Monday, July 21, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Vukovich Insurance about to turn 60

KMK_0204e

THE TEAM AT VUKOVICH Insurance Agency from left to right: Agent Troy Vukovich, Receptionist Doris Soto, and Customer Service Representatives Nena Omic and Wendi Barba. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

By
From page SOS5 | December 30, 2013 |

For Troy and Aimee Vukovich, insurance has always been a family business. Their father’s brother, freshly graduated from University of Southern California, was Farmers Insurance Co.’s youngest district manager. He was 21. The first thing he did was to recruit his older brother, Mel.

Mel established the first Farmers Insurance Agency in El Dorado County in 1954. The agency has always specialized in commercial and personal insurance lines.

Mel Vukovich was born in Jackson. His father found work as a miner when he settled there after leaving political turmoil in Serbia. Mel fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, and was awarded the Bronze Star. The star is on display in Troy’s office.

After the war, Mel went to USC on a football scholarship and earned a degree in Accounting. He worked as a CPA from 1951 to 1956 as he transitioned to the insurance business. He finally let go of tax work in 1960 to concentrate on the insurance business. That same year, he married his wife, Ayriane. They had two daughters and three sons.

In 1972 an accident changed the family business arrangement. While Mel was photographing a home site, he stepped back and fell into an empty swimming pool, landing on his head and shoulder.

Troy describes his father as an engaging man, charismatic, always happy. After the accident, Mel lost his long-term memory and suffered double vision. He could no longer do everything needed to run the agency. Mel and Aryiane did not want to lose the insurance business he worked so hard to build, and that supported the family. Aryiane stepped up and took control of the agency. Farmers helped her, and 18-year-old Aimee went to work to assist her mother. The grandparents next door in Shingle Springs provided family support. Troy, at age 4, did not understand the seriousness of the situation, but he adapted to the new order.

As Mel recovered, he was able to help with insurance ratings, which were calculated from manuals at the time. He also served on the audit committee of the Western Sierra Bank board of directors.

Troy followed his father to USC and graduated in Communications. He was set to go into the commercial real estate business in Los Angeles when his father encouraged him to go into insurance. He went to work for Farmers and became an agent in Woodland Hills, where he learned the commercial side of the business.

Aimee had been working in the family business all along. Troy joined in 1989, in an office in El Dorado Hills. He was there for three years, time enough to join the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills, where he is still an active member. For the next 15 years, the office was on Broadway in Placerville.

In 1999 his parents made an offer. They were ready to sell their insurance businesses, but they preferred to keep them in the family.

Aimee bought the insurance brokerage business, and named it Aimee Vukovich Insurance. Through the companies she represents, she offers insurance coverage for homes, including rentals and mobile homes; cars, motorcycles, watercraft, snowmobiles and ATVs, motor homes and travel trailers; personal lines; businesses, including builders risk and course of construction; and farms and ranches. One of her specialties is equine property. She owns four horses on her property in South County.

Troy bought the Farmers Insurance Agency, reamed Troy Vukovich Farmers Insurance Agency. He is an exclusive agent for Farmers. His agency specializes in commercial and personal lines insurance, and offers auto, home, life and health insurance.

Troy said that the biggest difficulty insurance companies in the foothills have is providing fire insurance to homeowners. “It affects Realtors and title companies, as well as insurers,” he said.

In 2007 Troy bought an office building on Missouri Flat Road and relocated there. Aimee Vukovich Insurance joined in the transfer.

Troy and his wife, Carissa, have two sons: Roman, 13, and Preston, 10. The boys play Little League, basketball and football. Troy takes time to get involved in coaching their teams. Carissa is taking courses to prepare for nursing school, where she will specialize in pediatric or neonatal nursing.

Troy is a committed member of the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Jackson. He is involved in the St. Sava Mission Foundation, a 100-acre children’s camp for 300 children a month from the western United States.

Troy and his sister, Aimee, continue their parents’ legacy of taking care of people and taking care of business. Troy said that even though technology has altered the insurance industry, “people will always need advisers.”

Troy Vukovich Farmers Insurance Agency and Aimee Vukovich Insurance are located at 4641 Missouri Flat Road, Placerville. For more information, visit www.vukovichinsurance.com, or call 530-622-6912.

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