myFAMI – our customer’s online connection to all things Farmers Alliance

myFAMI, our online portal for policyholders has new options! Through myFAMI, customers can now choose to Go Paperless! — accessing policy documents electronically, and stopping the mailing of paper documents. While it won’t be the choice of all customers, we know that many of our customers have asked for this capability, and will be glad to see it is now available.


As a reminder, there are 3 primary functions within myFAMI — myBilling, myClaims and myDocuments. Go Paperless! is the latest addition. The attached overview flyer highlights each of these areas, as well as providing a step-by-step guide for getting started. We’ve also provided some very short video tutorials for myFAMI.

All policy types (other than bonds and some specific commercial lines policies) can be accessed through myFAMI, and all a customer needs to get started is the policy number and bill account number (find these on a recent invoice or the policy Declarations). As they establish their myFAMI account, the system is designed to verify identity and ownership through specific procedures, so all policy access is secure.

myFAMI Flyer



Farmers Alliance Holds 130th Annual Policyholder Meeting

The 130th annual Policyholder Meeting was held on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, at the company’s home office in McPherson, Kansas. Attended primarily by the company’s Board of Directors, executive management team and several policyholders (others represented by proxy), the group heard from Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer L. Keith Birkhead. A Treasurer’s Report was provided by W. Paul Taliaferro, Chief Financial Officer.

Birkhead and Taliaferro reported that in spite of an average year for storm losses, the company experienced very good results in all areas during 2017, and continues to be positioned for steady, profitable growth in its target markets — farm and ranch insurance in the eight-state marketing territory. Policyholder Surplus and Admitted Assets reached new high levels, and the Combined Ratio, a key indicator of profitability, was reported at a healthy 99.08. The company continues to carry an A- (Excellent, Stable) rating from the A.M. Best Company, another strong indicator of financial strength.

During the meeting, two new Directors were elected to the Board, I. John Cholnoky and Donald W. Schwegman, and two current Directors were re-elected for new terms, Eric J. Larson and Brett A. Reber. They join continuing Directors Robert M. Alexander, Vincent Amanor-Boadu, R. J. Breidenthal, Jr., Marilyn Pauly, and Mr. Birkhead. Also during the meeting, three retiring directors were recognized for their service to the Farmers Alliance Board of Directors. Each was recognized with a Board resolution acknowledging their contributions to the organization, and thanking them for their dedication:
Sheila Frahm — 16 years of service. Resolution presented by Marilyn Pauly.
Joseph W. Jeter — 12 years of service. Resolution presented by Eric Larson.
Joe F. Jenkins, II — 47 years of service. Resolution presented by R. J. Breidenthal, Jr. Mr. Jenkins’ service ranks second in all-time year of service to the Farmers Alliance Board of Directors.

Birkhead concluded the meeting thanking all directors and employees, and noting that the successes we are now experiencing are because of the hard work and dedication of the Directors and staff throughout our long history.

L to R: Keith Birkhead, Joe Jenkins, Jay Breidenthal

L to R: Eric Larson, Joe Jeter, Keith Birkhead

L to R: Marilyn Pauly, Sheila Frahm, Keith Birkhead

The Customer Service Department Goes Back to the 80’s for Customer Service Week.

Customer Service Celebrated at Farmers Alliance

The Farmers Alliance Customer Service Department celebrated Customer Service Week in October with an 80’s theme. Various activities were held throughout the week, including a decorating contest, 80’s charades, an 80’s dress up day, 80’s word find and an 80’s Name that Tune competition! Customer Service Representatives assist in underwriting and servicing all types of policies, and provide critical assistance to agents and policyholders. Their work touches new business, renewals and policy changes — for farm lines, commercial lines and personal lines. There are 35 employees in the Farmers Alliance Customer Service Department.

Congratulations to Amanda Vance (4th from right), Molly Anderson (2nd from left) and Susan Anderson (1st from right)! They really rocked their 80’s outfits and won the dress up competition!

What is Customer Service Week?
Customer Service Week is an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. In 1992 the U.S. Congress proclaimed Customer Service Week a nationally recognized event, celebrated annually during the first full week in October.

The five core goals of Customer Service Week are:
1. Boost morale, motivation and teamwork.
2. Reward front line reps for the important work they do all year long.
3. Raise company wide awareness of the importance of customer service.
4. Thank other departments for their support.
5. Remind customers of your commitment to customer satisfaction.

At Farmers Alliance, we are proud to celebrate the work of our professional and dedicated customer service professionals. Thanks for all you do for our agents, policyholders and fellow employees!


Frequently Asked Questions About the Equifax Breach

Article from

What happened?
Equifax, a consumer credit reporting company, discovered a breach in its online systems that could impact 143 million consumers.

When did the breach occur?
The breach occurred from mid-May to July and was discovered on July 29. Equifax alerted the public on Sept. 7.

What information was involved?
Hackers gained access to files with names, birth dates, Social Security numbers (SSN), driver’s licenses and addresses. They also stole the credit card numbers of 209,000 consumers.

Why should I care?
The Equifax breach has been described as “massive” and “epic.” Adam Levin, chairman and founder of CyberScout, calls it a watershed event—one of the largest and worst breaches ever—because of the number of people affected and the type of information exposed. Impacted consumers are now vulnerable to a number of identity theft crimes and are often on their own to repair the damage done.

How did the breach occur?
Hackers exploited a vulnerability in Apache Struts, a kind of open-source software that companies like Equifax use to build websites, according to The New York Times. The security weakness was identified in March and a security patch to fix it was available. That means Equifax could have installed the patch two months before the breach but didn’t.

Who was behind the breach?
A group of hackers called “PastHole Hacking Team” claimed responsibility and demanded 600 Bitcoin in ransom or they’d release the data. Intelligence officials say it’s too early to confirm who’s behind the breach, but one theory is that a nation-state hit the company.

What is Equifax doing about the breach?
The Atlanta-based company set up a website where consumers could find out if their information was exposed. Consumers were asked to provide their last name and six digits of their SSN. Once submitted, they would receive a message saying if they were affected. Equifax also said it was offering one year of free credit monitoring and included terms of service language that barred enrollees from participating in class-action lawsuits. Public reaction was swift, and the company has since removed that language.

How has Equifax handled the breach?
Equifax has been surprisingly inept in its response. Consumers, privacy advocates, lawmakers and regulators all have expressed outrage. U.S. breach notification laws require notification in 30 days—sometimes 45 days in exceptional circumstances—after discovery of a breach. During that time, any company would be scrambling to analyze the damage, but it appears that Equifax gave short shrift to how to notify consumers whose information was violated long after the damage had been done.

What is the fallout from the breach?
A slew of class-action lawsuits claiming personal harm to consumers have been filed since the breach. We can also “expect commercial class actions claiming potential harm to businesses and other organizations,” that depend upon credit bureau data to verify identities and determine credit worthiness, according to Eduard Goodman, CyberScout’s global privacy officer.

State and federal government initiatives have begun and may lead to regulation. In the long term, it’s likely that a replacement for the Social Security number as a unique way to verify identity will be needed. Alternatives may arise in the marketplace, through regulation or a combination of both.

What should Equifax do for consumers?
Ideally, Equifax should offer five years of credit monitoring to consumers. That would be ideal, but unlikely.

What should consumers do?
CyberScout recommends these steps for consumers:

1. Contact providers. Ask your insurers, banks and employers if they offer identity management services, which often are a low-cost or free addition to existing services and will protect you going forward for the long term. Identity management services look for signs of fraud and provide access to specialists who can help you recover from identity theft quickly.

2. Review credit reports for any unusual activity. Visit, the government-mandated source for free annual credit reports. Investigate suspicious activity and monitor it until it’s resolved. Also, look for signs of fraud in your medical files, on your Social Security statement, in insurance claims, and in public records.

3. Place a fraud alert on your credit file. An alert placed with one of the three major credit bureaus (yes, that includes Equifax) signals to potential creditors that you could be a victim of identity theft. Initial fraud alerts last for 90 days and require potential creditors to confirm the legitimacy of your identity before granting credit. Extended fraud alerts last for seven years and are available to consumers who are confirmed identity theft victims with a valid police report.

4. Consider placing a security freeze on your credit report. This may be necessary if you’re experiencing fraud as a result of the data breach. A freeze locks access to your credit, so no one will be able to open a new account in your name. To determine whether a freeze is right for you, read more here.


Insured’s Testimonial: “I’m So Thankful for Equipment Breakdown!”

In the very small township of Springfield, South Dakota, lies Koch Insurance. There are other Koch Insurance offices in South Dakota — the main office in Tyndall with two more branches in Tabor and Yankton. Kim Bierema is an agent that works in the Springfield office. Not only is she a Farmers Alliance Agent, she and her husband, Myron, are Farmers Alliance policyholders.

Back in July, their air conditioner wasn’t cooling their home properly. “Something’s just not right here,” Kim explained. Kim called her local plumbing and heating company, and had a guy come out to look at it. He explained to the couple that the copper tubing in the air conditioning unit burst. They needed to replace the whole unit with a new one. The new unit was ordered and was installed.

Kim thought to herself, “I believe I have Equipment Breakdown coverage on my homeowners policy. I wonder if this would qualify for this situation.”

Kim contacted Farmers Alliance’s Claims Department and, sure enough, her air conditioner was covered under Equipment Breakdown. The claim was paid within a week’s time. The amount paid was $8,900 for the new air conditioner. She paid her $500 deductible.

“I’ve had this coverage since it was first introduced. I thought about getting rid of it several times, but I’m so thankful that I didn’t! Wow!”

Equipment Breakdown Coverage responds to the cost to repair or replace mechanical, electrical or pressure systems equipment that suffer a breakdown.

Your Farmers Alliance agent is the best source of information regarding these coverages. Talk with them about your specific situation, and they’ll know just what you need!

Former Farmers Alliance Board of Director Member now Emeritus, Harold “Hap” Walters, donated his 298th pint of blood.

Courtesy of Hutchinson News.

“As Harold “Hap” Walters was finishing up donating his 298th pint of blood on Monday during the quarterly Hutchinson Community Blood Drive, his wife excitedly came to the donation site to show him some mail that had just arrived.

Walters was the subject of an article in The Hutchinson News back in November, when he hit the 37-gallon donation mark.

The story has made its way around the country, including into a joke last week on late night TV.

Monday’s letter, however, was from the current CEO of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies in Indianapolis, Indiana, the place Walters worked for 34 years – including 23 as president and CEO – before retiring nearly three decades ago.

The letter included a photo of CEO Charles “Chuck” Chamness donating blood, Walters said, and a message from Chamness that Walters “is still inspiring the staff” despite an absence of 27 years.

Inspired by his story, the company had set up its first on-site blood drive – and designated it “Hap Walters Spirit Day.”

After finishing his donation, Walters made his appointment for the June drive. If things go as he hopes, he will hit 300 pints in August.”

Congratulations to Hap!


Who is Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft?

Think identity theft mostly happens to older people? Or to high-income earners? The truth is that identity thieves focus their efforts wherever the opportunities are, and there are plenty of opportunities across most age groups.

Identity theft complaints are on the rise, with 16 percent of consumers filing reports, up from the previous year, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s 2016 Consumer Sentinel Network Databook.

Tax- or wage-related fraud was the most common reported identity-related fraud, accounting for 45 percent of consumer complaints, followed by credit card fraud and phone or utilities fraud representing 16 and 10 percent of complaints, respectively.

Most Affected Groups

For our nation’s service members, identity theft remains the number one complaint, unfortunately. And while in past years consumers of all ages reported incidents of the crime at relatively similar rates, the numbers now paint a different picture. Consumers between the ages of 40 and 69 are reporting identity theft at higher rates, suggesting a growing awareness of this crime—and vulnerability.

Here’s a look at three groups identity thieves target and why.


More seniors are reporting identity theft. Consumers between the ages of 40-49 and 50-59 accounted for 15 percent and 24 percent of complaints, respectively, both up from the previous year. And the numbers for seniors are likely to be even higher, according to an AARP survey which found that “victims 55 years of age and older were significantly less likely to acknowledge that they were defrauded than victims under 55.” All-too-common scams include tax identity theft, medical identity theft and fraud committed by nursing home and long-term care staff

Military Personnel

Service members are reporting identity theft at a higher rate—30 percent—than the previous year. And they’re experiencing more familiar fraud and new-account fraud than most populations, according to the 2015 Identity Fraud Report from Javelin Strategy & Research. The military has used personally identifying information (PII), such as Social Security numbers, as general identifiers for personnel, which increases theft risks. Moreover, deployed military personnel who do not place an active duty alert on their credit files are easy targets for friends or family members.

College Students

Identity theft complaints among college-age students may have dropped slightly, but this group is four times more likely to have their identity stolen through familiar fraud than other populations, according to the 2015 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research. Much of the issue is likely due to awareness of behaviors that may put them at risk, as well as limited understanding of the costs and challenges of identity theft. For example, students are often very aware of computer security, but they share personal information widely and may not understand the importance of locking away or shredding important documents and IDs, and regularly checking their credit reports.


Policyholders who suspect they are victims of fraud should contact Farmers Alliance at 620-241-2200 to find out how they can work with a fraud specialist to help manage and protect their identity.

F-4 Tornado Destroys Family Farm, Farmers Alliance is Right There to Help

F-4 Tornado Destroys Family Farm, Farmers Alliance is Right There to Help

On May 25, 2016, a category F-4 tornado swept across central Kansas. Multiple homes were damaged – even railroad tracks were destroyed that night. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

The tornado, described as a half-mile-wide wedge, just barely skirted south of Chapman, a town of about 1,400, but struck several farmhouses in Dickinson County. One of those farmsteads belonged to a Farmers Alliance customer. It was a total loss.

Rich Cunningham (Senior Field Adjuster) adjusting the loss at the farmstead near Chapman.

Prior to the storm, the farm, situated on 500 acres, included a lovely 1944 square-foot home, 6 barns, 3 machine sheds, 3 other buildings, and 2 center pivots. After the storm, as you can see from the photo, none of the buildings were left standing, and the equipment was heavily damaged, or missing.

For Ken and Deb Wood, the place they had called home since 1993 was gone — all the machinery except one tractor, all the farm trucks and a semi truck, and all their personal vehicles except the pickup Mr. Wood was driving at the time of the storm.

Where to start?

With a total loss like this, one might expect it would take a long time to get the claim settled, let alone rebuild. There are several steps in the process, but it all begins with the initial review of the property by the claims adjuster. And while the entire rebuilding process would take many months, that initial review – and making payment to the customer – was completed in just a matter of days (see infographic).



While each loss has its own timeline, in this case, and even with a loss of this magnitude, the review was completed and payments were provided to our customer in just 7 days. Those payments allowed them to begin rebuilding their lives – finding new temporary housing, replacing items lost in the storm, and making plans for construction of their new home.

Finding a Place to Stay

The family needed an immediate place to stay during the rebuilding. A member of the Chapman community heard that the couple lost their house and they had a two story farm house that belonged to a deceased family member.  The house was fully furnished including towels in the closet, dishes in the cabinet, beds that were made and ready to sleep in.  All the family had to do was put food in the refrigerator and cabinets – and, some friends and family already did that for them. They walked through the door and continued to live there as if it was their home.

The Rebuilding Process

Over the past year, the “new” farmstead has been built from the ground up. It would take several months to clean up the debris and other remains from the vicious storm. New construction began in October, starting with pouring the basement.


October 11, 2016, shortly after the foundation was poured and set.

Framing of the house began shortly after the basement and foundation were poured. (Photo taken October 28, 2016)

To replace several small buildings and sheds, a large Morton machine shed was being put up in no time. (Photo taken October 28, 2016)

The exterior of the house is framed and sided, as well as the Morton building. All that is left is the interior to do. (Photos taken February 28, 2017)

Moving In

The Wood family was able to move into their new home during the first week of May 2017.

Ken explained, “We were in shock the first month or two and look back and understand why it was so important for Rich to be there to help us get all the pieces put together and how it is a process of making sure things are done right and step by step. We have told many people that our insurance company is Farmers Alliance when asked, because others are still in the middle of working through the process while we are done and in a new house.  The others are looking into Farmers Alliance because of how well our claim was processed. Everything was rebuilt in less than a year.”

The Woods’ Farmers Alliance agent, Morris Edwards, owner of the Edwards Agency in Chapman, KS, had this to say about the claims department. “I was very pleased with the response from Rich Cunningham, and all of the claims department. Not only were they quickly on site, they kept in contact with the family until the entire claim was settled. This is how we would all want to be treated at time of loss.”

Welcome home, Wood family!

Why choose Farmers Alliance?

At Farmers Alliance, we’ve provided excellent claims service for more than 125 years, and we are committed to continuing that legacy. We take our responsibility very seriously, and stand ready to help when you need us.

If you’re already a Farmers Alliance customer, thank you! We look forward to serving you if the need arises. If you’re not a Farmers Alliance customer yet, contact a Farmers Alliance agent near you!


Farmers Alliance supports the American Red Cross



The Red Cross Bloodmobile outside of Farmers Alliance

The American Red Cross exists to provide compassionate care to those in need. Through a network of generous donors, volunteers and employees, they share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas: Disaster Relief, Supporting America’s Military Families, Lifesaving Blood, Health and Safety Services, and International Services.

5.6 million blood donations are collected by the Red Cross each year! 3.3 million generous volunteer blood donors roll up a sleeve each year.

Blood donors are ordinary people – high school students, factory and office workers, business executives, parents and grandparents, and people from every walk of life, including the insurance professionals at Farmers Alliance!

Farmers Alliance has several employees that give blood whenever the truck comes around. JoLynn Stout (Human Resources) is the company blood drive coordinator. She promotes the drive, and recruits employees to sign up and give blood. Lunch is also provided to Red Cross Staff and employees.

Sandy Baldwin (Claims) is a frequent donor, and had this to say about giving. “Through personal experiences over the years, I’ve learned first-hand the importance of having a reliable blood supply available to those in need. Since Farmers Alliance has the Red Cross Bloodmobile come to our office, I really can’t think of a reason not to participate in the drive, or at least to give it a try. In most cases, giving blood is quick and easy. It just seems to be the right thing to do!”

If you would like to give to the Red Cross or would like to donate blood. Visit their site here.

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