Talking Shop with Angie Umfleet of Chap Arnold Insurance

Monday, September 20, 2010
Angie Umfleet at Chap Arnold Insurance. (Fred Lynch)

Along with helping her customers with their claims, Angie Umfleet of Chap Arnold Insurance in Cape Girardeau helps make a difference in the community through her involvement with the United Way of Southeast Missouri and the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.

Question: How did you become involved in the family business?

Answer: My father, Chap, started the business 39 years ago in Scott City, where my father is originally from. It started with the A-frame for Arnold. That's why all the buildings have the A-frame. Now we have three main locations, Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Scott City. Even as a young child in junior high, I helped with filing and cleaning the office. It was always my long-term goal to be part of it. I went into teaching first and then eventually came into the family business. I'm going on my seventh year here now. My sister does the clerical and accounting work and my brother-in-law is our agent in Jackson. So we have a family member in every building.

Q: Is it challenging working with your family members?

A: Our management meetings are all family. You've go to learn everybody's strengths and weaknesses and where you fit. We're all very bold and opinionated, which is what makes a business run.

Q: What are your thoughts on how health care reform will affect your health insurance customers?

A: We're meeting monthly with representatives of the different companies we work with to stay informed on changes that are coming. We have some new mandates starting already this month on individual policies. We know there are a lot of obstacles that still need to be completed in the next two to three years. We're still seeing people purchase health insurance, which is kind of surprising. I think people are unsure of what is coming. It's very uncertain.

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

A: The flexibility. I love being able to come and go during the day and getting to meet different people. No day is the same. Ever. That's why I like it. When I was teaching fifth grade at Scott City Elementary you never could leave to go get a soda or leave to go to the bathroom by yourself.

Q: What is the hardest part of being in the insurance business?

A: Smoothing over problems and situations when claims happen. People will call and say "I've had a fire. What do I do now?" Insurance isn't common for all people. If I wasn't in insurance, I wouldn't know the next step either. I get calls, like, "I'm in Illinois, on the side of the road, and I just hit a deer. What do I do?" Those are the things we take care of.

Q: Describe your involvement with the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.

A: I am vice chairman of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. They do so many things to unite the community. I just feel like it keeps me involved in knowing what's new and what's coming up. It gives me new ideas and resources. The people on the board are not people I would probably meet in my daily routine. I spearhead the Chamber's educator of the year banquet every year. Being a past educator and being able to honor them, I love doing that because I know how hard they work.

Q: You're cochairing the United Way of Southeast Missouri's effort to get more small businesses to contribute. Why is the United Way an organization that is important to you?

A: There are so many needs in our community. With the economy the way that it is, I feel like there are people out there who are trying and struggling. It's just overwhelming. If I can do something to help, I want to.

Q: What do you like to do when you're not working?

A: I love to be outside. My children, Abby, 7 and Luke, 4, and I play soccer in the yard, as long as we're outside they are happy.

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