Wells Fargo Insurance Buys UIS
Ellen Sievert, national director of corporate communications for Wells
Universal offers business, personal, and employee benefit insurance services and is also a third-party administrator that provides marketing, sales and policyholder services for associations throughout the
Wells Fargo Insurance Services is the fifth-largest insurance brokerage and the largest bank-owned insurance brokerage in the
Teaming with Wells Fargo Insurance enables Universal to align resources with a "first-class organization" and to offer its clients a more robust suite of products and services, Rothwell said. Universal's insurance and risk management resources will be expanded, as well. He said the collective goal is for Wells Fargo Insurance Services to grow its presence in
Rothwell said that for a half-dozen years or so, Universal has been seeking a partner that could take the company to the next level, and Wells Fargo was a very attractive candidate for the job. He said there were financial barriers to keeping Universal locally controlled and locally held.
"We looked at options as to how we were going to continue Universal beyond where we are right now. The best move for the owners, the staff and our clients was a partnership," Rothwell explained "When you're our size, you need to be able to perpetuate the organization. We have some great young staff members, and we need to make certain there is a definite future career track for them."
Dan Goldapp, regional managing director of Wells Fargo Insurance's
"They will strengthen our presence in
Universal will now have international capabilities that it didn't have before, Rothwell said. It will also become part of Wells Fargo Insurance 150 office network. Rothwell noted that a lot of Universal's clients have diversified into other areas. The hook up with Wells Fargo gives the company a footprint that is much broader than
Universal CFO Mike Wanroy said Universal's 115 staff members are "excited" about the acquisition and what it will mean for them in the long run. They believe the change is a huge opportunity for themselves and for the company to move forward, he said. Clients who knew about the impending acquisition fully supported it, as well, and understood it was a move forward and upward for Universal.
"We've already reached out to many of our clients, and they totally embrace the concept; they love the partnership between ourselves and Wells Fargo," Wanroy said.
The local Wells Fargo Commercial Banking office embraces the concept, too.
"To the public and the business community at large, we're still seen as a little starter office; our competitors always say we're not serious," said regional vice president Don VanDine. "Well, we have another 115 employees in
The arrival of Wells Fargo Insurance Services in this market adds legitimacy to Wells Fargo Commercial's prior stated claims that Wells Fargo is very serious about expanding in
"Now, with the experience and local connections of Universal's staff, there will be more people are out there representing Wells Fargo, and that's a huge help to us," he added. "We all refer business to each other and, certainly, our clients need insurance."
Wells Fargo Commercial Banking opened offices in
"To the extent that we have resources on the ground and we hire local people with local relationships, our office is going to flourish," VanDine said. "As an organization, we're committed to growing in