Universal Shield Insurance Group officially arrived in Morrow County on Friday.
A property and casualty insurer for small businesses, the business was founded in 2003 and now has four offices spread across two states: Ohio (Dublin and Marengo) and Michigan (Hudsonville and Waterford).
“Growing our community and that is what we are all about,” exclaimed Morrow County Chamber of Commerce Executive Board President Erin Kelty during the grand opening event.
Universal Shield Insurance Group is located locally at 15 S. Main St. in Marengo in a building owned by Pat and Angie Whitt, residents of Mount Gilead.
“I am from a small town,” stated Universal Shield CEO Chris Timm. Originally from a village in Indiana, Timm built his own insurance business almost three decades ago. He would visit home and was asked by folks why he would not consider opening up a branch there. It was a comment that he remembers until this day as he continued to navigate the business world.
“In Morrow County, there are a lot of people that have worked for me for several years. I thought (with those connections), this company can bring that here to this small town. We can bring big city pay jobs, professional jobs, and professional career paths (to Morrow County),” stated Timm. “There is no reason in today’s environment … we started this business during the pandemic and the work was remote. It is very hard to do our work remotely.”
The notion, Timm made, was to bring an office environment to a small town where potential applicants would be more responsive to in-person work for five days per week.
“We plan to have the absolute best jobs in Morrow County,” he added.
Timm anticipates Universal Shield Insurance Group will be looking to hire up to 60 people overall for 2024 and upwards of 40 of those positions being available at the Marengo office.
“Starting pay for hourly (positions) can be up to $25 per hour depending on experience along with salary-paid jobs being open, too, for those having prior knowledge of insurance or underwriting,” he stated. Benefits include a 401(k) plan with a company match, health insurance, and other perks including disability for employees.
“There is no reason why Morrow County cannot have just as good of jobs as Columbus in this industry,” Timm exclaimed.
The building has been remodeled with one side featuring over 12 cubicles and a staff kitchen, while the opposite one has a meeting room and space to grow for more individual offices.
The Morrow County Chamber of Commerce with members of its executive board, executive director, and fellow business people took part in hosting the ribbon cutting and Business After Hours event for the afternoon’s festivities.
Morrow County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kristen Thompson said, “We are so excited to have (Universal Shield Insurance Group) here in Marengo as new neighbors. We cannot wait to see what happens in the future and what growth they have.”
Mindy Groves, chamber secretary, added, “The growth of having 30-40 new jobs in Marengo will be really nice.”
Hors d’oeuvres, including charcuterie boards, cookies, celebratory cake, and wine were served to guests during the event.
For more information on Universal Shield Insurance Group, visit www.ufcic.com.
Quinn Maceyko is a correspondent for the Morrow County Sentinel.