Insightful information for you | Fall 2021 GT GERMANIA TODAY Germania Insurance celebrating 125 years!
Insurance for every season of life: What type of life insurance is right for you? Page 5 Building a tradition of compassionate care Page 8
traditions stand true Pag 6 that still
COMMEMORAT I VE EDI T ION
L Germania Farm Mutual Insurance Association GT Summer 2021 | Volume 47, Issue 2 GERMANIA TODAY Insightful information for you Germania Insurance celebrating 125 years!
5 Insurance for every season of life: what type of life insurance is right for you?
8 3 4 6 7
Building a tradition of compassionate care
A Message from our President
Common fraud schemes impacting veterans and retirees
125 years of traditions that still stand true
507 Highway 290 East Brenham, Texas 77833 800-392-2202 germaniainsurance.com
Germania marks quasquicentennial with community partners
10 11 11
Wherever you are with the Germania Insurance app
President & Chief Executive Officer Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Director of Communication
Germania donates $10,000 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas
Elizabeth Marburger Editor Geoffrey Ullrich
Contributing Writer Contributing Writer
Recipe - Fall Harvest Pasta Salad
Jodee Walker Shane Butzow
2 | Germania Today
A message from OUR PRESIDENT
L Paul Ehlert President & Chief Executive Officer T
ike the rest of the world, we at Germania have welcomed the year 2021 with open arms and a new mindset. Not only did this year provide us with more of a sense of normalcy, it marks a special milestone in our company’s story. One hundred twenty-five years ago this August, in a small schoolhouse in Perry, Texas, German businessman Otto Rau formed the Germania Mutual Aid Association. Otto and 30 other members saw there was a need for providing protection for rural farm property in small communities in Texas and hoped their cause would alleviate the burdens local farmers faced. Little did Otto know that 125 years later, Germania Insurance would expand to be the largest farm mutual insurance company in the state of Texas. Or that our tradition of providing fair and honest insurance protection would span to approximately 220,000 Texas families. It’s not a mission we take lightly, and it resonates in everything we stand for. From compassionate claims service during a year filled with unpredictable weather to our purposeful community partners, Germania dedicates itself year after year to evolving with our customers’ needs while staying true to our roots. I am proud to announce that Germania will be upholding its tradition of supporting the fight against breast cancer. For the fourth consecutive year, Germania will make a donation to the Breast Cancer Resource Center in Austin.
This community-based nonprofit is a perfect recipient for our support with a tradition of dedicated personal care for those affected by breast cancer, so no one must face the journey alone. Please encourage your family and friends to visit our website or their local agent’s office to request a quote for a great cause. While you may already be a loyal auto and property policyholder, have you considered requesting a quote for life insurance? Our team right here at Germania is committed to being there for you no matter where you are at in life. In this issue, we put a special spotlight on our Germania Life products to help you find the right fit for you and your season of life. Recently married, buying a home, or approaching retirement? Read on to find which products can give you the best peace of mind. Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank you, our loyal policyholders, for making us who we are today. Your trust in our business has allowed us the opportunity to continue to “bear ye another ’s burdens” for 125 years and counting. Thank you! As hurricane season winds down and school activities ramp up, don’t forget to take us along with you through our Germania Insurance app. Everything you need to travel safely and stay in touch is right at your fingertips. As always, stay safe and well.
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I nsurance fraud schemes impact everyone, and that includes veterans and retirees. According to the Federal Trade Commission, military veterans and retirees reported $66 million in fraud losses in 2020. As the second-most costly white-collar crime in America, these schemes add up to billions of dollars in fraudulent insurance claims every year. Even if you haven’t been impacted by a fraud scheme directly, you are still a victim. Not only does fraud cause higher insurance premiums, but it also raises taxes and inflates prices for consumer goods. The National Insurance Crime Bureau urges veterans and retirees to protect themselves against fraud by knowing the signs of the following common schemes: Staged auto accidents : Sometimes, auto accidents aren’t accidents at all. They are staged crashes designed to make it look like you are at fault when you’re actually the victim. To avoid becoming a victim of a staged accident, immediately call the police to the scene, document damage on your phone, avoid people who suddenly appear to direct you to doctors or attorneys, and steer clear of tow trucks you did not call for service.
Common fraud schemes impacting and veterans retirees
bring vehicles to dishonest repair facilities. Once a vehicle is at a facility, it can easily be held hostage with demands for an insurance company payment.
Auto glass fraud : Be extremely cautious if someone solicits you offering to repair your windshield or other glass in your vehicle. A random “inspection” visit from a glass repair “technician” could be the first step in a fraud scam. Use reputable collision repair shops, like those offered through the Germania Premiere Service network.
Roofing fraud : Insurers pay out roughly a billion dollars a year to cover claims, but sometimes those payments end up in the hands of crooked contractors. To avoid falling victim to roofing fraud, work with only known licensed contractors, get more than one estimate, ask for references, and get a contract in writing. Towing scams : Be cautious if a tow truck driver you did not call arrives at the scene of an accident and tries to persuade you to allow your vehicle to be transported to a repair facility. These tow truck drivers often charge exorbitant fees and
Suspicious of insurance fraud? You can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-835-6422 or submitting a form online at www.nicb.org/how-we-help/report-fraud.
4 | Germania Today
L Life insurance provides protection and peace of mind for you and your family should the worst happen. But life isn’t static; it changes, moving through stages from one season to the next. As you and your family grow, your needs change, too. So, how can life insurance policies meet the different needs of each stage of life? As you may know, there are many types of life insurance each with a range of customizable options. So, what type of life insurance should you get? What type of life insurance policy is right for your stage of life? Let’s take a look at some common stages of life and discuss the types of life insurance solutions available for each. Read on! College Life insurance is usually associated with individuals who have children, or otherwise have family members that rely, in part or whole, on them and their ability to earn income. For this reason, people don’t often consider the possible situations that life insurance may cover for those in their college years, or the years just after college. Insurance
for every season of life:
What type of life insurance is right for you?
of your life because of the larger face amounts, low premiums, and minimal underwriting application requirements/ process. It’s important to understand that “level term” may be used to describe two different types of policies. Depending on your insurance provider, a level term policy may refer to a level premium policy or
a level benefit policy. A level premium policy has a premium that is fixed and remains the same over the length of the policy.
A level benefit policy is a product where the death benefit, or the amount paid to your beneficiaries in the event of your death, is the same regardless of when the benefit would be paid. This is a valuable feature for a life insurance product as it removes any uncertainty about the amount your beneficiaries will receive. When shopping for a term life policy, make sure you ask your agent which type of policy they offer. They will be able to help you understand the specifics regarding the policies they offer and help you find one that’s right for you. Whole life coverage is a great investment at any age, and if young couples have the means to take out whole life coverage early in their marriage, or at a young age, premiums are locked in and cash value begins to grow. Starting a family Starting a family usually means bringing fresh faces into the world! While you may not normally think of purchasing a life insurance policy for a child, products like 10-pay juvenile whole life policies allow a parent or grandparent to take out a policy for a child, usually when they’re 6 months old.
Student loans are increasingly necessary for college degrees, such as a bachelor ’s or master ’s degree. These loans can often be large, and because college students usually don’t have a credit history, a co-signer is needed. Fortunately, there are life insurance products that are perfect for providing protection for college students with student loans. Ten-year term policies can be secured for a comparatively low premium for the benefit they offer, and they often have a simplified application process. This means that medical exams are not necessary for the underwriting process, which makes the turnaround time relatively quick. Marriage The union of marriage brings two individuals together, but sometimes that means assuming each other ’s debts, too. A 10, 20, or 30-year level term can be perfect for this stage
Continued on page 10...
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6 | Germania Today K 125
years of traditions nown as the “Insurance Texans Trust,” Germania Insurance has a deep history of providing fair and honest insurance protection to Texans. The company’s founding principle, “Bear ye one another ’s burdens,” still stands true today. This year, Germania is celebrating 125 years of providing fair and honest insurance protection to our fellow Texans. We remain committed to the principle of building a stronger future for its members by maintaining the association’s strength and by offering quality insurance products to customers. “Over the past 125 years, Germania has built a strong foundation focused on customer service,” President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Ehlert said. “We are proud of our long- standing past, and we stand prepared for the opportunities that will present themselves in the years to come.”
German roots Germania was organized in 1896 as Germania Mutual Aid Association in Perry, Texas, under the leadership of Otto Rau, the first president, who was a respected business owner and banker of German heritage. At that time, insuring property in rural and small community areas was virtually impossible. The 31 founding members, including Rau, saw the need for dependable mutual insurance and committed to the principle that bearing one another ’s burdens made them all stronger. The organization was initially formed to provide protection for rural farm property in small communities against losses due to storms, fire, and lightning but has since expanded into multiple companies to provide a variety of coverages and services to policyholders across the state. Germania moved its headquarters to Brenham in 1898 and opened its current corporate office, located off Highway 290 in Brenham, in 1980. that still stand true
Germania celebrated 125 years of serving Texans this year by giving back to fellow long-standing community organizations that have supported our business throughout the years. Germania marked this milestone with a special anniversary event in September in Brenham. Employees, Germania Farm Mutual Board of Directors, agents, and community partners gathered for a banquet to reminisce and celebrate the years ahead. Germania marks quasquicentennial with community partners
In 1960, Germania’s name changed to Germania Farm Mutual Aid Association to comply with state requirements, and in 1982, the name changed again to Germania Farm Mutual Insurance Association. Today, we are known simply as Germania Insurance to our approximately 220,000 members across the state. Member voices Germania only insures property in the state of Texas. Germania is unique because our members have a voice in their association and are an essential part of the company. Our structure, modeled after the membership-owned farm mutual concept, sets Germania apart from most other insurers in Texas. In the last 125 years, Germania has grown to almost 500 employees who work throughout the state and in the corporate office in Brenham. In addition, the company now has nearly 500 active Local Chapters (agencies) with more than 900 agent offices established across Texas. Under the leadership of President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Ehlert, more than 200 new independent agencies have been appointed to service policyholder needs. Germania’s success is largely due to the established relationships between our members and their agents. “The growth has been just tremendous,” said Nancy Mahlmann, who has been an employee with Germania since 1993. “We continue to grow and thrive with the longevity and loyalty of our employees, agents, and policyholders.” Respected claims service Germania has always understood the importance of providing excellent customer service to our policyholders – especially during the most trying times in life. Our renowned claims team has several programs available to policyholders for efficient and effective claim resolution, including the use of a network of respected repair shops and independent adjusting services. Germania’s Mobile Catastrophe Unit and Catastrophe Team are on standby to deploy to Texas communities impacted by disasters and weather-related losses. “Germania’s claims process is one of the main things our agency feels so confident in, knowing that they will take care of people,” Agent Marilyn Phillips of Glen Rose said. “It goes back to their old slogan: ‘Bear ye one burdens.’ We have a lot of pride in that.” Although Germania’s vision, aspirations, and strategies have shifted slightly over the years to meet changing business needs, our mission of providing fair and honest insurance protection will always remain steadfast. For more information about Germania’s products and services, visit www.germaniainsurance.com .
During the event, Germania gifted scholarship funds to the Blinn College and Prairie View A&M foundations to establish the Germania Insurance Endowed Scholarship.
“Blinn College and Prairie View A&M University are both well-established organizations in this community, planting their roots even earlier than Germania,” President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Ehlert. “It’s an honor to make this contribution to two schools that have shaped so many quality individuals – many of whom are current Germania employees.” Both gifts will provide financial support for activities and programs that enhance educational opportunities for Blinn and Prairie View A&M students. You can learn more about Germania’s support and contribution to its community by visiting www. germaniainsurance.com/about/community.
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compassionate care tradition Building a
Germania partners with the Breast Cancer Resource Center to support its Patient Navigation Program
8 | Germania Today
B reast cancer has hit close to home for many Germania employees, agents, and policyholders. It only seems natural in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to continue our Quote for the Cure campaign, a tradition started in 2018. This year, Germania welcomes the Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC) of Austin as a new partner in raising and supporting breast cancer awareness. Throughout the month of October, Germania is offering its Quote for the Cure campaign to benefit BCRC’s support resources. From Oct. 1 to Oct. 31, 2021, Germania will donate $1 to BCRC for each quote that is requested either through www.germaniainsurance.com or through our agencies directly, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $15,000 to support BCRC’s Patient Navigation Program. “For four consecutive years, Germania has been able to express our support for a cause near to our hearts through Quote for the Cure,” Germania President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Ehlert said. “BCRC’s tradition of compassionate care for those affected by breast cancer align with Germania’s own mission of serving and protecting our fellow Texans.”
agents are enlisted by Germania to help spread the word in their own communities. Germania also encourages our policyholders to interact with our social media platforms to celebrate and honor those close to them who have been affected by breast cancer. To learn more about BCRC and its Patient Navigation Program, visit www.bcrc.org. If you or a loved one need information about breast health or breast cancer, call BCRC’s helpline at 512-524-2560 or submit an online request at www.tfaforms.com/4910274.
The Breast Cancer Resource Center is a community- based nonprofit serving Central Texans impacted by breast cancer since 1995. Strengthened by their mission – “to empower those affected by breast cancer with personalized support and compassion” – and in collaboration with our community partners, BCRC envisions a future where no one faces breast cancer alone. Germania’s Quote for the Cure donation to BCRC will go toward the operation of the organization’s many support groups, as well as their Patient Navigation Program. Through this program, BCRC offers no-cost access to certified Patient Navigators who empower those affected by breast cancer with personalized support and compassion. Patient Navigators provide one-on-one guidance, structured support circles, resource education, and practical assistance to clients and their families. In addition to the Quote for the Cure campaign for current and prospective policyholders, authorized
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Heading out on a road trip or wondering about the status of your claim? No need to wait until business hours or a call back to receive the information that is most important to you. Germania can be wherever you are with the Germania Insurance app! Compatible with both Apple and Android devices, the Germania Insurance app expands upon key features already available through your online account at germaniainsurance.com, such as making payments and filing claims. Download the app to take advantage of these great features: • Pay your bill and view payment history • Sign up for Auto Pay through a credit/debit card or electronic funds withdrawal • File and view the status of a claim • View and print policy documents, including auto ID cards • Contact your agent and roadside assistance (if included in your policy) with one-tap dialing • Update your contact information Additionally, you can learn about the latest deals and discounts available exclusively for Germania Insurance policyholders. The app is available to download for free on the Apple App and Google Play stores by searching “Germania Insurance.” Sign in or register as a new user today! Wherever you are with the Germania Insurance app
This policy stays with the child through their whole life and gives them the ability to take out additional coverage amounts at various times in their life, regardless of their health. Other types of permanent life insurance options for young children are whole life policies like Economy Whole Life and Participating Whole Life. Both offer coverage for life while gaining cash value over time. However, the Participating Whole Life has a non-guaranteed dividend option that allows the policy to grow in death benefit on an annual basis while still gaining cash value. Retirement Many people don’t account for the fact that life insurance policies provided through an employer as part of a benefit package cease when they retire. If your employer provides a life insurance benefit, it’s important to reevaluate your coverage as you near retirement. During this stage of your life, it’s often valuable to perform Continued from page 5... Insurance for every season of life: What type of life insurance is right for you?
a self-assessment, or consult with your financial advisor, to determine exactly how much debt you may leave your spouse and loved ones if you are no longer able to financially contribute. Depending on your debt and financial obligations you have upon retirement, and depending on your retirement planning, both term and whole life insurance policies might be a good fit. Those who may still have some debt remaining may find a shorter term policy to be the best option. Whole life could be a better fit for those who only need a small
amount of coverage after retirement.
End of life Facing and planning for the final seasons of life is never easy, and it is often an uncomfortable topic to think about or discuss. However, for the sake of your loved ones, it is important to begin planning for this stage earlier rather than later. This is because declining health is often associated with the later years of life, and as such, it may be difficult or cost prohibitive to get the life insurance coverage you need. Certain whole life plans can be made to perfectly address these issues and provide coverage for end-of-life expenses, such as funerals. Funeral costs can be expensive; the average cost of funeral services in Texas is between $7,000 and $12,000, not including medical expenses. Some whole life plans are available for individuals between the ages of 49 and 85 who may have health concerns that limit their ability to purchase other types of coverage. These policies have smaller guaranteed death benefits but have a simplified underwriting process that doesn’t typically require a medical exam. The first step to finding the life insurance policy that works for you and your stage of life is to reach out to your insurance provider or agent. They will work with you to understand your individual needs and help you find a product that best addresses them. To learn how Germania Life can help you find a policy for the seasons of your life, call 1-800-392-2202, ext. 2060, or visit www.germaniainsurance. com/texas-insurance/life-insurance!
10 | Germania Today
Germania donates $10,000 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas Germania is donating $10,000 to help local families through the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas. For National Runner ’s Month in May, Germania
partnered with the public charity to host the Race to Care for Kids giveaway to support active lifestyles while also supporting a great cause. Germania pledged to donate $10 for each entry into the giveaway to aid families of seriously ill or injured children treated at local hospitals. This donation will ensure that families have a safe and clean place to sleep, food to eat, access to laundry services, and proximity to the hospital, all at no cost.
So far in 2021, 185 families have stayed a total of 3,802 nights at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas while their child was in a nearby hospital. “It’s an honor to support the Ronald McDonald House Charity of Central Texas, and do our part to help them support even more families in their time of need,” Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Min Choi said. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas opened its first house in 1985, and for over 35 years has provided a “home away from home” for thousands of families through its houses, family rooms, and comfort programs. This donation is a part of Germania’s community giving initiative and its effort to give back to the communities it serves. To learn more about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas, please visit www.rmhc-ctx.org.
pasta salad Ingredients: 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1 tbs olive oil Salt and pepper 16 oz multi-colored pasta 3 c broccoli, chopped 1 c dried cranberries 1/2 c pine nuts, toasted 1/4 c red onion, thinly sliced 1 1/2 c poppy seed dressing, (we used local favorite Briannas® Rich Poppy Seed Dressing) 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled Recipe Fall harvest
Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Place the
sweet potato pieces on a large baking sheet, and drizzle them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and then toss. Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. 2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. You’ll want the pasta to be al dente. Drain the pasta, allow it to cool, and place it in a large bowl. 3. Add the roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, dried cranberries, pine nuts, and red onions to the bowl of pasta. Toss with the poppy seed dressing until evenly coated. Crumble in the goat cheese and gently stir again until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. 4. Stir before serving, add more dressing if needed.
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