Midwest Insurance Corporation, based in Nevada, is headed in some exciting new directions with both familiar and new faces this year.
Melissa Johnson, 35, of Ankeny, was recently announced as the new president of the company, taking over the role from Don Moody, who resigned in October 2017. Moody had succeeded John Arnold, who had succeeded Rick Hugdahl after his retirement from that position several years ago.
Johnson took over Hugdahl’s accounts when she joined the company a little over two years ago as a commercial specialist. As president, she said, she will still handle most of the same accounts, some of which are major clients like the city of Nevada and the Nevada Schools.
Johnson holds an associate’s degree from Northeast Iowa Community College and a bachelor’s degree from Simpson College. Her previous work experience includes 10 years with Nationwide Insurance in Des Moines and several years with Hastings Mutual as a marketing representative for the state of Iowa.
Her husband, Tracey, is in management for Barilla in Ames. They have three children, Ryker, 12 (her stepson); Vada, 4; and Bain, 2.
What Johnson likes most about working for MIC and being in Nevada, she said, is the community aspect of how everyone’s connected. When something big happens in Nevada, she said, they have a lot of clients who are usually involved, which can be helpful to all clients and the company.
Other newcomers to MIC this past year include:
• Terry Geerdes, joined the company as an account manager in December 2017
• Katie Fortsch, a client service agent in Nevada, who will work with Todd Sampson, account executive, and focus mainly on ag accounts
• Lori Rogers, a client service agent for commercial lines and the administrative manager for the Nevada office
• Amanda Sharp, a client service agent in the Maxwell office
Johnson said one of the things that MIC is focused intently on this year is getting more involved in the Nevada community, where its corporate offices are located along South B Avenue, just east of Fareway.
“We are one of the main sponsors for Lincoln Highway Days this year,” Johnson said, “and we are going to donate to the Nevada Middle School for a new scoreboard.”
Johnson said the company is also going to pump up its “service focus.”
“Service has always been a priority,” she said, but MIC is doing a few things differently to make that service even better. “We want our client service agents to always be here (in the office) and available, rather than out selling. This will free up our account managers and executives to be more flexible in being out working with clients in the field.”
Being out with clients, Johnson emphasized, is a way for account executives, like herself, to get a better feel for what the clients have and face in their organization. “We don’t want to just sell insurance; we want to be a trusted advisor and also provide risk management for our clients.”
Midwest Insurance Corporation employees 13 people in Nevada.
Effective July 1, MIC will make its Collins office a “by appointment only” location, while maintaining two employees in the nearby Maxwell office. MIC also has offices in Boone, Madrid and Central City. Johnson noted there is a position open at this time for a CSA in the Madrid office.
Along with the newcomers, who bring new energy to the company, MIC is proud to have other staff members who have chosen to stay with the company, some for over 10 years. Current staff members and the number of years they’ve worked for MIC include: Ros Dunblazier, Nevada office, 23 years; Beth Caple, Maxwell office, 22 years; Jenny Chitty, Nevada office, 15 years; Denis Crotty, Nevada office, 14 years; Diane Martin, Nevada office, 11 years; Todd Sampson, Nevada office, 5 years; Jeanna Warrick, Boone office, 4 years; Carrie McCain, Boone office, 4 years; Hannah McCoy, Boone office, 3 years; and a number of employees with 2 years with the company include: Brian Venteicher, Nevada office; Misty Harris, Nevada office; Kayla Longren, Nevada office; Kirstin Weber, Nevada office; Brenda Bklackford, Boone office; Karen Fish, Central City office and Kevin Johnson, Central City office.
Midwest Insurance Corporation has been in operation in Nevada since 1983. Formerly located on Sixth Street, the company has been on South B Avenue since 2009.