Wilmington Mutual Insurance board <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->members include, seated: Secretary of the board, office manager and agent Kari Alstad; President Harold Meyer; Vice-president Steve Klug; and treasurer Lawrence Fruechte. <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Standing is office assistant and agent Krista Klug and <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->directors, Glenn Kinneberg, Justin Landsom, Allen Krueger and Gary Buxengard. <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Director, Greg Guilllien, was absent.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->SGH/Buxengard
Wilmington Mutual Insurance board

members include, seated: Secretary of the board, office manager and agent Kari Alstad; President Harold Meyer; Vice-president Steve Klug; and treasurer Lawrence Fruechte.

Standing is office assistant and agent Krista Klug and

directors, Glenn Kinneberg, Justin Landsom, Allen Krueger and Gary Buxengard.

Director, Greg Guilllien, was absent.

In spite of an overnight storm that dropped about five inches of snow, a total of 227 people attended the 136th annual meeting of the Wilmington Mutual Insurance Company on Feb. 22 at the Fest Building, Spring Grove. The noon meal was catered by Ivy Grove Café and music was provided by the Starliters.

"We decreased our policy count by five policies to have a total of 1,174 policies. But, we increased our insurance in force by $11,425,964," Kari Alstad, the company's secretary, manager and agent reported about the year 2012.

The company has 14 agents who serve the counties of Fillmore, Houston and Winona.

"I think we are fortunate to have such good agents to write insurance for our company, and directors who provide quality leadership to Wilmington Mutual," Alstad stated.

Climate changes affecting rates

Worldwide climate seems to have changed in recent years, and because of this change, property insurance carriers have been hit very hard, Alstad relayed.

From hurricanes to tornados, lightning storms, windstorms and hail, the insurance companies have been affected.

"You will most likely see a change in your premium to help offset some of the expense that insurance companies have had to shoulder. As of now, Wilmington Mutual has not taken a rate increase, but both North Star and RAM, and I am sure most companies out there, have adjusted their rates accordingly.

"Hopefully we will see favorable changes in the weather so the current premium increases can be enough to offset the loss from these storms."

Many of the people in the Spring Grove area were affected by the hailstorm last fall.

"Hopefully you appreciated the claim adjustments that you received. I think both North Star Mutual and RAM Mutual are very good companies to work with, and overall I heard very favorable comments from policyholders in regard to their claim adjustments."

Guest speaker talks prevention

Justin Pape of Nisswa, manager of special investigations with RAM Mutual Insurance Company of Esko, was the guest speaker. RAM is the statewide re-insurance company that insures the insurance company for extremely large losses

With the aid of PowerPoint slides, he presented information about fires and water damage in buildings.

"I have seen many structure fires over the years," he stated about his work. He uses several investigative tactics, including interviewing, electrical arc mapping and the assistance of burn patterns to help aid his investigation and narrow down the area of fire origin to help determine the cause of each loss.

Candles are one of the leading causes of fires in homes. Safety measures should be used when burning candles, including never burn unattended; use on a heat resistant surface, trim the wick to 1/4 inch before use and stop using the candle when 1/2 inch of the wax remains.

On the topic of water damage, Pape continued, "We are seeing an increased severity of this in homes within recent years."

It could be a water line or valve leak or break. "Simple water line breaking can be prevented with the right measures."

Check for corrosion of water supply lines to sinks and toilets, the washing machine, dishwasher, hot water heater, ice maker on the refrigerator, outside faucets, etc.

Every six months, inspect the washing machine hose for corrosion and condensation and never leave the house when the washing machine is in use. Have a plumber check the water heater as a typical unit lasts 10 to 12 years.

"Use metal braided line with auto shut-off connection," he urged.

Stainless steel braided hoses with built in excess flow valves can range in cost from $10 to $20 at the hardware store. A minor cost when considering the alternative if water damage occurs.

There should be adequate insulation around water supply lines on exterior walls. Also, take garden hoses off the outside faucet so water doesn't freeze and burst in the house on the other side of the faucet.

"The method of plumbing has changed in the last 10 to 20 years," Pape pointed out.

"Years ago copper lines were put in. Now days they use standard plastic, which has an increased chance to dry out, get bridle, crack and break. Over the last 10 years, the number of water losses in homes has increased due to some of these issues.

"How simple it is to shut your water off when you go away or leave your home? A simple turn-off valve takes the pressure off the line and can prevent costly damage. Locate the home's water shut off and mark it."

Also, installation of water alarms in the utility and bathrooms, under sinks, and in wet areas can be helpful. They range in cost from $10 to $50 at hardware stores.

Election of officers

Incumbents Greg Guillien, Steve Klug and Justin Landsom were reelected to three-year terms on the board.

Following the meeting, the board met to elect officers: President Harold Meyer, Vice-president Steve Klug, secretary Kari Alstad and treasurer Lawrence Fruechte. Directors are Glenn Kinneberg, Gary Buxengard, Allen Krueger, Greg Guillien and Justin Landsom.