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About Us

Multi-generational with clients, multi-generational with carriers, and multi-generational with employees.

Founded in 1890, Associated Agencies, Inc. is one of the top privately held agencies in the Midwest. We are a full-service brokerage firm that assists individuals and business with their property, casualty, employee benefits and individual insurance needs. Associated’s longevity in the business allows us to draw upon years of experience, establish long-standing relationships with leading insurance carriers and develop unparalleled expertise. AAI has a proven track record that enables us to anticipate changes and determine a new direction. This allows us to create innovative and productive solutions to our clients’ risk management needs that drive down costs over time. We are experienced in handling all lines of coverage from the basic insurance program to the complex program with professional liability needs.

AAI serves nearly 15,000 clients nationwide; individuals and businesses—small and large, for-profit and non-profit.

Associated Agencies, Inc., has a history of service to the community. For example:

  • Sponsor of Annual Kendall County “Sweetness” Run benefiting abused, neglected, and underprivileged children
  • Annual sponsor of the Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center, and the Sinai Community Institute; both institutions offer vital services to inner-city Chicago
  • Annual sponsor to Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center
  • Annual sponsor to U.S. Holocaust Museum
  • Annual contributors to Quentin Road Christian School
  • Annual contributors to Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Jewish Child and Family Services, Jewish Community Centers of Chicago, Jewish Theological Seminary

Associated Agencies, Inc. has also earned a number of awards, accolades and recognition from numerous carriers and local programs we’re involved with.

Awards and Honors:

  • The Ark’s Rhea Segal Food Pantry – annual donation
  • 2012 Illinois Family Business of the Year Finalist
  • 2010 Business Ledger Annual Awards for Business Excellent
  • Best Places to Work in Insurance winner 2011, 2012 and 2013
  • 2013 Healthiest Employer Runner up
  • Prime Minister Level donors to the Jewish United Fund

Leadership

 Max (Skip) R. Schrayer
Max (Skip) R. Schrayer
CEO
Max (Skip) R. Schrayer
Max (Skip) R. Schrayer  
CEO

Biography

Skip Schrayer is the CEO of Associated Agencies, Inc., and President of Auto and Home Insurance Agency. He oversees all aspects of commercial and personal insurance for individuals and businesses—small and large, for-profit and non-profit—nationwide. He currently serves as the Chairman of Jewish Community Relations Counsil of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JCR), Executive committee of the Board of Directors for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and is also a board member for the First Bank of Highland Park. In addition, he serves as an executive committee member and treasurer of the NCSJ, advocates on behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Eurasia. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the American Joint Distribution Committee.

Skip has long been active in his community. He is the past chairman of the 2006 Jewish United Fund Annual Campaign,Past Chairman of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitant Chicago, and the past national chairman of United Jewish Appeal Young Leadership Cabinet. He is also a past member of Roosevelt University’s Albert A. Robin Campus advisory board, and a past participant in Leadership Greater Chicago, Project Interchange, and the Jewish Vocational Service.

In addition to his professional and community work, he frequently travels to Israel, and in 2002 cofounded and co-chaired Nachshon, an annual men’s trip to Israel.

He is a graduate of University of Michigan and Northwestern University, Graduate School of Management. Skip and his wife, Lynn, have three children.

 Joshua B. Herz
Joshua B. Herz
President
Joshua B. Herz
Joshua B. Herz  
President

Biography

Joshua B. Herz joined Associated Agencies in 2003 as an account producer. Since then, he has consistently served his clients with excellence, while increasing his influence in the insurance community. In 2009, he was promoted to senior vice president, joining the management team and boards of Associated Agencies and Auto and Home Insurance Agency. In 2012 he was promoted to President overseeing not only his own client accounts but focusing on the development and growth of Associated Sales staff.

Josh regularly extends his business acumen to his community and charitable work, as well. He has been heavily involved in the Jewish United Fund’s Young Leadership Division, where he also sat on the executive board for three years. He co-founded—and currently serves on the steering committee for—the Chicago Jewish Entrepreneurial Forum. In 2004, he co-founded For the Fallen, a charity to benefit families of military members who were killed or severely wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Josh is a graduate of University of Arizona. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Highland Park with their three daughters.

 Talicia  Bashford
Talicia Bashford
COO
Talicia  Bashford
Talicia Bashford 
COO

Biography

As Chief Operating Officer, Talicia leads the strategy and operations of Associated and its subsidiaries, including business process optimization, talent management, office services and technology. She joined the company in 2018, and is focused on enabling sustainable growth through innovation, process development and human capital.

Talicia’s career has been spent leading operations for insurance brokerages. Prior to joining Associated, Talicia spent 8 years on the senior leadership team of a 500-employee independent insurance agency in the Chicago area, where she was responsible for driving strategic solutions and technology. For 5 years prior to that, she was in sales and led client-services for another mid-sized independent agency.

Talicia earned a bachelor in business administration from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, with a double major in Risk Management & Insurance and Marketing.

She and her husband, Sean, have one daughter and one son.

 Karen Z. Vacko
Karen Z. Vacko
Executive Vice President
Karen Z. Vacko
Karen Z. Vacko  
Executive Vice President

Biography

Karen Vacko is a highly qualified professional who has spent her career in property and casualty, and employee benefits insurance. She was a founding member of the Robert M. Schrayer Company, which purchased Associated Agencies, Inc. As the executive vice president of both Associated Agencies, Inc., and Auto and Home Insurance Agency, she often teaches insurance seminars ranging from personal lines insurance to employee benefits for professional associations, corporations and colleges. Karen currently serves as secretary of the board for Benefit Security Insurance Company, and as the secretary of the boards of Associated Agencies, Inc., Auto and Home Insurance Agency, and C.W. Olson. She co-founded RMSCO, a third party insurance administrator, and served as the organization’s president.

 Maredith Splendoria
Maredith Splendoria
Vice President of Administration
Maredith Splendoria
Maredith Splendoria 
Vice President of Administration

Biography

Maredith Splendoria joined Associated Agencies, Inc., as an office manager, and assistant to the president. Four years later, she was named Vice President of administration and currently oversees both operations and human resources for the company and its more than 100 employees.

A long time administrator, Maredith first applied her skills in the real estate market, as an office supervisor for a 400-person agency. Moving into the insurance industry expanded her portfolio from solely focusing on operations administration to include human resources and personnel issues.

Maredith is a wellness advocate, and regularly trains for marathons to inspire others toward a healthy lifestyle.

 Patricia Kuchan
Patricia Kuchan
Director Of Client Services
Patricia Kuchan
Patricia Kuchan 
Director Of Client Services

Biography

Biography is coming soon.
 John Turner
John Turner
SVP Finance
John Turner
John Turner 
SVP Finance

Biography

Biography is coming soon.

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