipment, business interruption, mine subsidence, water backup of sewers and drains, identity theft, cyber liability, protection for mobile devices and even coverage for your pets,” Taphorn said.  “Auto coverage has evolved from its initial intent of including physical damage and liability to now incorporating towing, roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, loss of use and many other options.”

    The more they stay the same

    One thing that’s remained the same, however, is the Unland Team’s commitment to putting its customers first. Taphorn said fostering a culture that stresses the importance of serving the customer has allowed Unland to provide the best top-notch coverage for eight decades.

    “We’ve got really, really good people working here and have an expectation of how we service our customers,” Taphorn said. “People who work here know that serving our customers is a part of our culture. We’re selling a service and we can shine at a time when they need it the most.”

    At the same time, Taphorn said Unland also works hard to be an employer of choice, ensuring the company hires charismatic, amiable employees.

    “We try to make our offices a good place to interact. We do different activities throughout the week or month to break it up a little bit and we’ll have outings here and there,” Taphorn said. “We keep in mind while we’re trying to generate growth, efficiencies and best practices, we still have to remember that these people need to have a good time with it as well.”

    Celebrating 80 Years of Service

    J. Logan Unland

    Celebrating 80 Years of Service

    James Unland Sr.

    Celebrating 80 Years of Service

    Jeff Peterson, Bill Shock, and Afton Booth

    Celebrating 80 Years of Service

    Giving back

    While the company continues to expand — Unland added its fifth location in January 2020 in Metamora — Taphorn said the Unland Team recognizes this growth couldn’t be possible without the support of the community. So, Unland stresses the importance of giving back by supporting area organizations such as EP!C, the American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Goodwill, Children’s Hospital of Illinois, TAPS, Union Mission, Boys & Girls Club, UnityPoint Pekin Hospital Foundation, and various chambers of commerce throughout Central Illinois.

    Looking ahead, Taphorn said the future for Unland Companies is bright. Two new acquisitions in recent months have served to grow the company’s footprint in the area. In 2020, the company came off its best year ever, ending with $46 million in premiums. That recent growth, Taphorn said, is an indicator of Unland’s promising future and many more celebrations.

    Celebrating 80 Years of Service
  • News

    Zobrist-Scheirer Insurance in Metamora Now a Part of The Unland Companies

    By in Press Releases on

    (Metamora, IL) – The Unland Companies has recently partnered with Zobrist-Scheirer Insurance in Metamora, IL. Unland is pleased to add the talent and knowledge of the Zobrist team as they expand their relationships with personal and business insurance customers in the Metamora and Central IL region.

    Dean Zobrist, a lifelong resident of Metamora, began his insurance career working at Prudential Insurance in Peoria, IL. In 1978, he purchased the John Reeb agency in Metamora, which then eventually formed Zobrist-Scheirer Insurance in 1993.

    “Through the years, serving the customer with a detailed approach on every person and every policy has always been my priority,” said Dean Zobrist. “Our partnership with The Unland Companies is an exciting new chapter giving our team the opportunity to join a larger, highly skilled team that offers insurance, employee benefits and HR solutions,” added Zobrist.

    “The Zobrist-Scheirer Agency has built a culture that is a great fit with Unland, including their community outreach in the Metamora area and professional dedication to their customers for many years. Unland has a reputation for always putting the customer at the center of decisions, as well as giving back to the communities we serve,” said Pat Taphorn, President of The Unland Companies.