Board member Lawrence Fruechte gives a presentation on replacing water supply hoses on washing machines and dishwashers to prevent water damage in the home.
Board member Lawrence Fruechte gives a presentation on replacing water supply hoses on washing machines and dishwashers to prevent water damage in the home.
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A total of 271 people registered at the 135th annual meeting of the Wilmington Mutual Insurance Company on Feb. 24 at the Fest Building, Spring Grove.

Guests included the firm's accountant and representatives from North Star Mutual and RAM Mutual Insurance companies.

"It is people like you who keep this company going, and we hope to have many more good years," Harold Meyer, president of the board stated in gratitude.

Company manager Kari Johnson reported that as of Dec. 31, 2011, there were 1,179 insurance policies in force, which is a decrease of nine from the previous year.

Even with the decrease in policies, there was a $13,553,968 increase of insurance in force, bringing the total value at the close of year 2011 at $415,175,099.

Lawrence Fruechte, the company's treasurer, reported the 2011 financial assets of the company amount to $1,961,668, compared to $1,868,805 the previous year.

"When I started on the board in 1993, the company's assets were under half a million dollars," he stated, adding, "I don't remember we've ever raised the rates. If your premium has gone up, it's due to an increase in valuation and more coverage."

Johnson reviewed and compared other financial figures to the previous year: net income $49,641 ($40,392); operating expenses $233,190 ($217,884), for an underwriting gain of $7,453 (-$15,894).

Losses include: fire losses $24,088 ($183,082), fire department fees $1,400 ($10,346); lightning losses were $181,299 ($9,258); as well as additional line losses of $86,245 ($58,131).

Additional line items include water damage, livestock deaths by accident and wildlife, vandalism, as well as farm equipment thefts, overturned machinery and runaways.

"Re-insurance covers extremely large losses. In 2011, re-insurance recoveries saved the company $133,247," Johnson pointed out about RAM, the statewide re-insurance company that insures the insurance company.

Starting in 2011, the company is now required to pay income taxes, which amounted to $8,653 for 2011.

Water supply protection

Fruechte gave a presentation, encouraging people to replace water supply hoses on washing machines and dishwashers.

"Water damage in the home is getting to be an issue," he pointed. "Common rubber hoses deteriorate - become hard and brittle and develop leaks."

The stainless steel braided supply hose protects from rupture and other damaging forces. The flood safe feature automatically senses a rupture and stops water flow.

Commonly available at building supply and hardware stores, a pair of hoses for a washing machine cost $19 to $25.

A conventional supply hose offers no protection from breakage, bursts or flooding, and costs $15 to $20 per pair. Dishwasher supply flood safe hose costs $15 to $20. Braided hoses are also available for icemakers.

Another product on the market is a pan that fits under the washing machine to protect against damage from water leakage. Cost of the pan and fittings is $25 to $30.

Guest speaker talks house fires

Bert Tellers of Waconia, vice president of loss control for RAM Mutual Insurance Company of Esko, was the guest speaker, who talked about home fires.

"The number one fire loss is homes," he stated. "We are seeing a tremendous increase in fires in dwellings."

Eighty percent of structure fire deaths happen in the home. A few seconds is all it takes to become a major fire. The eye-opening video explained simple steps to reduce the fire danger in your home. They include:

• Rags used to apply and wipe stain and wood finish products, take only a few hours to build up heat and burst into flames.

• Don't store flammable liquids in your home. The fumes get to the water heater and furnace and burst into flames.

• The bulb of a halogen light heats up enough to cook an egg on it.

• The kitchen is the number one place in the house to have a fire. Most are from unattended cooking, so make sure you stay in the room while cooking.

Call the fire department FIRST, then, try to fight the fire yourself. The problem is people try to fight the fire themselves and that delays the call to the fire department and their response time.

It's good to have a fire extinguisher somewhere by the kitchen exit, not by the stove. Remember PASS, to operate a fire extinguisher: Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep at the base of the fire.

• People spend more money to sprinkle their lawn than to have a sprinkler system installed in their house. It costs about $2.50 per sq. ft. to install a sprinkler system in a new home.

• Be sure to cap or remove unused natural and propane gas lines so the gas doesn't leak into the home. If it smells like rotten eggs, get out of the house and call 911 from somewhere else, because your phone can cause a spark and explode your home.

Election of officers

Incumbents Harold Meyer, Lawrence Fruechte and Kari Johnson were reelected to three-year terms on the board.

Following the meeting, the board met to elect officers: Harold Meyer - president, Steve Klug - vice president, Kari Johnson - secretary and Lawrence Fruechte - treasurer.

Directors are Glenn Kinneberg, Greg Guillien, Justin Landsom, Gary Buxengard and Allen Krueger.

Agents recognized

Wilmington Mutual employs 14 agents who can write coverage in Minnesota and are serving the counties of Fillmore, Houston and Winona.

They are Kari Johnson, Jack Hauser, Ronald Nerstad, Gary Otterness, Larry Graf, Pat Schoh, David Selness, Melissa Lange, Daniel Krage, Myron Zessin, Francis Myhre, Krista Klug, Stacy Yohe and Eric Wurm.