Wilmington Mutual Insurance board members and staff include, seated, Harold Meyer, president; Kari Alstad, secretary of the board, office manager, and agent; Krista Klug, office assistant and agent; Steve Klug, vice president; Lawrence Fruechte, treasurer. Standing, board members Gary Buxengard, Justin Landsom, Allen Krueger, and Dale Neumann. Another director, Greg Guillien, was absent. PHOTO: Submitted<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->
Wilmington Mutual Insurance board members and staff include, seated, Harold Meyer, president; Kari Alstad, secretary of the board, office manager, and agent; Krista Klug, office assistant and agent; Steve Klug, vice president; Lawrence Fruechte, treasurer. Standing, board members Gary Buxengard, Justin Landsom, Allen Krueger, and Dale Neumann. Another director, Greg Guillien, was absent. PHOTO: Submitted

The 137th annual meeting of the Wilmington Mutual Insurance Company was held Feb. 28 at the Fest Building in Spring Grove with 280 in attendance. Ivy Grove Café catered the noon meal and music was provided by the Starliters, all of Spring Grove.

Guests included Bert Tellers, vice president of Loss Control for RAM Mutual Insurance Company and Dick Swanson, senior marketing representative and Tom Sloan, field representative with North Star Mutual Insurance Company.

"We decreased our policy count by 31 policies for a total of 1,143 policies. But, we increased our insurance in force by $10,206,253" reported Kari Alstad, Wilmington Mutual's secretary, manager and agent about the year 2013.

The company has 15 agents who serve the counties of Fillmore, Houston and Winona.

Longtime board member recognized

Glenn Kinneberg's term on the board was up this year, but he decided not to run for reelection. Harold Meyer, president of the board, presented a certificate of recognition in appreciation of Kinneberg's 23 years on the board.

"It's been a good run. The board has been really good," Kinneberg stated, adding, "My dad (Nelvin "N.N.") was on the board a long time (45 years). When I got on I wanted to serve a long time, but if I stayed on as long as he did, I'd have to live to be 110."

Election

Incumbents Allen Krueger and Gary Buxengard, as well as Dale Neumann, who filed for the seat vacated by Kinneberg, were elected to three-year terms on the board. Neumann, age 55, lives on the east side of the county, and is a full-time rural mail carrier for New Albin and Lansing. He was contacted by Lawrence Fruechte about being on the board.

"Since I quit milking cows, I have a little time on my hands and wanted to be more active in the community," Neumann stated about accepting, adding, "It's a good company."

Guest speakers

Bert Tellers, spoke about building/construction of new ag buildings.

"Now farmers are building bigger sheds with more farm machinery that fits into them," Tellers stated. "And, the machinery inside adds up to more value."

"Currently, ag buildings are exempt from any standard building code," he continued. "It would be a better comfort zone to insurance company and owners to have these buildings built to international building code guidelines to withstand any peril, such as snow, wind, fire, etc.

"RAM is the first insurance company in the State of Minnesota to offer a reward of a discounted premium to policy holders who build to a standard code. We hope other companies will follow suit," Tellers relayed.

Dick Swanson talked about liability insurance. "Everyone has, or should have, liability insurance. It's reality. It's what we deal with in our lives.

"Insurance doesn't pay you, but the party. Insurance is a defense to defend you against legal action.

"Statistics from 2010 show there are more dog bite claims in Minnesota than any other part of the country," Swanson reported. "If there is an injury, and it's your dog, you're liable."

Most injuries/bites are to the face, and most bites are to children. Size of the dog does not matter. Generally the child gets over it (the incident), but parents don't. These injuries cost insurance companies lots of money for plastic surgery and sometimes that can go on for years.

"We get a lot of calls on slip and fall claims," Swanson pointed out. "Most are that the owner of the building is negligent. Although sidewalks heaved up are no negligence on the part of the owner because of climate. Another concern is condition of premises where there is a great deal of junk around. You don't know what may be in the pile of junk. There could be something harmful such as a gas can that could explode."

Livestock are subject to common law negligence. The mere ownership of cattle doesn't make you liable. Fences are a big problem, especially fences that are not kept up. If you have good fences, you have something to go by for defense. If the problem is fences along a township road, go to your township board about the matter, Swanson encouraged.

Crop damage can be due to cattle getting out, deer and coon feeding on the crop, wet areas, weather, etc. "We base crop loss damage on yield, not the farmer's estimate. We test yield at harvest time," Swanson explained.

Cattle versus vehicle is a duty of care in the operation of the vehicle. It's negligence to be playing with the radio or cell phone, or not paying attention. And, there's last chance - if the driver had the chance to avoid (the animal), but didn't take it.

Farm machinery is a liability. Be sure to keep shields on augers, use lights and turn signals, and keep equipment in safe operating condition.

"How much do you have to lose? Be sure you have adequate protection to protect your assets. It's important to have a lot of liability insurance," Swanson stressed.

Board officers

Following the meeting, the board met to elect officers: Harold Meyer, president; Steve Klug, vice president; Kari Alstad, secretary; Lawrence Fruechte, treasurer. Directors are Gary Buxengard, Greg Guillien, Justin Landsom, Allen Krueger, and Dale Neumann.