Did you know there's a unique place for internationals to find help with insurance and financial services here in Chattanooga? Did you know that 77 languages are spoken in the Chattanooga area?
Beth Underwood, is the President of Ancla Seguros y Servicios. Her company builds relationships with their clients by providing a trustworthy environment internationals can come to for advice. Aside from English, they have staff available who speak Korean, Portugese, and Spanish.
What prompted you to start your own company?
After owning a successful insurance agency for over 15 years, I sold it but kept up my insurance licensing. For several years I focused on my family and getting a graduate degree. Then, I went to work for a non-profit in Cleveland.
While there, the seed idea for my current business was planted. I had an unpleasant experience when I heard about a group of investors who were going to open a business targeting Latinos in Knoxville, but who anticipated maximizing profits on minimal work.
I decided to open a company of my own that would offer significant help to internationals. My dad grew up on the border of New Mexico and Mexico. Hearing his stories gave me an early interest in working with other cultures.
We educate our clients about what types of services are available either through us or through another local resource. For example, they may come to us for driver’s education training and we can help them with banking. Or, they may need contractor insurance and we can help them with cellphone options, which is helpful for their off-site employees. We provide notary public services, too.
What do you like best about doing business in Chattanooga?
I love being able to offer multi-cultural services. Chattanooga ranked third in Latino growth last year in the entire U.S.. There’s definitely a need for what we do.
I’m really thankful to have referral partners I can trust. Trust is an important factor in building relationships with our clients. A few organizations I especially appreciate are: the Chambliss Children’s Center, the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, and the Eastlake Corps of the Salvation Army. Eastlake recently hosted an information event for families to let them know about camps, tutoring, and other opportunities in the area.
What piece of advice would you like to share with other entrepreneurs or start-ups?
Pace yourself. Slowing down is a challenge for me, but it’s important to find a balance. I recommend encouraging employees to invest in your company – not that it has to be financially, particularly, but it helps if they share your passion for what you do. This makes it easier to delegate even if you want to do everything yourself. For example, one of my staff teaches Spanish to over a dozen pre-school classes.
How has our company helped you in your success?
I found Lynn Talbott through Intuit. I had QB Enterprise and wanted to add QB POS. I needed an arrangement that would be cost-effective, efficient, and flexible for our growth. Darlene is great in keeping our books organized. We so appreciate all her hard work, especially since we’re opening a second office
What types of needs for internationals are not being met and should be?
Healthcare concerns are a common obstacle for internationals. There are lots of details and legalese and exceptions. This makes it complicated to walk through the process of knowing what’s covered and what isn’t. It’s already difficult for native English speakers, so when you think of compounding that frustration by needing translation from another language, it’s a big problem.
What’s next for Ancla Seguros y Servicios?
Our current location opened this past December and our second office recently opened on Highway 153. We're excited about expanding our ability to serve the international community. Our languages there include Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
Our thanks to Beth for her time. We're excited to see their success! Click here for their Facebook page.
Lynn Talbott, MBA, PHR, has over 20 years’ experience consulting with entrepreneurs of small to mid-sized businesses in the HR and office management capacity. Her specialty is Office/Human Resource Manager coaching and training and finding practical solutions for bookkeeping errors and HR blunders. Lynn has helped manage over 50 business start-ups and many of those companies continue to rely on her expertise today as they continue to grow.