April 17, 2024

Weather placing extreme challenge on insurance world

Adair County Mutual Insurance’s board includes from left, Allen Tanner, Vice Chairman; Marcia Kralik, President-Treasurer; Greg Lilly, Chairman; Sherol Brown, Secretary; Tim Jensen, Director.  Not pictured:   John Baudler, Director.

Adair County Mutual Insurance held its annual meeting last Tuesday in a slightly different format than before. Instead of serving a meal, policyholders were invited to a business meeting held at the office in Greenfield.

At 136 years old, Adair County Mutual is the oldest business on the Greenfield square.

Weather has become more severe in greater frequency in Iowa over the past few years. With these natural disasters on the rise and inflation impacting the economy as much as it has, companies like Adair County Mutual are feeling the pinch. Their clients are also beginning to feel it.

Marcia Kralik, President-Treasurer of Adair County Mutual, said it is important to remember that this is an industry-wide issue.

“Sometimes we feel our particular area, or the state of Iowa, are not affected as largely as the rest of the nation, but we are all feeling the effects of the last three to four years as well,” said Marcia Kralik, Adair County Mutual’s President-Treasurer. “The challenge for us is that a lot of this is beyond our control also because we’re feeling the pressure from our reinsurers and the stipulations they’re putting in force to us. Weather events are also beyond our control. The result is increases in premiums, deductibles or changes in underwriting for policyholders.”

Reinsurance is a policy Adair County Mutual takes out from Iowa-based Grinnell Mutual Insurance to cover extensive losses that may happen through the year. The Mutual pays a premium for reinsurance, just like a policyholder pays them a premium. Companies like Grinnell are also reinsured by global markets.

“They’re strongly recommending for us to make these changes in order for the number of companies that are still in existence to remain sustainable,” Kralik said.

Most insurance offices in this area are independent agencies, but Adair County Mutual, which covers an eight-county area, is unique. It is one of the few insurance carriers in this area.

Policyholders are owners and the Mutual is managed and staffed locally with a board of directors governing it. The current board of directors are Allen Tanner, vice chairman; Kralik; Greg Lilly, chairman; Sherol Brown, secretary; and Tim Jensen and John Baudler, directors.

Much of the work concerning policies for clients is done locally. Decisions surrounding rates, deductibles, endorsements, property inspections, policy processing and the work of adjusters is all conducted locally. Current staff are Kralik; Lori Miller, billing and policy manager; Marcie Raasch, property inspector; Jacque Eblen, customer service; and Casey Ehrsam, customer service.

Kralik said that when clients receive their policy in the mail, they should read it thoroughly to examine what has changed from last year. If they don’t understand it, they should visit with their agent.

“We want them to come in and have a conversation with us because it’s difficult to understand the complexities of insurance,” Kralik said. “A conversation with us will explain the coverage levels, the endorsements that are applied and the the changes that can be made through various options such as deductibles, which will provide a more reasonable premium for them to move forward with.”

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.