The 6th Annual WRC All Manager meeting was held June 26-27 at Chestnut Mountain Resort in Galena, IL. The meeting offered an opportunity for managers to exchange ideas and concerns and to learn about The WRC Group’s plans.

Senior Vice President of Reinsurance Todd Lentz gave an overview of a few changes within the organization including new employees, the new website, ShareBase, forms conversion, reinsurance capacity, and importance of the mutual survey.

Sherry Taylor, Manager of Underwriting Consulting, then spoke about her team’s projects, upcoming training sessions in Missouri and Wisconsin, and conducted a few underwriting exercises.

After Sherry’s underwriting update, Manager of Reinsurance Administration Stacy Brieman shared information on implementing a new secure, cloud-based file-sharing site. This new website would give each client one account from which to securely send and receive documents from WRC.

Executive Vice President of 1st Auto Lisa Russell followed with an update on what’s been happening at 1st Auto and what the company is updating to create better communication with agents.

These updates include two new group email addresses to help with communication needs.

Liz Guilfoyle, Director of Claims, wrapped up the WRC updates with a brief update on WASI. The company has started implementing a new claims system for clients. The new system will allow clients to electronically submit new losses, attach claim or policy documents and securely access their company claim documents.

Upon conclusion of the updates, a Farm Panel of three managers discussed their companies and the farm business they write. The panel consisted of Andy Rokusek from The Farm Mutual Group of South Dakota, Bob Belling from Theresa Mutual Insurance Company, and Dean Sayre from Farmer Mutual Insurance Company of Linn County.

After lunch, Attorney Jennifer Mirus, of Boardman & Clark, LLP, gave a presentation on Avoiding Legal Landmines in Managing Your Employees and Effectively Addressing Workplace Issues. Jennifer discussed how employment law cases are rising in the United States even though the economy and unemployment rates have not changed significantly.

After Jennifer’s presentation, the meeting continued with two roundtable sessions. The first session was about Bolt On products and services under consideration by WRC.  Attendee input will help determine the futures of these offerings.

The second session focused on changing demographics and how the mutuals market their companies. This topic stemmed from the question that if demographics are changing in rural sectors, how can the mutual successfully market to younger agents, younger policyholders, and younger employees?

The second roundtable concluded with a discussion on what is most important for the mutual to retain business. Customer service seemed to be a popular answer. Products, low costs and rates were helpful, but being local and available was something policyholders wanted the most from their insurance company.

Bob Burrell of the law firm Borgelt, Powell, Peterson & Frauen in Milwaukee, WI, was the keynote speaker on Thursday. He presented on two topics related to first-party property claims, which are increasingly common challenges for mutual managers and adjusters.

In his first session, Appraisal Strategies for Property Claims, Bob discussed how to effectively use the appraisal clause in a policy. This option can provide an efficient way to resolve claims in which there is a dispute over the value of damages on a covered loss.

Bob’s final session, Managing Mortgagee & Foreclosure Issues in Property Claims, explored a variety of scenarios in which the mortgagee makes a claim for its insurable interest under the mortgage clause in the policy. Bob discussed several challenging claim scenarios involving vacancy, occupancy and what can potentially occur during the foreclosure process.

President and CEO Terry Wendorff wrapped up the 2018 WRC All Manager Meeting by noting the importance of having not only cyber protection for the mutuals, but also the importance of evaluating the systems via penetration tests to verify the security strength. He also said backups are more important than ever with the increased use of ransomware.

The WRC Group hopes all attendees this year learned something new and enjoyed the time they spent at Chestnut Mountain Resort with us.