Staff Directory

We are a tight knit team at UWIB. We value our diversity of experience and bring you decades of Risk Management experience. With our foundation of real world know-how, we embrace the challenges of the brave new world we find ourselves in today.  We pride ourselves in our ability to anticipate and handle the hurdles your business or family might face. We look forward to helping you find the answers and the coverage you need.

Dana Coates
Dana Coates
Dana Coates
- President & CEO -
License #FC0529163

Dana has been a licensed insurance broker for more than 35 years and is one of the principals at United Western Insurance Brokers. Since his start in 1975 with The Aetna Property & Casualty Insurance Company where he was a carrier underwriter, Dana went on to establish his own agency in 1990 and in 2012, after growing and merging with another agency, he and Gina, joined the United Agencies Group in 2012. With 40 locations throughout the Western US, the United Agencies Group generates a premium volume of more than $350 million dollars.

The Coates' division is predominantly Commercial Lines with a mixture of Benefits and Private Clients. UWIB has offices in Seattle and Los Angeles, they represent the Entertainment Industry, the Coffee Industry, the Marine Industry, Importers, Exporters, Manufacturers, and Tech Professionals.

In their spare time, Dana and Gina enjoy their animals, travel, physical fitness and the great outdoors. Dana races Porsche automobiles, Gina is his greatest cheerleader. In additional to co-managing the business operations with Gina, Dana serves on several non-profit boards including The Greater Los Angeles Area Council, Boy Scouts of America and Pasadena Federal Credit Union. Dana also volunteers at Huntington Memorial Hospital, The University Club of Pasadena, and The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. Dana and Gina split their time between Southern California and Washington State and have two married children.

Gina Coates
Gina Coates
Gina Coates
- Personal Lines Sales and Corporate CFO -
License #0610591

Gina grew up in West Covina and after high school, took her first job in the insurance business. Being a natural "people person", Gina excelled quickly in her career. While working at Ingham, Coates & Payne, she met Dana. Because Dana was one of the owners at ICP, Gina needed to transition to a different company. It was through her work first at C.G. Anderson & Associates and then later at Bolton & Company where Gina honed her skills in Risk Management and Plan Structure for successful families and private clients.

Structuring personal insurance plans for successful people is more of an art, than a science. For more than 35 years this has been Gina's forte. But not every family has a mansion; some have teenagers driving expensive cars, while others live in the mountains or at the beach and sail yachts, a few even fly or lease aircraft. What ever the combination of needs, Gina and her team have the know-how to craft an insurance portfolio that meets the needs of each family.

Gina is quick to point out that she does not handle life insurance, but that it is an important part of every successful family’s risk management portfolio. For these special needs Gina relies on the expertise of seasoned experts like Martin Strauss and others.

Gina also serves as our company's CFO and is diligent about making certain that all of our corporate commitments are met in a timely fashion.

Gina enjoys travel, snow skiing, gardening, yoga and puppies (not necessarily in that order). She and Dana split their time between Southern California and Washington State where the company maintains an office to serve clients in the Pacific Northwest.

Eric Schirding
Eric Schirding
Eric Schirding
- Western Division Account Executive -
License #0F18686

Eric was born and raised in La Canada and received his degree in Business Management from Cal-State Northridge, then immediately joined a well respected insurance carrier. After a fast-paced two year stint as a company underwriter, Eric parlayed that experience to transition over to the retail side of the insurance industry. After two additional years of retail insurance experience, Eric joined the Western Division of United Agencies in 2009.

Eric partners with middle market companies to help them become more profitable through the implementation of TCOR principles (Total Cost of Risk).

Eric's energy and commitment to his clients is evident the moment you meet him. Eric strives to go beyond being a 'trusted advisor' for his clients to being a 'trusted provider' of resources, information, and solutions.

Eric and his wife enjoy travel, sports and socializing with friends, they reside in Montrose.

Nick Latshaw
Nick Latshaw
Nick Latshaw
- Account Executive -
License #0D01285

Nick Latshaw is a native Californian, born and raised in a suburb of Los Angeles called Northridge.

He began his insurance career in 1992 with Chubb Insurance Company and worked his way through the chairs to ultimately become a seasoned commercial underwriter. In June of 2000, Nick left the carrier side of the business and joined a regional insurance brokerage as a Commercial Account Executive, and in 2012 he joined UWIB where he has furthered his skills and frequently serves as a role model to other leading members of the Commercial Insurance Division. Nick's expertise in coverage for the Entertainment, Construction and Non-Profit Sectors is superior to that of most brokers serving these communities.

Also in 2012, Nick earned his CIC designation, a professional designation which requires extensive insurance study.

Nick seeks to partner with growing middle market companies, committed to protecting their hard work through risk mitigation. Nick has seen the carrier side and the agency side and enjoys helping business owners protect what they have built.

Nick, his wife Nikki, and their four children reside in the foothill community of Sierra Madre.

Josh Acosta
Josh Acosta
- Seattle Division Account Executive -
License #0K84922

Josh was born and raised in Pasadena, California and received his degree in Communication from Seattle Pacific University. After graduation, Josh pursued a business opportunity with Allstate Insurance Company where he gained a strong foundational understanding of the technical side of insurance underwriting. During his years with Allstate, Josh was honored to be selected to receive advanced training in Allstate’s National underwriting headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois.

Josh accepted UWIB’s offer to lead our operations in the Pacific Northwest in May of 2016. He is based in our Seattle office.

While in college, Josh built his love for and knowledge of the specialty coffee industry at Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea (now part of Peet’s) and Milstead & Co - one of Seattle’s most honored Specialty Coffee shops, which has been recognized among the top 10 SCAA shops in the US.

Josh is an accomplished athlete, cyclist, and golfer. He has developed close working relationships within the coffee, bicycle, hand-crafted beer, wine and distillery industries. As a result, he is truly the perfect fit to lead our Seattle office with a close focus on risk management and insurance practices on these industries, all of which are prevalent in the Pacific Northwest.

Sue Larson
Sue Larson
Sue Larson
- Retired Commercial Lines Account Manager - Professional Services Division -
License #0498696

After fifteen years as a key member of UWIB, Sue Larson has retired to Huntington Beach with her husband, Dick Larson.

Sue grew up in Glendale California and fell in love with the Southern California beach communities. She took her first insurance job with California Casualty and later spent more than 17 years with Marsh & McLennan, the world's largest broker.

For the past fifteen years, Sue lead our Small Business and Technology Insurance Practice here at UWIB.

In January of 2017, knowing that she would be retiring from the insurance business at the end of 2017, Sue hand-picked and began to train her replacement. On October first, 2017, after working shoulder-to-shoulder with Sue throughout 2017, Mercedes Gonzales discretely stepped into Sue’s shoes and took control of the unit. Mercedes joined UWIB in 2014.

Sue and her husband reside in Huntington Beach, are active in their local community and enjoy spending time with their (very active) grandchildren.

Maria 2018
Maria Gonzales
Maria Gonzales
- Commercial Lines Account Manager, Customer Service Representative - Large Accounts Division -
License #0772415

Maria grew up in Southern California and entered the insurance business just after high school. Her first job in insurance was with Thomas V. Humphreys followed by Ingham, Coates & Payne in Pasadena. After working for Jackson & Jackson and Narver Associates, she and Dana re-established their business relationship when, in 2003, Maria joined the Western Division of United Agencies as a Commercial Lines Account Manager.

With more than 25 years of insurance experience, Maria brings a broad spectrum of knowledge to our team. Many of the accounts for which Maria is responsible generate sales in excess of \$150 Million.

In addition to being a very capable Commercial Account Manager, Maria is also "down to earth" and is a wonderful mentor to others in the company, in particular our younger staff members. But more than that, Maria is our "curve-ball hitter", and so when any of our associates are struggling with a complex or "outside the box" problem, Maria gets involved to help.

Maria, her husband and their daughter attend Lake Avenue Church and reside in Pasadena.

Jose Herrera
Jose Herrera
Jose Herrera
- Commercial Lines Account Manager, Customer Service Representative - Entertainment & Internet Division -
License #0C86382

Jose grew up in Southern California and entered the insurance business in 1999. As is the case for many people entering the world of insurance, Jose started in Personal Insurance and over time was promoted to the Commercial Lines Division of AON. Since 2006 Jose has worked with other regional insurance brokerage facilities as he has continued to hone his strengths and skills as a Commercial Lines Account Manager.

In 2014 Jose joined United Western Insurance Brokers where he focuses his professional energy on the Entertainment Industry, the Professional Services Industry, and the Manufacturing and Wholesale industries.

Jose is tech savvy and enjoys sharing his knowledge with his co-workers. He is bi-lingual (Spanish) and detail-oriented. He holds the professional designation of CISR (Certified Insurance Representative) and has taken steps toward securing his CIC designation (Certified Insurance Counsellor). Besides his insurance background, Jose also has some accounting experience.

Jose enjoys going out on weekends with his wife and three teenage children, especially if it involves a good movie.

Mercedes Gonzales
Mercedes Gonzales
Mercedes Gonzales
- Commercial Lines Account Manager - Professional Services Division -
License # 0K47752

Mercedes Gonzales began her formal insurance career in 2014 when she joined UWIB, but she has been surrounded by an insurance family practically her entire life.  In fact, Mercedes’ mother, Aunt and Cousin all work within the United Family of insurance agencies.

As an academic leader at University of California, Merced, she excelled and emerged with her BA then went in to teaching. After four more years, like others in her social circle, she was bitten by the insurance bug.

Mercedes is quick witted, smart and effective. She possesses an array of strengths which enable her to assist our business and professional services clients, and our company's executive team.

Mercedes is conscientious, a “must have” quality to be successful in the world of business insurance. In the world of Risk Management lives and property depend upon every team member doing their job on schedule, and accurately the first time.

Mercedes enjoys supporting her clients and being part of a team that strives to deliver excellent customer care.

Mercedes was born in Glendale and raised in Pasadena where she continues to reside. She is involved in her community church where she leads the media department and is part of the worship team.

Lillian 2018
Lillian Chen
Lillian Chen
- Commercial Lines Account Manager -
License #0K12495

Lillian grew up in Los Angeles, and attended the University of California, Riverside where she obtained her bachelor's degree in sociology. After graduating, Lillian went on to pursue a career in the insurance industry, familiarizing herself with all things Commercial Lines over the course of four years. Always one to go above and beyond, she obtained her CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representative) designation in 2016.

In her spare time Lillian enjoys spending time with her daughter, as well as her family and friends. On any given weekend Lillian may be on a hike in the local mountains, or at one of the many world-class museums in Los Angeles.

Monica Lopez
Monica Lopez
- Group Benefits Account Manager -
License #0F30446

In 1999, Monica Lopez entered the insurance industry as a receptionist. By 2011, she had earned her way up to being a full fledged Account Manager specializing in Group Benefits.

In 2015, she joined United Western Insurance Brokers as our Group Benefits Account Manager. Monica has extensive knowledge in Employee Benefits and is a seasoned problem solver. She is recognized for her exceptional customer care through her attention to detail and her ability to treat our clients like family.

Monica is a licensed Health & Life Agent and a Certified ACA Agent. Monica loves traveling to tropical destinations, dancing, romantic comedies & gardening. Monica and her family reside in Southern California.

Veronica Gonzales
Veronica Gonzales
Veronica Gonzales
- Private Client Services - Home, Auto, Renters, Condos, RV's Yachts, Aircraft, Personal Watercraft, Personal Umbrella and Private Ranching -
License #0K08931

Veronica Gonzales began her insurance career in 2003. In 2013 she joined us here at United Western Insurance Brokers as an Operations Assistant but quickly demonstrated the initiative needed to be promoted to Private Client Services Assistant, and ultimately to become a full-fledged Agent in our High Net Worth Division.

UWIB is very much a family oriented business and this is especially true in the case of Veronica's family where her mother, her aunt and her cousin are also part of the Corporate family here.

Veronica possesses a diverse array of attributes which are perfectly suited to meet the needs of our HNW clients and family members. Veronica is part of a team that strives to deliver truly excellent customer service. Her fast paced, fun and friendly approach to life fuels our office culture.

Veronica was born, raised and continues to reside here in Southern California with her husband and daughters. Veronica enjoys visiting with family members, baking goodies, and learning new things.

New Alicia 2
Alicia De Dios
Alicia De Dios
- Personal Insurance Specialist -
License #0776524

In 1985 Alicia began her insurance career as a receptionist at Glendale Insurance Agency. In 1989 she became an Account Manager and obtained her Property and Casualty License.

Alicia is a lifelong Angelino who enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and continually exploring Los Angeles. On the weekend you may find Alicia at the beach, the mountains, or somewhere in between. She is one of ten children and has a very large family, including many nieces and nephews whom she adores.

In addition to her years of experience as a Personal Lines Account Manager, Alicia brings many skills to the table. Her attention to detail alongside her personable nature make her an ideal fit at UWIB. Alicia is a wonderful resource for coverage needs and is highly-regarded among our team.

Sean Ortega
Sean Ortega
- Operations Manager -

Sean is a true Angeleno, having grown up in Manhattan Beach and later attending college at Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles. While at LMU Sean majored in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and was a member of the Entrepreneurship Association.

After college, Sean went on to Co-Found a successful Specialty Coffee Company in Michigan and later became Director of Operations for a mid-sized transportation company based in Southern California.

Sean is quite technically capable and is the point person for UWIB’s state-of-the-art cloud based data management system, the company’s cutting-edge Client Servicing website and spearheads the company’s Social Media campaigns. Sean brings positive energy and a can-do spirit to complement his seasoned entrepreneurial and operational excellence.

Eddie 2018
Eddie Dedovic
Eddie Dedovic
- Operations Assistant -

Eddie grew up in Torrance and loves living in sunny Southern California.

As an Operations Assistant, Eddie brings his many years of technological expertise to support UWIB's many technological endeavors. Eddie is a team player who loves solving problems for the organization.

Susie Nicastro
Susie Nicastro
- Accounting Manager -

Susie Nicastro has worked in the Insurance Industry since 2008 and in Accounting since 2002. In 2014 UWIB formed a strategic alliance with Susie’s company, Insurance Accounting Services. Through this alliance we were strengthened and today we draw on Susie’s seasoned talent to help us oversee all of our Corporate Accounting, assist us with Budgeting, and help us to analyze the many sources of financial data that we receive. As the result, we are empowered to make wise and strategic decisions that help us to maintain one of our core values, to be an organization that consistently operates at the highest degree of fiscal integrity.

Over her many years of providing Professional Service to our industry, Susie has honed her skills and it is our experience that Susie’s focused effort and commitment to excellence have made her into an excellent communicator and leader.

One of Susie’s most notable characteristics is her fundamental ability to remain objective in all that she does. Susie believes that integrity and open communication are vital qualities found in successful organizations.

Susie grew up in Simi Valley California and continues to call it her home where she lives with her husband, two boys and two dogs. When she’s not helping her clients to proactively manage their finances, Susie loves to travel with her family and read.

Milly Coates
- Reception Specialist -

Milly grew up in Southern California and entered the insurance business just after completing junior obedience school.

Her first job in insurance was as a reception specialist and she has been an active member of the Western Division of United Agencies for a considerable length of time.

With many years of experience as a reception host, Milly will welcome you when you visit the office, and she is very capable of cheering you up if you are having a bad day.

- Seattle Division Reception Specialist -
Licence #DOGGYIAM002

Henry was born and raised in Seattle, WA and was eager to get his insurance career rolling after completing his favorite course in school: Eating & Sleeping 101.

Henry's main job in our Seattle branch is to provide a good laugh and comfort during tough negotiations - he is also our Seattle branch's office manager and he starts each day by making sure that everyone's work station is stocked with enough snacks (for him!)

With a smile on his face, Henry welcomes all visitors to the UWIB office, he'll even greet you with a tennis ball in mouth!

Penny Mae
Penny Mae
- Seattle Office Personal Trainer -
License #DOGGYIAM003

Penny Mae is the latest furry addition to the team at UWIB! She assists our bulldog Henry at the Seattle Office, and encourages everyone at the office to get plenty of exercise.

Penny Mae lives by the motto "work hard, play hard, and sleep hard". On weekends you can find Penny Mae exploring the beautiful natural surroundings of the Seattle area.