Germania Today | Fall 2019

Germania is committing to the cure for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Insightful information for you | Fall 2019 T GERMANIA TODAY

Commit cure Page 4 to the

Germania taps into the power of technology to enhance customer experience Page 6 Staying calm and collected in the wake of hail damage Page 10



GERMANIA TODAY Insightful information for you


Commit to the cure

3 6 7 8 8 9 9

A Message from our President

Fall 2019 | Volume 45, Issue 3

Germania taps into the power of technology to enhance customer experience

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

Introducing the new Germania website

Consolidated balance sheet

Germania Life will soon offer online quoting

Paul Ehlert

President & Chief Executive Officer Secretary/Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Director of Communication

Derrell Krebs

Going digital: Germania Today available online

Min Choi

Fee increases: what they are and how they affect you

Melisa Bosse

Elizabeth Kamenicky Editor Shane Butzow

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Staying calm and collected in the wake of hail damage

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.

Recipe - Duchess potato casserole

View our latest blog

2 | Germania Today

A message from OUR PRESIDENT

Paul Ehlert President & Chief Executive Officer

fter a particularly hot and dry summer season, we at Germania are welcoming the pleasant relief autumn brings. As we settle into routines of school activities and seasonal sports, let us not forget about the importance of this time of year. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of this international health campaign, we are proud to provide support to a cause that has affected so many in our Germania family on a personal level. For the second consecutive year, Germania is partnering with Susan G. Komen to support its fight to save lives. As part of our partnership with Susan G. Komen®, Germania is kicking off its second annual Quote for the Cure. For each online insurance quote requested at www. during the month of October, Germania will donate $10 to the Komen Foundation, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $50,000. With your help, we will not only raise funds but awareness for a disease that affects so many in our community. Please encourage your family and friends to visit our newly redesigned website to request a quote located front and center on our homepage. While you’re there, explore the remainder of the site and take in its enhanced aesthetics. Germania’s website makes it easy to do business with us. We’ve simplified the

process to pay your bill online, create a member account, file a claim online, and browse our products. Germania is on a constant quest to stay up-to-date with the latest technology to ensure a convenient and efficient experience for our customers. For example, we have implemented e-signatures via DocuSign® on documents, and our claims adjusters are beginning to incorporate iPad minis to streamline assessments when working out in the field. Even our quarterly Germania Today newsletter is published solely online twice a year to reduce expenses for our policyholders and the environmental impact of printing and mailing. You can find our Germania Today archives by clicking News located under the About tab on the homepage. It is part of our culture and belief that we can only serve our policyholders well if we are continuously improving our products and platforms. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome at germaniafeedback. Let us know how we can better serve you. We hope your fall is prosperous and productive. As always, thank you for trusting us to take care of your insurance needs.

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Commit cure to the Germania partners with Susan G. Komen® for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

4 | Germania Today

reast cancer has hit close to home for many Germania employees, agents, and policyholders. It only seems natural to continue our partnership with the world’s leading breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen®, to support its fight to save lives in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For the second consecutive year, Germania is offering its Quote for the Cure campaign throughout the month of October. From Oct. 1 to Oct. 31, Germania will donate to Susan G. Komen® $10 for each online insurance quote requested at, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $50,000. “Germania is proud to continue its partnership with Susan G. Komen® to raise funds in the fight against breast cancer,” Germania President and CEO Paul Ehlert said. “We look forward to another successful campaign this year, and are focused on fighting a disease that affects so many in our community.” Founded in 1982, the Susan G. Komen® Foundation is the world’s largest nonprofit source of research funding – outside of the U.S. government – in the fight against breast cancer. Since its inception, Susan G. Komen® has invested more than $2.9 billion in research, community health outreach, advocacy, and programs in more than 60 countries. The combination of early detection and effective treatment has helped lead to a 40% decline in

Germania employees in Brenham and at the Dallas office are encouraged to participate in Pink Out Day to celebrate and honor those close to them who have been affected by breast cancer. Susan G. Komen® also offers a variety of options to support those facing breast cancer through its organization. You can make a direct donation online, create a memorial or tribute, have your gift matched by your participating employer, include Susan G. Komen® in your estate plan, and much more. To learn more about Susan G. Komen® and how you

can participate during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, visit

breast cancer mortality from 1989 to 2016. Still, more than 42,000 men and women in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer this year. Germania encourages its employees, agents, and policyholders to participate in activities and contribute to the accomplishment of Komen’s goal of reducing the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50% in the U.S. by 2026.

In addition to the Quote for the Cure campaign for current and prospective policyholders, independent agents are enlisted by Germania to help spread the word in October. Germania is sharing promotional materials, such as T-shirts and informational handouts, to select agent partners to use in promoting breast cancer education in their communities.

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Germania taps into the of powertechnology

to enhance customer experience ow an insurer handles your claims is critical to ensure a

Most importantly, this technology will enable Germania adjusters to provide you a better overall customer experience. DocuSign®-ed, Sealed, and Delivered Another method to streamline business for our policyholders is the recent integration of DocuSign®, an e-signature solution that facilitates electronic signatures on documents. While not required to be used to submit Germania business, DocuSign® has become accessible to all agents effective in June of this year. This tool helps to reduce time spent scanning, faxing, and mailing documents between parties, as well as traveling to your agent’s office. Germania’s configuration of DocuSign® supports electronic signatures for new business applications, policy change applications, cancellations, EFT authorization forms, and e-check authorizations. If your agent requests your e-signature for these documents, a Germania-branded email will be sent to you via DocuSign® to the email address you provided to your agent. When using a laptop or desktop computer, choose a signature from a list of preset fonts or draw your own signature. On mobile devices, you can sign your name on the device screen using your finger. Key details about DocuSign®: • Electronic and digital signatures are binding. • Documents signed through DocuSign® are secure and use strong data encryption technologies. • DocuSign® is mobile friendly for usage on tablets and mobile phones. Final signed documents are stored in Germania’s system by your agent, and can also be saved to your personal computer or printed for your records. For more information about DocuSign®, contact your Germania agent.

smooth and effective customer experience. At Germania, the Claims Department has been diligently working on implementing internal efficiencies and streamlining the claims handling process to ensure claims are resolved quickly and efficiently. How are we doing this? Through technology. Let’s Get Mobile Picture this: a storm has just blown through, and your roof is in disrepair. A Germania claims field representative arrives at your house, armed with an Apple iPad mini, and ready to assess the damage. Gone are the days of juggling a laptop and mobile phone, going back and forth from the rooftop to their car to input data and upload photos. The claims adjuster can now enter information and take photos in real time from a single device as you accompany them with their assessment. This scenario is quickly becoming a reality with the initiation of a pilot project this year to test the usage of iPads by a handful of claims adjusters in the field. According to Shawn Fuller, director of property field claims operations, the pilot has generated very positive results, and there are plans to roll out the mobile digital devices to all adjusters in the near future. “Our goal is to make the process as seamless as possible for our customers,” Fuller said. “We believe this will help increase our on-site settlement of claims where, in many cases, the estimate can be generated and a claims check can be issued to the insured right on the spot.” The iPad will supplement the technology already in use by claims adjusters, allowing them to generate estimates in real time, increase efficiency, and improve the accuracy of each estimate. The devices will include a protective case with a cross-body shoulder strap to easily and safely carry the tablet around with them as they inspect damage, including on rooftops.

6 | Germania Today


Germania Introducing the

G ermania is excited to unveil a refreshed look to •  Navigation : The site’s new organization layout minimizes the number of channels a visitor must navigate through to find their destination. We have redesigned it with you in mind, improving aesthetics, simplifying content, and enhancing a responsive layout for both desktop and mobile versions. Key changes: • People-centric : The new site provides a more modern web experience for our dynamic clientele. • Streamline : We have consolidated the items located on our landing and internal pages to ease access for visitors.


What stays the same: While our website design has changed, we continue to offer our Germania online services to ensure quality and convenient assistance. • File a Claim : Streamline the claims process by initiating a claim online. •  Locate a Repair Facility : Search from more than 200 Germania Premier Service repair facilities to find a location near you that provides fast and reliable vehicle repairs. •  Make a Quick Payment : Registered and unregistered policyholders can make payments online using QuickPay located on the homepage under the “Login|Pay” tab. •  Find an Agent : The Find an Agent feature is a service we offer to assist you in locating the closest authorized agents based on your search criteria. GermaniaConnect user. As a member, you will be able to view policy information online, update contact information, file a claim/check claim status, print auto ID cards, and make a payment/view your payment history. Please explore the updated site and let us know what you think. Please email comments and questions to •  GermaniaConnect for Policyholders : We encourage our policyholders to register as a

Fall 2019 | 7

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET As of December 31, 2018 (unaudited)

Germania Life

Admitted Assets Cash and Investments


will soon offer

L online

Real Estate and Equipment


Premiums Receivable

150,514,008 4,288,964 5,882,557 16,561,272

Accrued Investment Income Reinsurance Recoverable

Net Deferred Tax Asset

quoting ife insurance is crucial to ensure your family’s future financial security. It can also be a complex process to navigate. Germania Life is hoping to ease the process by offering current and prospective Germania policyholders the opportunity to request a free quote online via Germania’s public website at Prospective clients will have the ability to enter basic information about the type of coverage they are seeking, and the Germania Life Team will use this data to provide a quote and initiate the application process. “The amount of life insurance you need depends on your family’s needs and priorities,” said Krista Sander, life underwriter. “Our new online quoting system will give prospective policyholders an opportunity to inquire about Germania Life’s insurance products to see which option is right for them.” Germania Life offers a variety of whole and term life policies tailored to fit your needs. We are excited to introduce our new online quoting tool in the near future to guide you in the right direction. In the meantime, please contact your Germania agent to get your quote today.

Federal Income Tax Recoverable

543,680 5,821,513

Other Assets Total Assets


Liabilities and Surplus Unearned Premiums


Loss and Loss Adjustment Expenses


Notes Payable


Life Future Policy Benefits

83,655,018 60,338,199 516,775,955 237,166,502 $753,942,457

Other Liabilities Total Liabilities

Policyholders’ Surplus

Total Liabilities and Surplus

CONSOLIDATED INCOME STATEMENT For the year ended December 31, 2018 (unaudited) Underwriting Income Net Premiums Written $481,292,162 Change in Unearned Premiums 27,589,706 Net Premiums Earned $453,702,456 Net Losses Incurred $259,942,292 Loss Expenses Incurred 54,316,667 Underwriting Expenses Incurred 133,549,071 Increase in Life Future Policy Benefits 4,353,514 Net Losses and Expenses Incurred $452,161,544 Underwriting Gain $1,540,912 Net Investment Income 15,757,341 Other Income 1,412,863 Net Income before Taxes 18,711,116 Federal Income Taxes 1,898,319 Net Income $16,812,797


$99,808,885 28,376,800


Water Theft Other

16,838,130 1,734,980 5,187,367



8 | Germania Today

Going digital:

nline reading has become a preferred choice for many. Germania has refocused its news distribution in the last year to accommodate the increasingly popular platform and manage expenses for the benefit of our policyholders. Historically, Germania has printed and mailed four quarterly issues of Germania Today, our magazine exclusively devoted to our policyholders. Last summer, Germania piloted its first digital-only publication, published directly to our website, www. The goal of reducing the number of print editions is to reduce waste and the cost of postage and printing. GermaniaToday available


“The media world has evolv d greatly over the years, and Germania has taken pride in shifting in ways that best serve our policyholders,” Melisa Bosse, director of communication, said. “We still hope to accommodate our loyal readers by continuing our print edition, but downscale to minimize resources.” Spring and fall editions will be printed in their traditional format and delivered to your mailbox. The summer and winter editions of Germania Today will be available online only. Germania has and will continue to post online copies of each quarterly issue of Germania Today at www.

Fee increases:

What they are and

how they will affect you

Non-Sufficient Funds Fee Effective this month, Germania will begin charging a $25 fee for payments made by paper check, bank draft, or e-check that are returned by the bank due to non- sufficient funds (NSF) and uncollected funds. Currently, Germania charges policyholders a $20 fee only for paper checks returned due to non-sufficient funds. The additional fees will help to offset the charges Germania incurs from our bank for each NSF occurrence. For commercial lines, umbrella, and boatowner policies, Germania will continue to charge a $20 fee for payments made by paper check that are returned by the bank due to non-sufficient funds. Policyholders will see the NSF fee listed on the cancellation/NSF notice sent to them as a result of the returned payment. In addition, invoices and electronic

funds transfer (EFT) schedules will also state that any payment returned for insufficient and uncollected funds will result in a $25 fee added to the policyholder’s next invoice. Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority Fee Recently passed state legislation has raised the fee insurers must pay the state organization that works to prevent automobile burglaries and theft from $2 to $4 per motor vehicle each year. House Bill 2048’s fee increase is effective for personal and business auto policies effective on or after Sept. 1, 2019. Auto renewal policies began reflecting the increase on policies issued on or after July 22, 2019. Please contact your Germania agent with any questions regarding these fee increases.

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in the wake of hail damage and calm collected


Report a claim by phone by calling 1-877-437-6264, or file a claim online at

exas is once again hailed as the leader of annual hail insurance claims in the nation, according to a three- year analysis conducted by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The Lone Star State accounted for 39% of all claims filed last year, totaling more than four times as many hail claims as the second leading state, Colorado. Two locations in Texas – San Antonio and Plano – ranked in the top five cities for hail loss claims. Hail can hit swiftly and unexpectedly. As a Germania policyholder, if you are concerned hail caused damage to your property during a storm, ensure prompt investigation by filing a claim as soon as possible.

claims-report/report-a-claim. What to do after filing a claim

• Although your roof will likely be inspected by an adjuster, you may want to take additional photos of any interior water damage and/or damage to personal property around the perimeter of the home. • Save receipts for incurred cost of temporary repairs to provide to your assigned claims adjuster. • Reach out to local resources, such as friends, neighbors, or your Germania agent, to find a reputable contractor. Once you have chosen a contractor, discuss the repair, warranty, and timeline for completion prior to signing the contract. Also, be sure to read any fine print included on the repair agreement. Never pay the full amount up front or make the final payment until all work is completed properly. If applicable, contact your mortgage lender to find out their process for endorsing claim payment checks for damage to the property. Requirements vary from lender to lender regarding what documentation is needed to release the check for repairs. Germania’s claims adjusters are licensed professionals who specialize in identifying damage, preparing repair estimates, and interacting with contractors. Most importantly, we are here to serve you. If you have any questions or concerns that arise throughout the claim or repair process, please contact your claims adjuster.

10 | Germania Today


Coming soon

potato casserole Duchess Ingredients: 12 medium yukon gold potatoes (3½–4 pounds) kosher salt 5 large egg yolks 2 garlic cloves, finely grated 1¼ cups heavy cream ¾ cup sour cream 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1 teaspoon pink or black peppercorns, finely ground Directions: Place potatoes in a large pot and pour in water to cover by 2 inches; season with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until a paring knife very easily slides through potatoes, 25–35 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Preheat oven to 425° F. Whisk egg yolks, garlic, cream, sour cream, butter, and ground peppercorns in a large bowl; season generously with salt. Peel potatoes and pass flesh through a ricer or a food mill (or mash them by hand if you don’t mind a few lumps). Combine potatoes with egg mixture. Fold in gently (be careful not to overmix). Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish and decoratively shingle or swirl surface. Bake, rotating once, until golden brown and slightly puffed, 30–40 minutes.

Pay by Phone : Policyholders will be able to make payments

electronically over the phone. Call Routing Improvements :

When calling Germania, improved call routing paths and message prompts will ensure you get to the right department faster. Electronic Payment for Claims : On qualifying claims, Germania will be able to electronically transfer claims payment to your bank account without having to issue a paper check.

Notice of privacy policy

Germania Farm Mutual Insurance Association and its subsidiaries as well as our business partner, Home State County Mutual Insurance Association, (referred to as “us”) value you as our customer and respect your right to privacy We collect nonpublic personal financial information from you and consumer reporting agencies and about your transactions with nonaffiliated third parties and us. We do this to process, administer, and maintain the products and services you purchase from us. We have in place policies and procedures that limit who may access or use your nonpublic personal financial information that comply with state and federal regulations and our own high standards regarding privacy and confidentiality. We only disclose your nonpublic personal financial information to affiliates or non-affiliates as permitted by law. A full privacy policy notice is available at www. or by calling us directly at 800-392-2202 and requesting one.

Fall 2019 | 11

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

Read our latest blog

his October, Germania Insurance continues our annual participation in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to, there will be an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in 2019. This makes the disease the second most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in women. While researchers toil away at a cure, it is up to us to spread as much information as possible to as many people as possible. Read our latest blog and help us raise awareness by equipping yourself with the facts. Share what you learn and together, we can save lives.

pass it on Awareness:

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