Wehling Insurance celebrates 125 years of service
The Wehling Insurance Agency celebrated its 125th anniversary on Friday, Aug. 27, with an open house at 207 S. 8th St.
The agency was founded in 1896 when Gothilf “Jake” Weible became one of the first agents for the German Mutual Insurance Company of Auburn. Weible is the great-great grandfather of Patrick Wehling, who is the agent/owner and the fifth generation to work in the family business.
Jake Weible’s son, Albert, provided a reminiscence in 1973 of selling insurance in the early 1900s: “...before getting a car, father got around with his driving team, or ‘Westerns,’ as they called them, a somewhat tall, lightweight, leggy pair of horses he called Barney and Daise. Later he bought a pair of small ponies, sort of Indian ponies, from Chas. Wilhelm. These my brothers broke to drive and ride. With these father got around over a radius of 15 or 20 miles, writing insurance for the German Mutual Ins. Co. then of Johnson, Nebraska. This insurance was written by Chris Wurtele, then my father, then brother Adolph, and then yet today by Alice Weible Wehling, Adolph’s daughter.”
Jake Weible’s son, Adolph, was the second generation to sell insurance for the business, and he was followed by his daughter, Alice Weible Wehling, Patrick’s grandmother.
Alice Wehling retired from the insurance business in her early 80s when it became too difficult for her to climb ladders to inspect roofs or to go into pastures to examine cattle that had been struck by lightning, said Patrick Wehling.
Patrick’s parents, John and Patricia Heimerdinger Wehling, were the next generation to work in the business. John served as Nebraska City’s postmaster by day and conducted insurance reviews in the evenings, said Patrick Wehling, while Patricia ran the insurance business during the day from their home.
After Patrick joined the agency in 2006, it received licenses to sell insurance in Missouri and Iowa and grew from representing four insurance carriers to more than 20 today.
John still takes an active part in the business, serving as the agency’s photographer for reviews and new business, said Patrick Wehling.
Patrick’s son, Evan, received an exposure to the business during his senior year of high school. He and his brother Riley are studying business at Southeast Community College in Milford.
The business moved from the Wehling’s home to its current location on South 8th Street in 2016. At that time, the agency celebrated its 120th anniversary.
Patrick Wehling said he plans to add a drone to his agency’s assets for photographing outbuildings on rural properties and roofs that need inspections. He said his son and his father currently make use of digital photography and cloud photo storage when shooting pictures for client files.
Future plans call for expansion into the life and health insurance markets. Karisa Bryan, who is licensed in health, life, annuities, property, and casualty, and customer service representatives Lindsay Schaeffer and Ashli Leyden are also on the agency staff.