Insightful information for you | Winter 2019 T GERMANIA TODAY
Germania launches new pay by phone option Page 6 Three technology trends transforming the claims process Page 7
4 How to minimize holiday waste
GERMANIA TODAY Insightful information for you
Safety advice for holiday tech gifts
Winter 2019 | Volume 45, Issue 4
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Germania Farm Mutual Insurance Association 507 Highway 290 East Brenham, Texas 77833 800-392-2202 germaniainsurance.com
A message from our President
Germania launches new pay by phone option
Three technology trends transforming the claims process
President & Chief Executive Officer Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Director of Communication
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Germania expands mobile services for customers on the go
Elizabeth Kamenicky Editor Geoffrey Ullrich
Recipes of the season
Blog... Winterizing: How to prepare your property for Texas winters
Germania Today (USPS 086230) Published quarterly by Germania Farm Mutual Insurance Association Postmaster: Send address changes to Germania Today at P.O. Box 645, Brenham, TX 77834. Periodical postage paid at Brenham, Texas and additional mailing offices. Subscription price is 50 cents per year included in yearly premium.
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A message from OUR PRESIDENT
Paul Ehlert President & Chief Executive Officer
he holidays are upon on us and a new decade is quickly approaching. With each new year comes a new opportunity to further enhance our company to better serve you, our policyholders. Our claims team has expanded Germania Premier Service, our network of trusted auto repair facilities, to over 350 partners. We have also incorporated the use of iPads to submit claim information more quickly and securely. It’s true: technology has improved speed and efficiency in nearly all aspects of our lives. Our policyholders can now complete just about every task – paying your bill, filing a claim, viewing documents, accessing auto ID cards, and updating contact information – from your computer or mobile phone. However, at Germania, we believe that an excellent customer experience is achieved by intertwining technology with personal service. We pride ourselves on enhancing technology to ensure efficiency and convenience for you, and also continuously improving our live customer support with service training and more precise call routing. We were excited to introduce a new product in 2019 - replacement cost coverage for farm machinery. Ask your
agent about it and look for more coverage enhancements coming in 2020! As a farm mutual, Germania strives to put the needs of our policyholders first. Please don’t hesitate to offer your suggestions and comments at http://bit.ly/germania- feedback. We welcome your thoughts for improving our product offerings and our services! Personally, I believe the best compliment Germania can receive is your willingness to share your positive experiences with your family and friends. Technology aside, we know the most effective advertising is word of mouth. In fact, people are 90% more likely to trust recommendations from their neighbor over any other form of advertising, according to the research group Nielsen. As you gather with your loved ones this month, I would be honored for you to share your experiences as a valued member of Germania Insurance. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. Thank you for continuing to trust us to take care of your insurance needs.
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holiday waste how to minimize Christmas cleanup:
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Switch : After your old traditional Christmas lights have died and you’ve recycled them, consider switching to LED lights! They are brighter, last longer, and more energy efficient than traditional Christmas lights. Picking Up the Packaging Creative alternatives : Just because you want to wrap a gift doesn’t mean you have to use wrapping paper! Old newspapers, magazines, comics, and paper grocery bags can serve as unique alternatives to set your gift apart. Gift bags and tissue paper are also great options that can be used year after year. Reuse : Bows and ribbons often wind up in the paper recycling bin as they cling to ripped wrapping. This can cause huge problems for the paper pulping process, so it’s important to remove them. Rather than purchasing new ones each year, consider keeping a collection of different styles and colors to decorate gifts in the years to come. Make your own : If you’re feeling creative, consider making your own bows! Use old scraps of wrapping paper or colorful recycled construction paper to fold your own. There are many online guides that show you how to make a variety of fun bows to decorate your gifts. Recycle : Can you imagine how many boxes are shipped during the holiday season? Fortunately, cardboard is recyclable in most places. Check with your local city or municipal waste collection program for details on what types of cardboard can be collected and recycled. Break them down : Break down leftover boxes and save them for your next move or for wrapping gifts next year. You can even use your boxes to ship old Christmas lights to one of the aforementioned recycling programs!
anta may leave dozens of wonderfully wrapped gifts beneath our decorated trees, but who cleans up after they’ve all been torn open? Each holiday season, Americans produce on average 25% more garbage than any other time of the year. Before you put it all on the curb, check out our Christmas cleanup guide to Repurpose it : If you have a chipper-shredder, turn leftover trees into mulch for your garden. If you don’t have a chipper or a chain saw, you can typically rent them from your local hardware store for a day. Recycle it : Some cities will even pick up your tree and recycle it for you. Check with your local waste collection service or your city or county office and ask if they do so. Rent it : Did you know that you can actually rent a live Christmas tree? It’s true! There are companies that will deliver a live tree to your home for a set period of time. At the end of the rental period, they pick it up and replant it so it can bring joy to a new home next year! Donate it : If you’ve outgrown your artificial tree or simply want to replace it, don’t throw your old one out! You can help bring the Christmas spirit to other households by donating your unwanted artificial trees to a place like Goodwill. Wrapping Up Your Christmas Lights Repurpose : Traditional Christmas lights are made of copper wire, plastic insulation, and glass. Most of this can be recycled! There are a number of organizations that will happily take your broken lights and extract useful materials to be repurposed. The company Holiday LEDs will even give you a discount coupon when you send your old lights to them to be recycled! Donate : If your lights still work but you’d like to replace them, consider donating them. learn how to minimize holiday waste! Cleaning Up Your Christmas Tree
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Phonemenu upgrade boasts convenience, efficiency Have you heard? Germania has updated our phone menu system to ensure a better customer experience! Callers dialing Germania’s local, toll free, and claims direct phone numbers are routed through new automated menu options to better direct callers to the individual who can best assist them with their question or issue. If needed, callers will still have the option to speak with a live operator. Protect your largest investments with new coverage options Machinery is one of the largest investments a farm business can make. As a major asset, farm machinery must be closely monitored and maintained, and eventually replaced. How you insure your equipment – from your tractor to your baler – is key to protecting your investments in the event of a major setback. Germania has expanded its farm and ranch machinery coverage options to include replacement cost coverage as an optional policy endorsement. In the event of damage or loss, a replacement cost policy will help pay to repair the unit to its original condition or replace it with the same or similar model. Replacement cost coverage is a great option for those who don’t feel actual cash value – or depreciated value coverage – is the right coverage for their farm machinery. The replacement cost coverage option is only available for farm machinery units less than 7 model years old and will result in a premium increase. This coverage option will become available when your policy renews in 2020. Please note this coverage contains limitations for tires and tubes. Speak with your agent about how replacement cost coverage for farm machinery can help you better protect your investments.
pay by phone option Germania launches new
Germania is giving customers a new option for paying their bill! Policyholders can now make payments over the phone with no additional fees by using our automated information services. Call 1-800-392-2202 (toll free) or 979-836-5224 (local) and press 2 to be directed to Germania’s automated information services.
Callers will be transferred to JPMorgan Chase Bank to complete the payment process. After business hours, policyholders must call Chase directly at 1-844-975-0517. Policyholders should have their policy number, billing ZIP code, and credit or debit card number handy to make a payment. Callers have the option to transfer back to Germania to speak with a billing customer service representative during business hours. Germania policyholders will be able to make payments over the phone with an electronic check beginning Dec. 23. You will be asked to enter your bank account number and routing number to make a payment. In addition to the pay by phone option, payments can still be made by mail, in person, and online via QuickPay or through your GermaniaConnect for Policyholders account. Pay by phone is not yet available for Germania Life or Germania General Agency customers.
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the claims process
1. Automated Fraud Detection “Fraud in insurance is victimless.”
do the work for us to ensure your claim is assigned immediately to the most qualified adjuster to prevent additional delays later in the process. You and your agent can report specific collision causes (backing up, changing lanes, etc.) or loss types (hail, fire, flying objects, etc.). Identifying the severity of the damage or injuries up front will help determine where to best route the claim. 3. iPad Technology Damaged roofs are no fun – for either the policyholder or the claims adjuster. Climbing steep, worn rooftops is not only dangerous, but leaves little room for sudden movement and extra baggage. This year, Germania piloted the use of Apple iPad® tablets complete with a protective case and cross-body shoulder strap to inspect damage associated with a claim, particularly on rooftops. The success of the trial run was so overwhelmingly positive that all Germania field adjusters are now using the tablets as their main estimating tool. This mobile technology is used in conjunction with an adjuster’s laptop and mobile phone to generate estimates in real time, increasing efficiency and accuracy. In addition to field work, our in-office adjusters will also have the ability to use the iPad as an interactive tool to connect with our customers. Most importantly, we hope to make the claims process as seamless as possible for you – from incident to settlement.
This common myth can be challenged by the fact that insurers devote large amounts of money and manpower to detect fraud, resulting in a drain on a company’s resources and increased insurance rates as a whole. In this day and age, not only has the number of cases for insurance fraud exponentially increased but also the sophistication in which it is conducted. Gone are the days of manual investigations into fraudulent activity. Germania has recently entered into the realm of predictive analytics to automatically flag claims that have predictors of potential fraud. Claims are automatically referred to Germania’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) for review, expediting an otherwise prolonged process. While we still depend on our claim partners to identify indicators and make manual referrals, this technology allows claims without merit to be intercepted before settlement. 2. Database Enhancements The insurance claims process involves a series of procedures from the time your agent is alerted to when a settlement is made. The First Notice of Loss (FNOL) is the first step in this process and is crucial in kicking off an efficient claims cycle. Germania has made several technical enhancements to its database to ensure complete and accurate FNOL data has been entered from the start. Our system will
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advice for Safety holiday tech gifts
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echnology can be an exciting – and tricky – gift for young people at Christmas. Every parent wants to keep their children safe from inappropriate content and dangerous people. Game consoles, phones, and tablets are equipped with protective apps and restrictive browsing capabilities, but a seasoned hacker can find their way around these barriers. Find out more about how to protect your children before and after these gifts arrive under the tree. Online Safety The most fool-proof way to keep your kids safe is to monitor what they’re watching and for how long. Your interest will go a long way to limit the possibility of them wandering into the wrong hands. Around one in five children is exploited online, likely because only about half of parents are even looking at what their kids are watching, according to privacy advocate organization, Pixel Privacy. It’s easy to give kids a phone just for a little peace and quiet, but a phone isn’t like television. There are too many ways for a kid to click into something they shouldn’t or to interact with someone who is out for their own gain. Talking to Your Kids Along with watching your kids, talking to your kids can go a long way too. They probably already know not to talk to strangers in the physical world, but it’s much easier to drift into a conversation with someone online. This can be tricky because chat rooms can be a great way for kids to meet peers around the world and expose them to new
cultures. The reality is that criminals know how to pose as practically anyone. Let them know the dangers of giving out personal information, and never allow kids to upload or download photos or videos without your permission. Setting Up Devices Let’s be clear: we are not suggesting that parents can monitor their children at all times. That would be as counterproductive as it would be destructive for your child’s personal sense of freedom. Paying attention to their activities and talking to them will stem the danger, but it can’t eliminate it entirely. Here are a few possibilities if you’re looking for additional assistance: • Free ISP options: Internet Service Providers, such as Comcast and AT&T, often provide free parental controls for parents across devices. You can also pay for additional options according to your internet plan. • Kaspersky: Made for Android or iOS mobile devices, this device tracks children’s activity online and blocks dangerous websites — no matter where they are. • Circle: This small device that works across devices on your network, and it’s available for both iPhone and Android devices. Whether traditional internet or wireless, it scrubs your home network, so it’s as safe as possible. Regardless of the methods you choose to use, your interest in their safety is a strong start. You can’t rely on social media networks or other entities to keep them safe. Hopefully, as your child sees your involvement, they’ll also feel more comfortable discussing their activity with you.
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Same policy, extra coverage: additional insured explained and why you may need it An additional insured endorsement is important when it comes to protecting yourself from third- party risks. The purpose of adding an additional insured endorsement to your policy is to extend coverage to another individual or entity who is not a named insured but has an insurable interest in the property. Germania’s new additional insured endorsement for property policies can be used to name an additional insured with respect to primary dwellings and other structures, as well as scheduled and unscheduled personal property and outbuildings. Who would benefit from this coverage? We provided four scenarios in which an additional insured endorsement for property can be useful. 1. An individual or organization who is not the named insured but has an insurable interest in the property. 2. A co-owner – but not a resident – of a property. 3. An owner – but not a resident – on a lease purchase. 4. A person who inhabits a structure where there is a life estate arrangement or trust. The life estate’s interest in the property is protected by the additional insured endorsement. Reach out to your agent to ask about how this endorsement may benefit you when your policy renews in 2020.
for customers on the go Accomplish tasks anytime, anywhere with Germania’s expanded mobile services. Policyholders can make a payment, file a claim, and even view and print auto ID cards all from their mobile devices. View Documents Hard paper copies can get lost in the shuffle – or the mail – these days. You need a quick, easy alternative to accessing your insurance documents to reference at all times. Germania’s online documents include invoices, payment schedules and receipts, letters and notices, as well as policy declaration and amended declaration pages. These documents can be found under the Documents button in your GermaniaConnect account, and online copies are made available to both you and your agent. Manage Payments Pay your current balance on your policy through the Make Payment button or select Manage AutoPay to set up recurring premium payments using a bank account or credit or debit card. You can now set up or change AutoPay options on multiple policies at the same time! File a Claim There’s no need to delay reporting a claim in fear you won’t have time for a hassle. In fact, waiting to file a claim could result in the loss of critical information and details. You can initiate the claims process and keep tabs on your claim’s status all at your fingertips. Need help using your GermaniaConnect account? Contact your agent or Germania Support at 800-392-2202 and select the option for Technology Support.
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pumpkin Chocolate chip
Ingredients: 8 oz. canned pumpkin puree 2 eggs 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/3 cup water
Ingredients: 2 fresh jalapeños, de-seeded
1/3 cup fresh cilantro 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups sugar 1 3/4 cups flour 1 tsp baking soda 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/3 cup salsa verde (green sauce) 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/4 tsp onion powder 1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste Black pepper, to taste Instructions: 1. In a blender or food processor, pulse the jalapeños until finely minced. 2. Add cilantro and pulse until chopped. 3. Add remaining ingredients and blend until mixture is smooth and completely puréed. Taste dip and add more salt and pepper if necessary. 4. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, preferably longer. Can be served with tortilla chips or vegetables. Adapted from Five Heart Home® https://www.fivehearthome.com/creamy-jalapeno-dip-chuys- copycat-recipe/
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves 1 pinch ground ginger 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 7x3 loaf pan with oil spray or line with parchment paper. 2. Mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water, and sugar until well blended. 3. In a separate bowl, add the rest of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips and whisk together. 4. Pour into prepared loaf pan. 5. Stir the chocolate chips into the batter. 6. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Adapted from Dinner, then Dessert, Inc.® https://dinnerthendessert.com/pumpkin-chocolate-bread/
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PO Box 645 Brenham, TX 77834-0645 T GERMANIA TODAY
How to prepare your property for Texas winters Winterizing: Read our latest blog
What do you do when winter hits in Texas? You probably dig out your coats, gloves, and thick socks and bundle up like you’re climbing Mt. Everest! But your fingers and toes aren’t the only things at risk of freezing...
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