Germania Today | Spring 2020

Germania is taking a step into the spotlight in an effort to stand out from the crowd. Read more about our recent ventures in the spring issue of Germania Today!

Insightful information for you | Spring 2020 T GERMANIA TODAY

crowd from the Standing out Page 7

Director elections: We want to hear from you Page 4 How to avoid a wildlife collision in Texas and what to do if you can’t Page 8



GERMANIA TODAY Insightful information for you

6 Rental car


coverage: what you need to know

How to avoid a wildlife collision in Texas and what to do if you can’t

Spring 2020 | Volume 46, Issue 1

Germania Farm Mutual Insurance Association 507 Highway 290 East Brenham, Texas 77833 800-392-2202

3 4 5 7

A Message from our President

2020 GFM director election: We want to hear from you

Paul Ehlert

President & Chief Executive Officer Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Director of Communication

GFM Board of Directors seeking qualified candidates to serve

Min Choi

Melisa Bosse

Elizabeth Kamenicky Editor Geoffrey Ullrich

Standing out from the crowd

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Contributing Writer

Shane Butzow


Recipe - Instant Pot® hard-boiled eggs

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.

New full glass coverage option available for OTC

Read our latest blog – Pigs are running wild in Texas

2 | Germania Today

A message from OUR PRESIDENT

Paul Ehlert President & Chief Executive Officer

pring is quickly approaching, and schedules are quickly filling with baseball games, graduations, and bluebonnet portraits. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, our agents customarily host annual Local Chapter meetings in April for our Germania Farm Mutual policyholders. Due to the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), Germania is leaving the decision of holding this year’s Local Chapter meetings at the discretion of our agents. Our foremost interest is to protect the well-being of our agents and policyholders. As a member of a farm mutual insurance company, you are encouraged to have a voice in the organization. In April, you will be asked to vote in the election of our Board of Directors. As a policyholder, this is your opportunity to select members of Germania’s governing board who will provide direction and oversight of the company. You will receive your ballot packet through the mail, and you may cast your vote either by return mail or online during the month of April. Your vote will represent your attendance at your Local Chapter meeting. For every member who votes in the director election, Germania will donate $1 to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-led charity that focuses on raising funds to help find cures for childhood cancer. In addition to our partnership with St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Germania has also collaborated with a number of notable organizations to extend our reach

across the state of Texas. Our hope is to continue to improve our visibility, so we may locate and service loyal Texans and their insurance needs. You can learn more about these ventures within this issue. This spring, Germania is offering a variety of new and enhanced products for our policyholders, including expanded coverage for outbuildings, full glass coverage on vehicles, and new deductibles for auto. Additionally, we are proud to announce that Germania’s collision claims service has earned high ratings from body shops across the state for its fair and efficient practices. Products and services aside, we believe policyholders deserve the opportunity to be led by a diverse and professional GFM Board of Directors who have their best interests at heart. The Board is currently seeking qualified director candidates who represent gender and ethnic diversity while possessing professional and personal characteristics that align with GFM’s desired Board competencies, corporate values and Guiding Principles. If you or a fellow GFM policyholder would like to be considered for a Director role on the GFM board, please email your name and biographical information to As your schedule continues to fill this spring, don’t forget to pencil in a few important dates on behalf of Germania. We truly appreciate your time, feedback, and participation. Have a great spring!

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CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET As of December 31, 2019 (unaudited)

Admitted Assets Cash and Investments


2020 GFM director election: hear from We want to As a policyholder, you have the ultimate control over Germania Farm Mutual (GFM) Insurance Association through your election of the members of its Board of Directors. In April, you, as a GFM policyholder, will have the opportunity to vote on this year’s slate of directors. Ballot packets have been mailed to all GFM policyholders at the end of March. 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. GFM 2020 director candidates GFM’s Board is currently 15 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 five vacant board seats are K. Don McAfee, C. H. Herring, Jr., Ralph A. Beadle, Dwayne W. Herring, and Russell C. Janecka. Pictures and biographical information for each candidate is included in the ballot packet mailed to you or can be viewed online at by clicking the 2020 Director Election link located on the homepage. you

Real Estate and Equipment

5,093,280 158,541,513 4,380,497 4,665,290 16,969,520 5,843,149

Premiums Receivable

Accrued Investment Income Reinsurance Recoverable

Net Deferred Tax Asset

Other Assets Total Assets


Liabilities and Surplus Unearned Premiums Life Future Policy Benefits Federal Income Tax Payable Loss and Loss Adjustment Expenses


131,362,115 86,800,591


Other Liabilities Total Liabilities

59,282,291 562,553,332 259,896,965 $822,450,297

Policyholders’ Surplus

Total Liabilities and Surplus

CONSOLIDATED INCOME STATEMENT For the year ended December 31, 2019 (unaudited) Underwriting Income Net Premiums Written $568,857,888 Change in Unearned Premiums 30,378,628 Net Premiums Earned $538,479,260 Net Losses Incurred $314,826,048 Loss Expenses Incurred 58,072,146 Underwriting Expenses Incurred 155,603,743 Increase in Life Future Policy Benefits 3,210,680 Net Losses and Expenses Incurred $531,712,617 Underwriting Gain $6,766,643 Net Investment Income 17,781,124 Other Income 2,120,850 Net Income before Taxes 26,668,617 Federal Income Taxes 4,967,451 Net Income $21,701,166




27,430,912 17,556,447 1,930,095 4,719,395

Water Theft Other



4 | Germania Today

t Germania, we believe GFM policyholders deserve the opportunity to be led by a diverse and professional board of directors. The Board is currently seeking qualified individuals who represent gender and/or ethnic diversity, possess professional skills that align with GFM’s desired Board competencies, and have personal characteristics that align with GFM’s corporate values and Guiding Principles. Current competencies being sought for the Board are as follows: Strategy : An understanding of strategic planning, implementation, and review processes; having been actively involved in strategy development at a senior leadership or board level position. Information Technology : An in-depth knowledge of information technology systems, integrations, software development, databases, and cybersecurity; having been involved in or provided direct oversight of technology implementation at an enterprise level. Finance/Accounting : An individual with financial acumen and advanced mathematical skills who can analyze financial statements, investments, and capital models; and who has acquired professional financial designations/qualifications such as a CPA or CFA. Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) : An in-depth knowledge of M&A strategies and processes and how qualified serve GFM Board of

Directors seeking

to candidates

M&A may fit in the overall business plan; having been actively involved or having provided oversight of M&A decision-making. Human Capital : An understanding of the key elements of talent management, training and development, succession planning, diversity and inclusion, and compensation; having been actively involved with or provided oversight of workforces in an organization. Investments : An in-depth understanding of investment strategies and philosophies, market conditions, economics, and capital markets; having several years of experience and expertise across a broad range of asset classes. Marketing : An understanding of property and casualty insurance products and distribution channels; having been actively involved in marketing strategy development, implementation, and analysis at a board or company leadership level. If you or a fellow GFM policyholder possesses one or more of the above described competencies and would like to be considered as a candidate for the GFM Board of Directors, please email your name and biographical information to the Germania Governance Committee at We appreciate your loyalty to this organization and look forward to acquiring talented leaders to guide GFM to a successful future.

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New property inspection partner In the near future, Germania will transition to a new property inspections service provider, JMI Reports. Previously performed by CIS Group, required inspections will be completed by JMI, which provides a full range of property evaluation services to insurance carriers. Benefits include: • More responsive service and stronger account management • More inspection type options with a favorable pricing structure • Hazard scoring tools that are best in class • Pre-integration with an inspection automation system The only difference visible to our policyholders is the postcard notification you will receive from JMI whenever an inspection of your property is ordered. Please contact your Germania agent if you have any questions. Keep your auto premium cost down with new deductible options Germania is giving you more freedom to keep your auto insurance premium affordable with new deductible options. Germania currently offers deductibles up to $1,000 for other than collision (OTC) and collision coverages. New deductibles up to $5,000 will be available later this year. This deductible option will become available for policies renewing after May 1. Raising your deductible saves on your premium. However, be sure you are prepared to pay more in the event of a claim. Review your claims history, financial situation, and car value with your Germania agent to determine if this is the right option for you.

coverage: Rental car what you need to know

If you ever find yourself in a position where you have to rent a vehicle in the event of a claim, the coverage can be the difference between simply talking to your insurance company or being responsible for costly rates. Given the recent shift in industry trends, now is the best time to have a conversation with your agent about the importance of adding or increasing your rental car coverage. The latest industry review revealed that rental car expenses are steadily increasing due to the complexity, length, and rising cost of vehicle repairs. Additionally, many manufacturers are phasing out the economy and compact car categories and shifting to large sedans, crossovers, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). As a result, Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Germania’s car rental partner – is now offering the intermediate car class as its entry-level rental option. The minimum rental car coverage of $20 a day may no longer protect you from out-of-pocket expenses. Increasing your rental coverage limit to $50, $75, or $100 a day can minimize and even eliminate any additional expenses you may incur. For a few dollars more a month, you can better protect yourself in the event of an accident. Reach out to your agent to see how they can assist you in making the best decision for your needs.

6 | Germania Today

Standing out crowd from the

ermania is taking a step into the spotlight in an effort to stand out from the crowd. Within the last couple of years, Germania has chosen to expand its marketing strategy to build and strengthen relationships. Germania has collaborated with a number of notable organizations to extend our reach across the state and create positive brand experiences with a variety of demographics. Our current corporate sponsor partnerships include the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, San Antonio Spurs, Live Nation, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. We also hold naming rights in The American Airlines Center in Dallas, Circuit of the Americas’ Germania Insurance Amphitheater in Austin, and Arlington’s Globe Life Field. “As a long-standing Texas brand, we take pride in having strong relationships with Texas icons,” Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Min Choi said. “It really magnifies our ability to identify with a loyal fan base.” With more than 1,500 licensed agency personnel and 200,000 policyholders around the state, we are committed to building enthusiasm and pride for Germania in the communities we serve. We are also proud to pledge our resources to a number of charitable causes.

You can help us commit to the greater good by casting your ballot in the Germania Farm Mutual director election in April. For every member who votes, we will donate $1 to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer- led charity that aims to raise funds to help find cures for childhood cancer. Thank you for allowing Germania to service your insurance needs. We are excited to continue to enhance our visibility on a larger stage, where we can reach even more fellow loyal Texans.

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How to avoid a wildlife collision and what to do if you can’t in Texas

8 | Germania Today

exas is a land of rolling hills, dense forests, wide open plains, and huge populations of wildlife. In most of the state, you can travel the winding highways through the diverse landscape without ever coming into contact with any of the critters that call Texas home. However, with the growing populations of both people and wildlife, our two worlds are bound to collide sooner or later. So how can you avoid animal-vehicle collisions in Texas and what do you do if you can’t? The facts about wildlife collisions in Texas Texas is teeming with both native and non-native species (like feral pigs). While many of them are unlikely to cause any serious damage to your vehicle, there are 1.5 million wild pigs and 3.6 million white- tailed deer. Both of these animals can cause serious trouble for Texas motorists. In fact, these types of accidents have been steadily increasing since 1975. In the past 10 years, Texas has had the highest number of deaths as a result of vehicle-animal collisions. This is a complex issue, but it is primarily due to the increasing number of motorists, growing animal populations, and the rural nature of many Texas roads. Rural roads often have poor lighting that can make it difficult to spot crossing animals. Unlike most major highways, these roads have twists and turns and regularly cut through wooded areas or agricultural fields, where many of these animals live. Because of these factors, your chances of colliding with an animal in Texas are about 1 in 157. While the cost of repairing a vehicle damaged by such an accident can vary, the national average cost per claim is more than $4,500. How to avoid wildlife on Texas roads So what can Texans do to minimize the risk of such devastating encounters? Obviously, we can’t keep the deer from crossing the road (regardless of why it decided to do so). There are, however, plenty of things motorists can do to prevent accidents with our animal neighbors. Stay alert - It can never be said enough that being alert is one of the best ways to stay safe on the road. Deer come out to feed during dusk and usually stay out until dawn. They prefer wooded areas and plots of land with tall vegetation or crops. That’s why it’s important to be on the lookout during the lower-light

hours and when traveling on roads that pass through these environments. There are often signs placed on roads where animal traffic is known to be higher than normal. If you see one of these, be on the lookout! They are there precisely because of past problems with animal crossings and collisions. Keep your brights on - When driving at night, it’s important to use your high beams as long as there isn’t any oncoming traffic. Using your brights can help you see more of the road and allows you to spot the reflective eyes of nocturnal animals like deer. Buckle up - Always wear your seatbelt! Even if you manage to pump the brakes and avoid hitting an animal, the sudden stop can be dangerous if your belt isn’t buckled. Look out for groups - Both deer and wild hogs often travel in large groups. If you spot an animal crossing, there’s a good chance that others are not far behind. That’s why it’s important to be cautious and keep your speed down even if the first animal has finished crossing. Keep it steady - As difficult as it might be, experts say that you should never swerve to avoid striking an animal on the road. Often, a sharp and sudden turn can flip a vehicle or put you in the path of oncoming traffic. Both of these things are far more likely to be fatal than the alternative. Instead, if you spot an animal in the road ahead, engage your brakes firmly, but maintain control of the steering wheel and stay in your lane. Striking an animal is never good, but the force of an oncoming vehicle is far more deadly. Beware rutting season - White-tailed deer are the most active and unpredictable during their yearly rutting season. This is great for hunters, but can be particularly dangerous for drivers. Fortunately, this range is relatively short and takes place between October and December. During this time, it’s important to be extra cautious when driving on rural roads or areas with dense deer populations. Avoid whistles - Deer horns or deer whistles are vehicle attachments that claim to emit sounds which alert deer to oncoming vehicles. While this sounds nice, numerous studies by wildlife researchers have failed to prove their effectiveness. In fact, because deer are so unpredictable, they are just as likely to freeze Continued on page 10

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Continued from page 9

Directions: 1. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice and water and set aside. 2. Place the Instant Pot® insert into the multicooker. Fill with one cup of water then place the trivet on top. 3. Place eggs on the trivet in one layer. Do not stack. Close and lock the lid. 4. Set on high pressure for three minutes (soft-boiled), four minutes (creamy hard-boiled), or five minutes (firm hard-boiled). 5. When the timer beeps, immediately cancel cooking, and quick-release the steam. Use tongs to transfer eggs to the bowl of iced water. 6. Peel eggs when cool enough to touch by tapping one end of the egg on a hard surface. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Make sure your car is safe to drive - Before hopping back into your car and taking off, it’s important to give it a thorough inspection. Check for punctured tires, broken headlights, damaged windshields, and leaking fluids. If possible, check the underside of your vehicle, too. While deer typically only cause damage to the exterior portion, animals that are lower to the ground, like hogs, can cause serious undercarriage damage. If you’re unsure, it’s always better to be cautious and call a tow truck. Many insurance companies, like Germania, offer roadside assistance for policyholders, which can help you get your vehicle out of a dangerous spot. File a claim - After having a collision with an animal, make sure to contact your insurance company as soon as you can in order to file a claim. The sooner you call, the sooner the claim can be processed. It’s important to note that not all auto policies cover such an accident, so make sure to contact your agent to be sure. For example, basic liability coverage will most likely not pay for repairs while a more comprehensive plan will. Get it fixed! - If you’ve ever had an animal-vehicle collision, you know that even the small Texas white- tailed deer can cause serious damage. Fortunately, Germania policyholders have access to Germania Premier Service (GPS) - a network of trusted preferred auto repair facilities. Recipe

hard-boiled eggs Instant Pot® at the sound. It is always better to be alert and rely on your own senses in order to avoid a collision. What to do if you’ve had an animal collision Get off the road - First and foremost, if it is safe, turn on your hazard lights and move to a safe place on the side of the road. If it is dark, make sure you are clearly visible to other vehicles by using reflective cones or markers. Call 911 - Once you’re in a safe place, it’s time to call law enforcement. This is absolutely necessary if either the animal or your vehicle are blocking the road. Even if this isn’t the case, having a police report can be helpful when filing an insurance claim. Law enforcement is also necessary for removal of the animal, regardless of whether it is alive or not. They can assess the situation and if necessary, call the local Texas Game Warden to handle the injured or deceased animal. Keep in mind, it is not legal to take home a deer or its antlers if it died in this manner. Leave it alone - If the animal is still alive, stay away from it. Frightened, injured animals will defend themselves and could very easily injure you if you’re too close. Again, let the Game Warden handle it. Document the incident - When you get a safe opportunity, consider taking photos of the incident for insurance purposes. More information is always helpful for an insurance company when handling a claim.

Ingredients: • Eggs in their shells

(enough to fit one layer at bottom of your trivet in the Instant Pot®) • Ice • Water

Adapted from Brit+Co©

10 | Germania Today

Germania ranks fourth in Texas for collision claims service

New full glass coverage option available for OTC

Germania’s fair and efficient collision claims service has earned the company high ratings from repair facilities across the state. In a recent nationwide survey conducted by CRASH Network, more than 1,000 body shops were asked to grade insurance companies based on their claims handling policies, attitude, and payment practices. Germania came in at No. 4 in Texas, outranking Travelers, Allstate, State Farm and Texas Farm Bureau, among others. “At Germania, we pride ourselves on prioritizing quality and timely repairs,” Executive Vice President and Chief Claims Officer Lance Ondrej said. “This approach aligns with our company values and strengthens the trust we have with our members.” To ensure priority claims service, policyholders have access to Germania Premier Service (GPS), a network of trusted preferred auto repair facilities. With more than 350 facilities in Germania’s network, insureds can get their damaged vehicles repaired quickly and hassle- free. For more information about the GPS network, visit claims-report/germania-premier-service.

A crack in your windshield shouldn’t mean a break in your wallet too. This year, Germania is offering a new other than collision (OTC) full glass coverage option. With full glass coverage, you will not have to pay a deductible for a glass-only claim, including the replacement of your windshield or door glass. The full glass option will be available with any OTC deductible amount and will become available when your policy renews on or after May 1. Currently, Germania will pay for rock chip repairs if you have OTC coverage for your auto insurance. If the windshield needs to be replaced, you will owe the deductible. OTC also helps cover damage from other perils such as fire, theft, falling objects, or hail. According to Safelite AutoGlass, Germania’s auto glass repair partner, if a chip or crack is less than 6 inches, it can generally be repaired. However, if a windshield is chipped, it’s only a matter of time before it spreads and becomes a larger crack, causing the windshield to need replacement. Rural customers who frequent gravel roads may find this additional coverage beneficial for their lifestyle. It is important to note that you will not lose your Claims Free Discount for glass-only claims. Talk to your agent about how full glass coverage can give you the coverage you need to get back on the road quicker and hassle-free.

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PO Box 645 Brenham, TX 77834-0645 T GERMANIA TODAY

E verything you need to know about Texas’ wild pig problem This invasive species goes by many names: wild pigs, feral hogs, razorbacks, and boars. Regardless of what you call them, wild pigs have become a huge issue across the United States, especially in Texas. What’s being done to solve it? Continue reading at

Read our latest blog

running wild in Texas Pigs are

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