KFB’s Grassroots Heritage

by Hunter Bowen

Now I am not a historian for Kentucky Farm Bureau and do not claim to know all the reasons why the Federation of Kentucky Farm Bureau started the Insurance Company. I have been told that the Federation wanted to help the rural community have an outlet to obtain insurance at a competitive level. With this in mind, I feel that we have in some ways veered off our course.

There is not an agent in our company who does not realize that the insurance company is a business and that we have to make a profit in order to stay in business. I also know that every agent that I have had contact with realizes that serious changes had to be made and will continue to be made to right our financial course, but I also believe that we are making it very hard on the very folks that were the consumers of our very beginning. The older widower with a home and one auto has been victimized because of their unfortunate circumstance and because of actuarial figures. I am not saying that we should not use actuarial numbers to make rate and business decisions, but I also believe that we have to use our very special and important secret weapon!! OUR KNOWLEDGE OF OUR CUSTOMER BASE AND OURROLES IN THE COMMUNITY!!!! KFB has had to adapt to some very serious issues that have befallen upon our company. We as agents can explain to our customers why we have rate increases and why we have had to increase deductibles. I truly believe that we can even explain the ACV issue to most of our clientele; however, it is very hard to explain to a customer that we are not the same Kentucky Farm Bureau that we were 10 years ago. We have lost our identity.

KFB is still a very strong and respected company and I feel very lucky to be working as an agent with this company. As an agent, I have a responsibility to write good and profitable business. I as an agent have a responsibility to INSPECT every piece of property that I write or reinstate. I as an agent should be responsible for my OWN book of business and underwrite in a way that will help keep KFB a strong and viable company. However, no matter how I underwrite, I cannot control weather patterns. The company has asked us to increase deductibles and I know that the agents took this and changed many of the policies before the mandated changes were put into place. The home office has asked us to rewrite the properties up for review and it is evident that we are making significant changes to our existing book during these reviews. We as agents want to be profitable and we want to be competitive. We only ask the home office to be respectful of us agents who have to discuss all these changes with our customers while explaining our business decisions. I know that it is not the agent’s job to dictate rates or make policy development decisions, but we the agents know what our customers are saying and know how they are receiving our new business plans. Let us at least be involved in the business decision process.

Mickey Sirls and the board have made the decision to have district KFBIAA meetings starting in January 2013 and we are going to invite the county presidents to attend these meetings with the agents of the association and the district representative that sits on the Federation Insurance Board. We know that if the agents are answering many difficult questions, the local board members are being asked many of the same questions. These meetings are for information only and a way for everyone to be on the same page when discussing the insurance company topics. Please make an effort to go to the district meeting when yours is scheduled. Your district president will be in touch with everyone in their district when that meeting is scheduled.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe and storm free 2013!! God Bless!!

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