“A Message from the Company Manager” Annual Meeting March 2023

IMG 5261What is the purpose of having a Mission Statement? What does it mean to our company, the staff, our policyholders, and our community?

The definition of a Mission Statement is to:

  • Explain why a company exists!
  • Show how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Define what the business will ultimately achieve.

Our mission statement is meant to define who we serve, what we are about, what our objectives are, and what our approach to reaching those objectives is.

“It is our mission to provide personal and dependable service to our policyholders with quality products at a competitive price. We are committed to protecting your family, home, and property with confidence and security wherever life takes you.”

I’m unsure when or who it was that wrote our mission statement. I’ve researched past documents trying to find who that was while creating the company manual. It’s on our policy jackets that are sent to every policyholder, and that’s where I initially found it. Regardless, the person who wrote it had a purpose and they understood the depths of what the mutual insurance companies were intended for; neighbors helping neighbors. This statement clearly illustrates the culture and values of our company…personal and dependable service. Mutuals were built specifically for rural communities. Our company was first organized on October 6, 1900, and incorporated on November 22nd of the same year.

Personal. I remember the insurance days when a business transaction was done in person. You met each other at the table, you likely were served a fresh glass of lemonade on a hot sunny day sitting on the front porch or a hot cup of coffee by the fireplace inside. That’s just how business was done. I remember our agent coming into our home. Not only was he our agent but also our neighbor and a friend. Many times, you worshipped together on Sundays with your families.

Dependable. You knew they’d be back to visit you at the same time next year to re-write that policy. Even in my earlier memories, the policies didn’t renew automatically. They were re-written each year, and each year required the agent to come out and inspect your property. That was a dependable service because the agent depended on that premium for commission income as well. In the event of a loss, you knew your agent, your neighbor would be there for you and your family.

We still provide the best quality personal and dependable service but like everything else, it too has evolved to “fit” into today’s society. Time has become a priceless commodity that has taken the place of in-person service. I think we can all agree, we would all like to go back and have more time.

To be dependable also means providing our policyholders with quality products and quality policies that have coverages available that are of value to them. To provide this, we need to have multiple policy types available. “One size fits all” is not realistic and not all properties fit one policy type. Providing optional coverages allows our policyholders to build only what they need based on qualifying guidelines.

Like time, competitive prices have also evolved to “fit” today’s society. Take just the last 5 years, for example. Interest rates went from historic lows below 3% between 2020 & 2021 then soared to over 7% in 2022; the highest level in 20 years and is remaining there. Between interest rates, construction costs, and mother nature, we in the insurance industry experienced the perfect storm of challenges. This impacted our reinsurance companies, many of whom ended up in receivership, multiple companies pulled out of coastal states, and some have placed a moratorium on new business policies just to get their companies back on track. It was difficult and, in some cases, impossible to keep up with the inflation. Companies simply couldn’t increase their rates fast enough or change their business model expeditiously enough to recover their losses.

These are tough decisions to make, but if we want to continue doing business, stay financially strong, and withstand the economic roller coasters then we must have the foresight and fortitude to set our rates with confidence and prepare to explain them in a way that is understandable and reasonable to our policyholders. A company cannot stay in business by thinking that having the lowest rate is going to keep the doors open. We must be both competitive and responsible.

Ultimately our objective is to protect your family, home, and property with confidence and security. Every rule, every regulation, every inspection is done with our policyholders in mind. These are the guidelines that define our performance standards and drive our pricing with reinsurance costs to assist in setting competitive rates.

We have built a network of employees and partnerships with high moral standards, work ethic, and common goals that establishes the framework to provide our policyholders with the personal and dependable service they have come to expect.

I would like to think that our forefathers are proud of what they started 123 years ago and know their vision and legacy will continue as they had intended.

That is our goal. To leave this legacy strong for our insureds and future leaders.