Our 7 Step Elevate Process

At Next Level Insurance Agency we pride ourselves in working with our clients to help elevate their people and business.  After decades of experience, we know this just doesn’t happen, it takes intentionality and strategy to get results.  Our Elevate Process takes a deep dive into your industry, culture, market, claims, and technology, and looks for emerging benefit solutions to address your unique needs.

Our elevate process provides clients an upper hand in their respective industries. Next Level clients not only achieve higher results with a more efficient benefit offering but also see better outcomes for their employees and improved employee satisfaction.

While our competitors typically wait until the last minute to start working on your renewal, we begin months prior to proactively work with underwriters and your leadership to yield better results.  With all these factors Next Level can deliver the right custom solution to Elevate your Benefits, Elevate your People, and Elevate your Business!


Discovery &

Learn what you’re doing today, where you want to go and how we can get you there.



Our due diligence process to gather all pertinent information about your business and employees.


Market Analysis
& Negotiation

Develop a relevant plan. Negotiate terms and rates. Build client-specific solutions.



Present solutions based on client needs and competitive market. Educate on variances. Discuss client decision.



Provide revised information to underwriters. Negotiate final rates and terms. Obtain client agreement.



Create materials. Educate employees. Integrate technologies. Capture data and install.



Monitor. Review results. Implement tactics. Manage compliance. Provide client and employee advocacy. Manage employee transitions.

Our passion is to make a difference by elevating the employee benefits experience.

Our Story

Founded in 2016, after a decade of working in the industry, our team recognized all too often that benefits agents’ incentives were not aligned to the long-term success of their clients. Benefits agencies would pay the advisor to get a client in the door and then hand the client off to a service person who was extremely limited in their scope. In fact, most large agencies can take years to innovate as they have to lose enough business before they start entertaining the idea of  innovation.

Additionally, even if you found a great agent, most of the time the agency would not invest in employee growth and development.  We are on a mission to change that; we want our entire team trained the same way so everyone can grow, excel, and deliver an elevated client experience!  This process allows our staff to train with our agents, so they are up to date on emerging market solutions.  We are so committed to our employee development and growth we even filed our company training with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) for continuing education credit!

By looking at emerging trends we can truly be an innovator and early adapter in the benefit space compared to an out-of-date industry laggard who only changes when they lose clients.  We know our strength in building and maintaining life-long relationships and we invest heavily to deliver on that promise.

Another cornerstone belief has been to go where our clients need us instead of trying to get our clients to change or fit into our limited solution.  Our clients benefit from our:

  • innovative benefits strategies our competition doesn’t offer,
  • human resources support,
  • employee advocacy, and
  • technology solutions to improve the quality of your overall experience.

We design and deliver solutions that help employers manage risk and optimize benefits, all while strengthening their business through educated and engaged employees, and a healthier bottom line.

Our commitment to our clients does not stop when you sign off on your benefits package. Rather, we are just getting started with our proactive strategic planning and we commit to being more than just your benefits broker, but your partner — always in your corner and looking ahead to make benefits choices that make sense for your business.

Core Values


Being Nimble


Commitment to Excellence


Sense of  Urgency



I appreciate Next Level team for being so patient and quick to respond! We have big plans ahead and feel lucky we get to partner with you all!
- April Grace, Recruiting Firm

Meet Our Team

Kate O’Connell

Kate literally “grew up” in the employee benefits business.  At the age of 13 she started working summers and helping in her family’s insurance agency.  During that time, she aided in the transition into a full-service employee benefits business where educating clients was a priority.  Kate, being a lifelong advocate for education earned a BS in Early Childhood Development at Texas A&M University and later her Masters degree in Learning Therapy from SMU.  As a schoolteacher, she would moonlight in her family’s agency and was often nicknamed “FEMA” for anytime an employee left she was brought in to fill the gap, do the hiring, training and set up the person for success.

In 2006 she married her husband who has a degree in Finance, a MBA, and has taught as an adjunct professor.  Sharing a love of education and creativity she brought him into the business to help innovate meaningful solutions for people and companies.

Since 2016 they built a team which has a national scope driven to make a difference.  Kate is proud Next Level has helped hundreds of employers and tens of thousands of employees to achieve better outcomes to health, wellbeing, and reduce their spend.  This focus has driven a higher overall employee satisfaction for their employer clients and helps guide the culture of Next Level Insurance Agency.

In her spare time Kate loves to travel, spend time with her 4 children, and root for her Aggies & Dallas Cowboys!

Ashley Mihelich
Director of Operations

Ashley Mihelich, Director of Operations of Next Level Insurance, is committed to creating a seamless onboarding and renewal process for every client. Born in Plano, Texas, Ashley graduated summa cum laude with a BBA in Finance and a minor in Financial Planning from the University of North Texas in 2003. Ashley has worked in the industry of financial operations since 2008 and has successfully operated and grown three companies.

Her hobbies include sewing and ballet. Ashley is a member of SHRM® and her expertise lies in process creation, time management and financial oversight.

I chose to join Next Level because I enjoy working within a high-achieving, hard-working team. My job at Next Level affords me the opportunity to play a role in all aspects of small business management, while being focused on growth and creating new ideas and solutions. I feel appreciated, valued and cared about as an individual at Next Level.

Hollie Harris
Business Development

Hollie Harris, Business Development, is committed to bringing intentional and creative solutions to employers for one of their largest expenses, employee benefits.

Born in Dallas, TX and now residing in St. Augustine, FL, Hollie is a licensed sales professional and has been in the employee benefits industry for almost a decade.

Her hobbies include spending time with her husband and kids, reading, volunteering for local non-profit organizations, and going to the beach.

Hollie’s expertise lies in employer and consumer education and enhancing the overall benefits experience for both employers and employees.

I chose to work at Next Level because our agency makes an intentional effort to be part of the change for a better future in benefits. We have a unique approach that you cannot find replicated most anywhere else. We truly care about our clients and doing what is best for them above all else. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of such an amazing and hardworking team!

Maribel Velazquez
Account Coordinator

Maribel Velazquez, (bilingual) Account Coordinator, is committed to our company’s principles in providing exceptional customer service, a seamless renewal process, and presentations of projects with integrity. Born in Weslaco, Texas, and raised in the Houston suburbs, a Conroe Tiger at heart. Maribel has worked in the insurance industry and is a Licensed Sales Professional since 2015. Her hobbies include spending time with her family, dancing, singing, and cooking. Maribel’s expertise lies in customer service, renewal experience, and educating clients during & after open enrollment.

One of the many reasons that I enjoy working for Next Level is knowing that we strive to help our clients find the best benefits options for their employees. By working hand in hand with our carrier representatives, we are able to negotiate rates, renewals, etc., making it possible to offer greater savings to our clients.

Regina Rodriguez
Account Manager

Regina Rodriguez (bilingual), Account Manager of Next Level Insurance, is committed to assisting clients and potential clients on acquiring the best benefit plan for their company. Born in Dallas, TX, raised in Amarillo, TX, Regina graduated with a BS in Mathematics from West Texas A&M University. Regina has worked exclusively in employee benefits since 2020. Her hobbies include travel, hiking, soccer and spending time with friends and family. Regina’s expertise lies in creating a detailed market analysis for middle and large groups while providing an exceptional customer service.

Being a part of Next Level has given me the opportunity to grow and expand my knowledge of the insurance business. I enjoy having the opportunity to assist our clients everyday to accurately process renewals and answer questions regarding their benefits. Being a part of a great team and working hand in hand from beginning to end with our clients has been an amazing experience.

Sierra Hill
Account Manager

Sierra Hill, Account Manager, is

Mary Vega
Account Manager

Mary Vega, Account Manager, is

Dana Call
Medicare Educator

Dana Call spent several years as a Medicare Advantage healthcare consultant before becoming a Medicare insurance agent.  She is a business partner of Next Level Insurance Agency who offers Medicare support to clients and employees.  Working as an independent Broker/Agent, Dana is contracted with most major healthcare insurance carriers which allows her to focus on recommending the most appropriate Medicare solution for each person.  Previously, she spent over 30 years in the corporate business world, in numerous leading industries, in both executive and consultant positions.  Not affiliated with Medicare, CMS, or the Department of Health & Human  Services (DHHS).


Expect more from your benefits agency.

Book Your Consultation