Insightful information for you | Spring 2022 GT GERMANIA TODAY
Page 4 Going beyond
5 Texas wildflowers to look out for this spring Page 6 How to maneuver auto repair delays Page 8
T Germania Farm Mutual Insurance Association 507 Highway 290 East Brenham, Texas 77833 800-392-2202 germaniainsurance.com T G Spring 2022 | Volume 48, Issue 1 GERMANIA TODAY Insightful information for you
4 Going above and beyond: Using
drone technology to give peace of mind
5 Texas wildflowers to look out for this spring
3 8 9
A Message from our President
How to maneuver auto repair delays
Rentals are increasing: What you need to know
10 10 11
GFM 2022 Director Elections it’s time to cast your vote
President & Chief Executive Officer Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Director of Communication
Recipe - Pimento cheese spread
3 reasons why you may need Buried Utility Line coverage
Elizabeth Marburger Editor Geoffrey Ullrich
2 | Germania Today
A message from OUR PRESIDENT
T Paul Ehlert President & Chief Executive Officer T
he wildflowers are blooming, the weather is warming, the days are getting longer, and daylight savings time has arrived – this can only mean one thing: spring is here in Texas. I’m sure we all let out a collective sigh of relief when we made it through this winter without the intense snow and ice experienced in 2021. We thank our customers for taking time to prepare their property and vehicles for extreme or unexpected weather events. Every little bit of preparation helps in these situations. We remain focused on the severe drought conditions that extend across the state at this time and the increased risk wildfires present. The Bastrop area did experience an unexpected wildfire in January, which was fortunately extinguished within a week with minimal damage. Germania was able to use this opportunity to pilot our drone technology to assist our policyholders affected by the fires (read on to learn more). Spring – particularly the month of April – is a busy time of year for Germania and its agents. It’s time to attend your Local Chapter meetings to stay up to date on the latest business, elect your Local Chapter leaders, and network with your fellow members. After all, you are the most important guest in attendance! Our members
are an essential part of the meetings and reinforce our membership-owned farm mutual insurance concept – setting Germania Farm Mutual Insurance Association apart from most other insurers in Texas. We will also continue to hold our Board of Director elections via mail or online. Ballots were mailed March 25, and you may cast your vote either by return mail or online during the month of April. This is your opportunity to have a voice in the organization by voting on those who will provide direction and oversight for the company. Meetings and elections aside, it’s time to head outside to soak up the sun! As I previously mentioned, the wildflowers – including our beloved bluebonnet – are blooming. In this issue, we’re sharing a few of our favorite Texas wildflowers with you and where you can find them across the Lone Star State. Do you have a favorite Texas wildflower? Tag us into your photos on social media. I’d love to see what blooms in your corner of the state. With school, sports, and prom in full swing, don’t forget to pencil in the date of your Germania Local Chapter meeting and our Director elections! As always, thank you for trusting Germania with your insurance needs.
Spring 2022 | 3
Using drone technology to give peace of mind and above beyond: Going
Actual drone image of Bastrop wildfire damage
4 | Germania Today
I n January, Bastrop County experienced a wildfire scare reminiscent of the deadly disaster in 2011. Fortunately, the Rolling Pines Fire didn’t wreak as much havoc, but Germania’s Catastrophe Response Unit wasn’t taking any chances. The fully functional mobile unit deployed to the area immediately to assess the damage – with a new tool up their sleeves. Germania partnered with Houston-based company, Bees360, to pilot the use of drones to inspect 37 Germania- insured properties located in the fire’s path. After receiving special permission from the residents, local authorities, and the Federal Aviation Administration, trained drone pilots conducted flyovers even as the fire continued to burn. “By going in early with drones, we are able to determine the damage days before an adjuster can get access to the scene,” said Germania’s Catastrophe Claims Manager Jeremy Hardwick. “This gives our customers peace of mind – and a head start on response needs – while they are away from their homes.” The drones circled each residence, inspecting the home exterior, roof, and surrounding property. If fire or smoke damage was detected, Germania’s claims team notified the homeowner as soon as possible to initiate the claims process. Utilizing drone technology to service claims offers a glimpse into the future. However, Germania is reserving these tools for a case-by-case basis. Safety hazards stemming from large- scale wildfires, tornados, and hurricanes typically pose risks for adjusters to service claims quickly and safely. Drones can provide a safe and secure alternative to these risks.
The importance of good home inventory If you had to file a claim, would you be able to list all the contents of your home and their value? Most people simply don’t realize how much they actually have, and under the stress of a loss, it’s easy to forget key valuables in your home. The best way to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage is to prepare an inventory. Here are a few home inventory tips to help you keep record of your household goods and personal possessions in case of fire, theft, or other disaster. • Complete a home inventory checklist to help you determine the amount of insurance that should be carried. • Take photos of individual items in your inventory as well as the layout of each room. Store the photos in the same place as this inventory, in a secure place away from your home or in a fire-proof safe. • Include the serial numbers of all items that have them. • Keep all receipts for major items in your inventory. • Take photos of closets and drawers open to show quantities of clothing inside. • When taking photos of a shiny or reflective surface, hold your camera at a 45-degree angle to avoid glare. • Update your home inventory at least once a year to ensure that it remains current. • Add new items to your home inventory as soon as they are purchased and delete items that have been replaced. • Keep family photo negatives or digital files backed up in the cloud or on an external hard drive in a safe place. • Don’t forget about the contents of your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Food has value and may be reimbursed in case of a loss. If you need assistance, please contact your local Germania authorized agent. They will be glad to assist you.
“Germania is dedicated to providing our traditional customer service with a handshake and kind word,” Hardwick said. “Drones will never replace this approach, just enhance the speed of service in times of serious need.”
Spring 2022 | 5
to look out for this spring wildflowers 5Texas
6 | Germania Today
A s we march into spring, fields everywhere will begin blossoming with colorful Texas wildflowers. Of course, every Texan is fond of our state flower, the Texas Bluebonnet, but there are thousands of different varieties of wildflowers across the state that are worth mentioning. Join us as we take a look at five of our favorite Texas wildflowers and see if you can spot all of them this spring! 1. Lazy daisy, Aphanostephus ramosissimus Also known as the plains dozedaisy, or plains lazydaisy, this is one of the many varieties of daisy that can be found growing wild in Texas. Growing to about 18
3. Evening primrose, Oenothera speciosa The evening primrose, also called pinkladies, buttercups, or showy evening primrose, are pink flowers with soft, white, and yellow centers. The name speciosa
means “showy.” They are native to grasslands of Kansas, Missouri,
Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and of course, Texas, but can be found as far south as Mexico. You’ll often find them in
open fields alongside other Texas wildflowers, adding a dash of pink to a dazzling array of colors. 4. Texas thistle, Cirsium texanum
inches, it is a beautiful white flower with dozens of long white petals radiating out of a central yellow disk. It is common in many parts of the southwestern and south central United States and grows in most parts of Texas with the exception of East Texas. During the spring and summer, it can be found blooming in wide open areas such as fields, meadows, and along roadsides. 2. Indian blanket, Gaillardia pulchella
Also called purple thistle, it is often considered a weed, but produces unique purple flowers that are just as lovely as any other wildflower. Their long, thin purple and pink flowers are arranged in a dome or sphere- like shape and are perfect for pollinators with long tongues or beaks - like butterflies and hummingbirds. This variety of thistle can be found in most parts of the state with the exception of the Panhandle. It is found in prairies, pastures, and open fields and blooms throughout the spring and summer beginning in April. 5. Common vetch, Vicia sativa Sometimes considered a weed, the common
vetch, or vetch, is often sown in fields for livestock fodder or green manure. The flowers are most commonly a bright
pink shade, and in rare cases white, and each branch has a creeping vine-like tendril that helps guide it as it grows. After pollination, the flowers produce little pods with fruit inside - it’s a legume! Vetch can be found in fields, meadows, roadsides, and residential areas. Although its current territory occupies the eastern half of the state, it has been found gradually expanding west. Want to learn about even more wildflowers Texas has to offer? Check out our full blog at germaniainsurance. com/blogs.
Indian blankets, or firewheels, are part of the sunflower family, but have distinct color patterns that inspire their common name. They are most commonly reddish orange in the center and transition to yellow on the outer part of the flower, but some varieties can be completely red. They are found all over the state in grasslands, prairies, pastures, and alongside roads during the spring. Indian blankets are yet another Texas wildflower that support pollinators - honey bees love them!
Spring 2022 | 7
auto repair delays How to maneuver
What is causing these delays? Many factors are contributing to auto repair delays: 1. Repair shops are struggling with a shortage of parts because of significant backorders and delays. The parts shortage has been a result of some manufacturers slowing or halting production during the pandemic. 2. There are also delays in shipping and transportation. Many auto repair shops and Germania Premier Service locations are waiting weeks before receiving parts. 3. There is a shortage of skilled mechanics and auto repair technicians on site to work on vehicles. “We thank our customers for their understanding and patience,” said Jensen. “All auto repair shops across the country - no matter the insurance carrier - are dealing with the same shortages in parts, materials, and labor, as well as transportation and delivery delays.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted customer experience for those seeking auto repairs. The supply chain crisis is fueling problems for the auto repair industry, and they too are having difficulties keeping up with demand. The high demand for repairs and competition over limited parts means repairs are taking longer and causing an increase in repair cost. “I’ve worked in the industry for over 25 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Director of Casualty Field Claim Operation Greg Jensen. “It’s a big impact. Lots of our vehicles are in the in-between stage where they’ve been repaired, painted, and are ready to be put together, yet they’re missing a bracket or car part that is backordered or currently unavailable.” We recommend that you schedule appointments for estimates as soon as you can and be prepared for some delays. Once the estimate is complete, there may be delays in locating, ordering, and receiving the parts for repair.
8 | Germania Today
Rentals increasing: are What you need to know
We want to hear from you Your experience with Germania is important to us. We’re on a quest to learn more about your thoughts on our claims process, coverage satisfaction, and digital experience. Beginning this spring, Germania will be emailing surveys to randomly selected policyholders to capture your feedback. Emails from email@example.com and the links within are safe, and we encourage Boosting your service while on the road Cut down on wait times and out-of-network costs with Germania’s new reimbursement option for Roadside Assistance! Policyholders with the Roadside Assistance coverage on their Germania auto policy can now contact their own local towing service if our roadside assistance vendor, Questx, is unable to find an available service provider in their network. Following your service, email your towing receipt to qtsfaxreimbursements@ questsoftware.com for reimbursement consideration. We hope this change eliminates longer wait times and provides a better customer experience for our policyholders. If you have additional questions about the Roadside Assistance program, please contact your Germania agent or Germania’s claims department at 877-437-6264.
Rental coverage is an inexpensive, yet necessary, option Germania offers to its policyholders. When working with your agent, there’s a chance you may not be asked what type of rental vehicle you would prefer in the event you may need one. We have observed that many of our insureds prefer to drive a rental comparable to their covered vehicle. Are you willing to pay the premium for this? The better question may be: Are you willing to pay the out-of-pocket expenses that may occur if you don’t have enough coverage? Let us help you break it down: the most common coverage selection is $35 per day. This may have been your choice or suggested by your agent. As Germania is experiencing in other industries, rental rates continue to increase, and this $35 preselected coverage will no longer protect you from out-of- pocket expenses. In fact, the lowest rate currently offered by Germania’s rental car partner, Enterprise, is $31.99. With taxes, the total amount will exceed the $35 coverage and result in an out-of-pocket expense for you. Germania offers a $50 coverage option to help mitigate out-of- pocket expenses should you need a rental car.. However, the $75- or $100-a-day coverage options would work best if you are needing a larger vehicle due to family size or farming needs (i.e. renting an SUV or truck). By increasing rental coverage limits, you can help minimize your out-of-pocket expenses – for just a few dollars more a month. Take a few minutes to discuss with your agent your rental vehicle preference and coverage options offered through Germania.
you to respond. Thank you for trusting Germania for your insurance needs!
Spring 2022 | 9
It’s time to cast your vote GFM 2022 Director Elections As a policyholder, you have the ultimate control over Germania Farm Mutual (GFM) Insurance Association through your election of its Board
GFM 2022 director candidates GFM’s Board is currently 16 in number, and each board member serves a term of three years. These terms are staggered to ensure only one-third of the board seats are up for election each year. This year ’s candidates vying for the six vacant board seats are Donald “Scott” Phillips, James “Bryant” Holub, Suzanne Loehr, Michael Bayless, Dathan Voelter, and John Caley. Pictures and biographical information for each candidate is included in the ballot packet mailed to you or can be viewed online at www.germaniainsurance.com/about/corporate-governance. Germania will make a $1 donation to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in support of childhood cancer research for every member who votes in the director election. Each member will also be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win one of 25 $200 Amazon gift cards.
of Directors. In April, you, as a GFM policyholder, will have the opportunity to vote on this year ’s slate of directors.
Ballot packets were mailed to all GFM policyholders March 25. Look for the envelope with Germania’s name and logo and labeled “Germania Director Ballot Enclosed.” You can either vote online or by
return mail. Voting is easy, and we encourage you to participate as a member of this organization.
Pimento cheese spread Directions:
Ingredients: • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated or shredded • 1 (4 oz) jar diced pimentos, drained • ½ cup mayonnaise • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1. Combine pimentos with mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and ground pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Add cheese and mix well. 2. Cover and chill in refrigerator. Can be used for making sandwiches or as a dip with crackers or celery sticks.
• 1/8 tsp. garlic powder • Ground pepper, to taste
10 | Germania Today
Adapted from the Food Network
Buried Utility Line 3 reasons why coverage you may need
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET As of Dec. 31, 2021 (unaudited)
Admitted Assets Cash and Investments
$680,727,363 10,715,764 155,091,512 4,383,290 23,066,408
Real Estate and Equipment
Accrued Investment Income Reinsurance Recoverable
Net Deferred Tax Asset
15,532,882 6.031,663 15,532,882
Federal Income Tax Recoverable
Other Assets Total Assets
Liabilities and Surplus Unearned Premiums
Loss and Loss Adjustment Expenses
Life Future Policy Benefits Federal Income Tax Payable
Other Liabilities Total Liabilities
54,808,694 633,562,498 270,504,469 $904,066,967
Total Liabilities and Surplus
Having to repair or replace buried utility lines can be unexpected and financially crippling news to many homeowners. As many water, gas, and electrical service lines continue to age, homeowners now more than ever need protection from imminent and expensive damage to their buried utility lines. Here’s three reasons why you may need to add Germania’s new Buried Utility Line coverage to your property policy: 1. The United States’ infrastructure rating is poor. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, America’s infrastructure rating across several categories, including buried utility line condition, is a D+. It’s not a matter of if a buried utility line will become damaged, but rather when. 2. Damage to a buried utility line comes in many different forms. From freezes to root invasions, damage to buried utility lines is sneaky and sudden. Fortunately, Germania’s new Buried Utility Line coverage covers leaks, breaks, tears, ruptures, collapses, and electrical arcing. 3. It’s not just about damage to the utility line. When you experience damage to your buried utility lines, it doesn’t just affect the line – it may affect your way of life. Additional coverage and service enhancements can expedite expense coverage to make immediate repairs, reimburse you for living and temporary equipment expenses, and reward you for making efficient equipment upgrades. Don’t let the threat of weak or aging buried utility lines interrupt your lifestyle. Germania and your Germania authorized agent are ready to help you gain the protection you need for your home – and what lies below it!
CONSOLIDATED INCOME STATEMENT As of Dec. 31, 2021 (unaudited) Underwriting Income Net Premiums Written
$602,060,661 38,940,540 $563,120,121 $384,144,993 60,969,938 168,293,251 3,878,452 $617,266,634
Change in Unearned Premiums
Net Premiums Earned Net Losses Incurred Loss Expenses Incurred
Underwriting Expenses Incurred Increase in Life Future Policy Benefits Net Losses and Expenses Incurred
Underwriting Gain (Loss)
Net Investment Income
Net Income (Loss) before Taxes
(34,003,961) (6,331,524) $(27,672,437)
Federal Income Taxes Net Income (Loss)
CLAIMS REPORTED BY PERIL Storm
$160,136,286 32,983,603 23,499,758
Water Theft Other
Spring 2022 | 11
PO Box 645 Brenham, TX 77834-0645 GT GERMANIA TODAY
The perfect Read our latest blog
Spring in Texas means lots of sunshine warming the lingering winter chill - the perfect recipe for thunderstorms. As we leave winter behind and move into spring, we also move into Texas severe weather season! Continue reading at germaniainsurance.com/blogs
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