It was the summer of 1961, when, after spending several years building business for others, Gerald Lubell decided to take the risk and open an agency of his own own. Over the years working for others, he learned that successful businesses are built one happy customer at a time, and that this would be particularly true for an insurance agency, which is built on trust.
Gerald began Urban Insurance Agency with less than $1,000 dollars and a desk in the back of shared office space, a single line phone and an idea to provide low cost car insurance without compromising personal service. Lacking funds to buy advertising, he would wake up early each morning and search for neighborhood kids that he could pay to help him place flyers on cars, he would then return to his desk and follow up on each lead. Things began slowly, but Gerald was determined to build a business and provide a better life for his family. Soon growing sales allowed him to rent his first real office space at 860 North Wabash in Chicago, and begin to hire staff and grow.
Over the past 50 years, hard work and loyal customers have allowed Urban to become one of the larger auto insurance agencies in Chicago. But despite the growth, Gerald has made sure that the staff never loose sight of his original commitment to personal service. It is a source of great pride to him, that after many years in business Urban Insurance is providing car insurance to the children and seven grand-children of some of it’s first customers.
- Types of Insurance at the beginning
- In the beginning, Urban sold only Auto Insurance, while that still remains a focus of our business; we have expanded into a wide range of personal lines, including homeowner’s, renters and life insurance. Urban also specializes in all types of commercial auto to cover the needs of businesses such as Towing, Long and Short Haul Trucking, Medical Transportation, Landscapers and many more.
- How Insurance has changed over 50 years
Over the past 50 years auto insurance policies themselves have changed little, it is in the marketing where significant change has taken place. The driving force for this shift comes via the Internet. Over the past decade “Online Companies” have been increasing their market share, driven largely by a few companies with very deep pockets, spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year in advertising. While these companies claim to save customers money by not paying agents commission, we find that Urban’s rates are nearly always lower and come with the personal advice of a licensed agent. We have seen too many horror stories of customers that start policies with us, after they discovered that the coverage they received from an “Online company” were incomplete and left them exposed.
That is why at Urban, you will have an agent that can help guide you through the process and answer all of your questions.