The 2022 Annual Report is now available. This past year presented many challenges in the form of catastrophic weather losses, investment market turns, rising costs from inflation, supply chain shortages, reinsurance uncertainty, and transitions for our staff — just to mention a few. Although our financial results for 2022 reflect the many challenges we faced, we know that success is defined by more than the balance sheet and income statement. So, as we reflect on a challenging year, we acknowledge the difficulties, but also celebrate the many successes!
Brett Hudson, Senior Product & Compliance Manager at Farmers Alliance, recently graduated from the McPherson Chamber of Commerce Leadership McPherson class. Brett was one of 11 individuals from McPherson County that participated.
Leadership McPherson partners with the Kansas Leadership Center to administer an in-depth, educational program that focuses on developing individual leadership skills, giving participants the skills to move organizations and businesses forward. The participants met several times over a 90-day period and received training from multiple community members as well as instructors from the Kansas Leadership Center. Brett said that “much of the curriculum focused on understanding ourselves and how we can leverage different strategies for interacting with others in more productive ways. We spent time talking to several community organizations who are working to help youth in the area and discussed options for projects we could do as a class to help them.”
As part of the class, participants were required to plan a project to benefit the youth of McPherson County. “Most of the community groups we spoke to said that there is a lack of awareness in the community of what services they provide,” said Brett. As a result of their research, the group decided that a Community Connection Fair within the local schools would be an excellent solution to the problem. The fair would allow these community groups to come together in one place to talk with teachers and students about the resources that they can provide. “We are excited about the potential to connect these organizations with teachers and students in our community. There is such a great need for this, and we hope it’s a way we can make the lives of youth in our community better,” said Brett. The fair would be open to both charitable and for-profit organizations that provide youth services in McPherson County. They expect to complete the project by the Spring of 2023.
Farmers Alliance is excited for Brett and what the leadership class has been able to accomplish so far. We are pleased to have great leaders on our team who want to make a difference in their communities.
MCPHERSON, KANSAS — Brian D. Lopata, President and Chief Executive Officer at Farmers Alliance has announced three promotions within the Executive Leadership Team, following the recent meeting of the company’s Board of Directors. According to Lopata, “I am happy to recognize these individuals for their exceptional work on behalf of Farmers Alliance, and look forward to their continued contributions in these new positions.” He added, “As we look to the future for Farmers Alliance, these changes will keep us aligned strategically and operationally, positioning us well for future success.”
Andy Edwardson has been named Executive Vice President – Chief Data & Technology Officer. Edwardson joined Farmers Alliance in 1997 in Information Technology (IT), and previously held the position of Senior Vice President – Chief Information Officer. Since the launch of the Farmers Alliance 2025 Strategic Plan, he has taken on an expanded role in the areas of technology, data science, actuarial science and project management. In recognition of these growing responsibilities, Edwardson is promoted to Executive Vice President – Chief Data & Technology Officer. He has direct responsibility for overseeing the strategic direction and execution of Information Technology, Data Analytics, Actuary, and Enterprise Project Management/Innovation.
Aaron Valentine, CPCU, CPA, is named Executive Vice President – Chief Financial & Risk Officer. Valentine joined Farmers Alliance in 2019, as Senior Vice President – Chief Insurance Officer, bringing more than 25 years of management experience with a regional mutual insurer. Following the recent retirement of Paul Taliaferro as Chief Financial Officer, Valentine is promoted to Executive Vice President – Chief Financial & Risk Officer. With this change, Valentine has direct responsibility for overseeing the strategic direction and execution of Accounting & Finance, Internal Audit, Enterprise Risk Management, Claims and Billing.
Randy Lutgen, CPCU, joins Executive Leadership Team, is named Senior Vice President – Chief Underwriting Officer. Lutgen joined Farmers Alliance in 2017, bringing many years of underwriting management experience. He previously was Vice President – Underwriting & Customer Service. As Senior Vice President – Chief Underwriting Officer, Lutgen has direct responsibility for overseeing the strategic direction and execution of Underwriting, Product & Compliance, and Customer Service & Satisfaction.
These promotions are effective immediately. The Farmers Alliance Executive Leadership Team also includes Ryan Hicks, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, and Jack Rader, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing & Reinsurance Officer.
Farmers Alliance recently partnered with Safelite® AutoGlass to handle glass claims. This partnership combines the reliability you’ve come to expect from Farmers Alliance with the exceptional customer service of Safelite AutoGlass. File a glass claim 24/7/365 by phone at 800-362-1075 or online using a new, self-service, glass claims reporting portal.
Self-Service Claims and Repair Scheduling
File glass claims online, anytime/anywhere with the Safelite self-service portal. Just visit fami.com/ReportAClaim and follow the link to report a glass claim with Safelite AutoGlass. From there, you will enter your personal information, policy information, and the damage to your vehicle. Next, you can schedule repairs directly with Safelite at one of their local shops or have a technician come to you.
We know that you want choices when selecting a repair shop, and that’s why your shop preference will always be honored with Safelite. When filing your claim online, choose “I have another shop in mind”, and someone will follow up with you to schedule repairs with your shop of choice.
While this service is designed to make your life easier, it’s not intended to replace the support of your FAMI agent. Contact your FAMI agent if you need help filing a glass claim or have questions about filing one yourself. We are excited to offer this new service and hope you find it convenient and easy to use.
While the Black Friday deals have already begun, the Friday after Thanksgiving remains a popular day to find the best steals on gifts for your loved ones. Whether you are shopping in-person or online, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Here are some great tips to help you stay safe:
In the store
There is safety in numbers. Bring friends with you when you shop. It’s safer and more fun!
Bring and use only ONE credit card. It’s much easier to cancel one card if it is lost or stolen than a wallet full.
If possible, keep your keys, cash, and credit card in three different places. Avoid using a purse if possible. If you must carry a purse, never leave it unattended, and always wear it.
When shopping with kids, make sure you designate a place to meet in case you get separated.
If a deal you’ve had your eye on is running low in stock, beware of over-zealous bargain hunters. There is no deal worth getting into a fight over and it’s likely you can find it online for the same price.
In the car
Put all your shopping bags in the trunk or somewhere out of sight to avoid a vehicle break-in. A thief is more likely to break into your vehicle if they can see something they want.
Keep your doors always locked when you leave your vehicle.
Parking lots can be hectic, with other drivers and pedestrians. Go slow and keep your eyes peeled so you don’t hit anyone.
Park directly under lights when it’s dark outside and avoid parking near large vehicles that might block your view.
When you arrive home, be sure to bring your packages inside. Do not leave them in your car.
Avoid shopping over public Wi-Fi networks.
Shop with reputable retailers only.
Double-check website URLs for phishing URLs. Scammers like to create pages that look like secure sites that steal your information.
Learn to spot Black Friday deals that look too good to be true. It’s likely they are a scam.
Credit cards typically offer increased consumer protections, and they don’t tie up your funds if something were to happen.
Keep these tips in mind while grabbing the best deals that Black Friday has to offer. Stay safe and go get the deals you’ve been waiting all year for! Happy shopping!
Wellness is a big deal at Farmers Alliance, and we frequently encourage our employees to stay active and make healthy choices for both the mind and body. One way we encourage healthy choices is by rewarding wellness points for completing certain activities throughout the year and by exercising, which then can be redeemed for wellness-related items. Josh Paine has been with Farmers Alliance for over five years and is a Data Liaison in the IT department. He is an avid, long-distance runner, completing over 20 half marathons and five marathons in the last five years, so it’s easy for him to rack up points. At the end of last year, he decided to cash in his wellness points for two pairs of trail-running shoes so that he could start training for America’s most challenging marathon at Pikes Peak in Colorado. He had completed the Prairie Fire Marathon in Wichita, Kansas in the Fall of 2021, which qualified him for the race, so he decided to go for it and sign up for the Pikes Peak Marathon in Manitou Springs, Colorado.
“Pikes Peak is a very memorable place for my wife, Carri, and me,” said Josh. “We honeymooned in Manitou Springs, and hiked Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak.” The marathon route takes the same trail up the mountain and Josh thought this would be a great way to remember their trip and make some new memories as he pushed himself physically to the limit.
The day before the big race they took the cog railway to the top of Pikes Peak so they could watch the half-marathon runners ascend the mountain. The route for the half-marathon starts in Manitou Springs where riders can board the train and ends at the peak. “As I watched the half-marathon runners, I was motivated and inspired”, said Josh. “There were over 2,000 ascent runners and it was incredible to see so many people coming up the mountain. Especially once we hit 11,000 feet, just above the tree line and you could see for miles.”
The next day he started on his journey. This marathon was much different from others he had done in the past because it required him to power-hike which he had not had to do on the traditional marathons he had run before. It was a “slow-go” up the mountain, and as he approached the tree line the brain fog started to settle in. He just kept going, and he finally reached the top where he immediately turned around to head back down. The initial descent was mass chaos as the 750 other runners behind him were still trying to pass as they finished their ascent up the narrow trail. He was surprised at how much more difficult the descent was than the climb. The downhill grade put more pressure on his muscles and joints, and he had to control his speed. “I fell twice on the way down because my muscles were tired from the climb. I thought the climb would be more difficult, but the way down hurt much worse,” said Josh.
Josh finished the race in about six and a half hours which was about three hours longer than his typical flat land run time. “It was such a relief when I finally crossed the finish line. I was shocked by how much longer it took me to run this race compared to previous ones,” he said. “The climb itself took me as long as a typical marathon.” While this was the most challenging marathon Josh had ever done, he is already planning to do it again. Now he has a better understanding of what he needs to do to train, and he thinks he’ll be able to do even better next time.
As members of the Farmers Alliance FAMI-ly, employees have a unique opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree without incurring significant costs. Farmers Alliance’s educational reimbursement program allows team members to have up to $5,250 in expenses reimbursed annually if their major is mutually beneficial for both the employee and the company.
Kaela Moore is an Advanced Underwriter with Farmers Alliance and has been with the company for nearly 10 years. She has experienced much growth professionally in her tenure but has also experienced significant setbacks personally that have altered her initial plans for pursuing an advanced degree. Recently, however, plans changed, and she is nearly finished earning her MBA. Keep reading and learn more about her experience and how she has benefited from FAMI’s educational reimbursement program.
What are you studying and why?
I’ve wanted to pursue a master’s degree since I graduated with my undergraduate degree. When I began my career with FAMI after graduating, I was particularly intrigued by the opportunity to make this dream come true and have the company help me pay for it. Unfortunately, life had different plans for me, and I was in a life-changing car accident that pushed my dreams out further than I had originally planned. After a period of healing and readjustment, I was ready to pursue my dream and when the pandemic hit in 2020, I had even more time at home to make that dream happen, so I enrolled at Emporia State University with the hopes of earning my MBA.
Are you taking classes in-person or online?
My classes are completely online and do not have scheduled lectures. The program is flexible and allows me to listen to lectures and complete assignments when I can make time for them throughout the week.
How long have you been with Farmers Alliance?
I’ve been with Farmers Alliance since May of 2013. I started my career as an intern while I was finishing up college and was hired full-time after I graduated in January of 2014 after graduating from McPherson College.
What do you like most about working here?
My favorite thing about working for FAMI is the atmosphere. It’s a professional environment with lots of opportunities for advancement, but it’s small enough that you still feel like you are part of a family. The corporate leadership knows me by name, understands the importance of my role in the company, and takes time to know me on a more personal level.
What do you hope to do with your degree once completed?
While I’m pursuing an MBA, I’ve specifically chosen to take electives in analytics and data. I’d like to earn my CPCU designation after graduating and be more involved with strategic planning at Farmers Alliance. After almost 10 years in the insurance industry, I feel like I have a good understanding of what we do and how we do it, but I’d like to understand more about how we plan for the future.
What would you tell a FAMI team member who is considering furthering their education?
Getting my master’s degree has expanded my knowledge and grown my critical thinking skills significantly, and it was much easier than I had anticipated. I have been able to complete my assignments and lectures in about 10-15 hours per week, leaving me time to do my full-time job and do fun things in the evenings and on weekends. My total out-of-pocket expense will be just a little over $1,000 after FAMI’s contributions. If you have the time and desire to do it, go for it!
Every five years of service, Farmers Alliance provides a financial gift to employees, and when Dan Schrick celebrated 30 years with the company earlier this year, he knew exactly how he would spend his reward. He purchased a new bike that he would ride for Bike Across Kansas (BAK).
Bike Across Kansas
BAK is an eight-day bicycle tour across Kansas that starts along the Colorado border west of Coolidge and finishes east of Louisburg along the Missouri border. Dan heard about BAK several years ago, but he did not feel that he was physically prepared for the 512-mile ride. “I ride 10 to 15 miles in the evenings a few times a week, and I have done several long-distance rides before but never more than 50 miles. I was attracted to the idea of traveling through the state and experiencing the sights on a bicycle,” Dan said.
BAK was canceled the last couple of years, so Dan decided to use that time to train for the big tour. Earlier this year, he signed up, along with his 26-year-old daughter. His wife and four-year-old grandson traveled by car along with them from town to town.
Stories from the Road
Dan said, “the mornings were always the best. We would start out at about 6:00 AM each day when the air was cool and there was no traffic. As the sun was coming up, we would travel for miles and see nothing but beautiful Kansas landscapes with the occasional tractor or combine.” While the mornings were pleasant, on many days the heat indexes reached 100+ degrees. Many communities offered cold drinks, and some even put out sprinklers to help riders beat the heat. “The last 10 miles of our second day as we were traveling through Western Kansas the temperature and the heat came up, and I was not sure if I could make it. We powered through and each day after the rides seemed to get easier.”
As Dan and his daughter rode through Emporia, they accidentally missed a detour and rode through a construction zone, leaving some tire tracks in freshly poured concrete. “The construction workers were taking a lunch break under a nearby shade tree and just smiled as we rode by. We plan to revisit the area someday and see our permanent tire tracks,” said Dan.
At the end of each day, they had the option of camping or sleeping in a high school gymnasium. “I opted to camp. With over 500 riders, there were many tents and plenty of company.” Dan said “the evening meals were often prepared by a local church or school as a fundraiser. The food was always good!
When he started training, Dan had a goal in mind to finish the ride as quickly and uneventfully as possible. As the days went by, his goal changed. “I wanted to ride at my own pace, enjoying the scenery, and taking time to interact with people in the small towns who were waiting to greet us as we came through.” Dan happily reports that he achieved his new goal, with the bonus of some great time together as a family along the way, and a renewed appreciation for the peaceful scenery and great people of Kansas.
Giving back to our communities is nothing new at Farmers Alliance. There is a strong history of philanthropy and community support, and that spirit continues to grow. Recently, the company gathered all employees for the 2022 FAMI-ly REUNION – an event focused on celebrating company successes over the past two years, and the first in-person all-employee event since late 2019.
As evidence of Farmers Alliance’s commitment to giving back, a key activity during the Reunion event was an all-employee service project. Working in two teams, company staff assembled 100 Welcome Backpacks, full of supplies for refugees, and 144 Clean-up Buckets, packed with disaster relief supplies.
The Welcome Backpacks were coordinated through Church World Service and will go to refugees who flee their homes for a safer location without many of the necessities. Backpacks include a blanket, pens, paper, crayons and a coloring book, healthy snacks, and personal hygiene items like a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush, deodorant, hand sanitizer, masks, and more. All is packed into a new 17” backpack. Church World Service distributes these to various locations, as the needs are identified.
Clean-Up Kits (buckets) are distributed through Convoy of Hope, based in Springfield, Missouri. The Clean-Up Kits are part of their Disaster Services response, helping victims of floods, fires, earthquakes, tornados, or other natural disasters, throughout the world. Each of the five-gallon buckets (with a secure lid) includes cleaning and sanitizing supplies, along with gloves, masks, trash bags, paper towels, and sponges.
The packing list for these service projects was quite lengthy and costly. Farmers Alliance purchased many of the items for the project but received assistance from several of our vendor partners. Special thanks to Premier Food Service, Brady Industries, and Cintas for generously donating many of the items needed, and for helping us to acquire other items at a reduced cost. Through this project, our Farmers Alliance “FAMI-ly” expanded to include these key vendors, and we are all very grateful!
At the 2022 FAMI-ly REUNION, the 100 backpacks and 144 buckets were packed in record time, in sweltering temperatures, all with great attitudes and teamwork. The Farmers Alliance “FAMI-ly” cares about our communities and those we serve, and that caring spirit was definitely on display during the Reunion.
The last few years have been tough throughout the world, for so many reasons. Farmers Alliance has faced those challenges, and come out on the other side a stronger, more resilient company. To reinforce all the successes of the recent past, and enjoy the opportunity to safely gather in person, we celebrated our 2022 FAMI-ly REUNION in early May.
On May 10th we closed our office and gathered our entire team together from across the country for an in-person event to celebrate our accomplishments at our corporate headquarters in McPherson, Kansas. Employees were also joined by members of the Board of Directors, a few key agents, and recent retirees.
Implementation of new technologies, combined with a fierce desire to provide flexibility to our staff, has aligned us for continued growth while allowing us to better serve our agents and policyholders. With a more geographically diverse workforce, it is important to bring our team together periodically to re-charge, and to ensure that we all stay focused on our vision: to provide peace of mind for the people we serve.
Our President and CEO, Brian Lopata, kicked off the event at the McPherson Opera House, highlighting our accomplishments since the launch of our 2025 Strategic Plan, the last time our entire staff was physically together, in late 2019. Brian’s presentation was supported by a series of videos featuring more than 40 Farmers Alliance employees and Directors sharing our progress from their own perspectives. There is much to celebrate, and hearing it from employees was especially powerful.
Following the presentation, the celebration continued at our corporate office with an afternoon of food and fun. A variety of food trucks were on site for lunch, plus an obstacle course, corn hole games, and a photo booth. It was a hot day, but the delicious food and fun atmosphere made for a great time!
A key activity during the afternoon was an all-employee service project. Thanks to donations from some vendor partners and a significant financial contribution by the company, the employees assembled 100 Welcome Backpacks, full of supplies for refugees, and 144 Clean-up Buckets, packed with disaster relief supplies. The backpacks and buckets were packed in record time, in sweltering temperatures, all with great attitudes and teamwork. The Farmers Alliance “FAMI-ly” cares about our communities and those we serve, and that caring spirit was definitely on display during the Reunion. You can read more about our service projects here.
The 2022 FAMI-ly REUNION was a celebration of our recent accomplishments, and now is a catalyst for continuing the strong performance and service to our customers and communities. It was important to reconnect with fellow employees, and those connections will continue to carry us forward. The future is very bright at Farmers Alliance.
Here’s a short glimpse of the Reunion – enjoy! Watch the video and view the gallery below.