Greetings to all,

This page is introduced with the purpose of informing present and potential policy holders on some of the happenings that affect Albany Mutual Insurance Company.

In March of 2012, the company office moved to a new building it purchased across from Stearns Bank in the old Albany post office. It was remodeled to fit our needs. It is a good building in a good location and will serve our policyholder's needs well into the future.

Water damage caused by appliance and/or line leakage is becoming a more frequent and expensive problem A bad leak that occurs during a few days of vacation can amount to thousands of dollars of damage and a lot of grief for the owner of the property.

Fortunately, there are many new products that can prevent major damage and that are readily available at a reasonable cost. These devices range from simple sensors that sound an alarm when contacted by water to units that will turn off a washer if a drain overflows (but they don't turn off the water), to units that will turn off the water If a leak occurs. The last type can be set up with multiple sensors and can be used with a remote to turn off the water upon leaving the house. Good preventive insurance. Check out the possibilities at your local plumber or online sites such as plumbingsupply.com or others.

Most of your directors have completed their training toward director certification by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. Certification simply means that a director has become knowledgeable regarding the many issues that confront a board. Examples might be: Duties of directors of a corporation, state statutes, Department of Commerce rules, reinsurance, articles and by-laws, investment policy, hiring of managers, etc.
This training improves the efficiency of all directors and reduces the ‘break in time’ that is needed by new directors. This is especially important now since few directors being seated on our insurance boards today have experience in the insurance industry — as opposed to the distant past when many directors were agents. And of course, the insurance industry is becoming more complicated than it was in the past.

Through the efforts of the Minnesota Association of Farm Mutual Insurance Companies and the Minnesota Department of Commerce in cooperation with the Minnesota Legislature some beneficial changes have been made to Minnesota Statute 67A which governs mutual insurance companies. One change allows your mutual to provide insurance in any entire county where we are currently serving at least one township. This means that we can currently serve nine full counties. Another change deals with assessments. In the early days of mutual insurance, companies did not have a premium structure that was always adequate to pay all claims. Assessments were then made on members to pay these claims. Modern premium practices in recent years have made the assessment unnecessary, so it has been removed from the law.

With the high cost of fuels and the sad state of the economy, wood burning is becoming more popular again. This has a cost advantage for financially pressed citizens, but it is also a cause for concern among insurance companies, especially our reinsurance companies. The problem is not necessarily that solid fuel burning is more dangerous than gas or oil when properly used. But rather, there are still solid fuel heating systems that are not properly constructed, installed or used.
If you are currently using or intend to use wood or other solid fuels to heat your home or other buildings, please check with your agent or our office to be sure that your system is safe. There is a booklet that is available at our office that goes into detail on the installation and use of solid fuel burning systems.

Fires caused by wood burning generally fall into these categories:

  1. Improper installation of or an improperly designed unit. (No barrel stoves, please. Clearances between the heating unit or smoke pipe and flammable surfaces must be according to code and must be served by a proper chimney.)
  2. Improper maintenance such as a creosote laden chimney or rusted stove pipes.
  3. Trash or fuel near the heating unit.
  4. Improper removal and disposal of ash. (Use covered metal containers away from buildings or flammables.)
  5. Overloading or leaving a stove or fireplace burning without attention.

We are still adding to our list of members who are interested in serving on your board of directors. From time to time a director leaves the board for health or personal reasons. Our nominating committee must then initiate a search for a potential replacement. Anyone with the time to server and a degree of business experience is encouraged to contact our office for information.

Wondering about something regarding the company? Contact a board member for an accurate answer. They can give you the information you want unless it is business confidential or it violates personal privacy.

Jayson Strusz - President

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