Protecting Changing Dreams

Protecting the dream Celebrating the dreamers among us

Ours is a nation of dreamers. We grow up believing that just about anything is possible. But dreams change along the journey of life, as we discover new opportunities and face unforeseen challenges. That’s where insurance comes into play.

We visited the Zimnys of Lockport, Ill., to hear their compelling story of how Russell Zimny pursued the American Dream of family, home and business. It’s a real-life illustration of how dynamic dreams are … we start out in full pursuit of a dream, only to find our perspectives shift, our dreams change or we encounter obstacles along the way.

Customers Russell and Jennifer Zimny welcome to their home American Family officers Dan Schultz (left) and Jack Salzwedel (right).

Across our 19 operating states, American Family helped preserve our customers’ dreams with anticipated payments of $3.4 billion for claims occurring in 2012. That amount included $840.6 million for damage caused by storms, tornadoes and wildfires. We also marked our 85th anniversary with the opening of DreamBank, a place dedicated to the inspiration, celebration and protection of dreams for individuals, families and the community in our hometown of Madison, Wis. Late in the year, we expanded our family with the acquisition of Permanent General, a group of companies that writes direct non-standard auto insurance. Permanent General is successful and growing, and the addition improves our ability to meet our diverse customer needs and preferences.

Our customers like the changes we’ve implemented in recent years – customer satisfaction and customer loyalty measures are at record highs. We will continue to refine our products and services, and we’ll also start serving customers in new parts of the country.

It’s an exciting time in our family, and we’re so grateful you trust us to protect your dreams.

Jack C. Salzwedel
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Daniel R. Schultz
President and Chief Operating Officer

Dreams protected, every step of the way

Russell Zimny dreams big. And when those dreams are fulfilled, he dreams again – only bigger.

Sitting in the boardroom at his growing company that offers computer network support to small businesses, Russell reminisces about his dreams that have come true. There have been many for the Lockport, Ill., husband, father and business owner, with more likely to come.

Like many teens, Russell dreamed of owning a car. At age 16, with money saved from working many nights as a DJ for weddings and special events, he got it – a 1984 Chevy pickup truck.

When he graduated from high school, he landed a job at a telecommunications company, moving up to manager in three years. By his mid-20s, he was a director of information services at another company. A couple of years later, Russell had another dream, to own his own business. So he quit corporate life and set up his own company.

“My family had a huge influence on me,” says Russell. “My dad owned his own business. His work ethic knew no bounds. And my mother always believed in me. She always told me I’d be a star.” A neighbor had an impact on him, too. The neighbor was Ken Eberly, an American Family Insurance agent and the father of Russell’s best friend.

Russell with American Family agent, Ken Eberly

Russell first went to Ken when he wanted insurance to protect his car. Two years later, when he bought his first house – at age 20 – he insured it with Ken and American Family. Then he married his girlfriend, Jennifer. When they had their three children, Kaitlynn, Ryan and Carter, they needed life insurance: “I went to Ken again,” he says. “My family is so important to me.”

When it comes to pursuing dreams, Russell is all in. Why wouldn’t he be similarly focused when it comes to protecting what he has built?

“I asked Ken what I’d need to get started. I gave him worst-case scenarios such as lightning strikes or winds taking out our electricity, and I got answers. He helped me make sure I had the coverage I needed.”

Russell learned about more than insurance from Ken. “When I started the business, I knew I had to be a salesperson even though I was suspicious of salespeople. Then I realized Ken sells by showing how he can help people. That’s how I now sell our service.”

Russell and his first employee made thousands of calls from the basement of Russell’s home. They often were rejected, but persistence paid off and they slowly but steadily built their customer base. After 18 months, they moved out of the basement and into an office.

The company, now called ZLan Partners, recently merged with another firm and moved into a larger office. It employs 20 people, and business is booming. Russell has always informed Ken of changes that might require updated insurance protection.

“I meet with Russell often, and it’s exciting. He’s always telling me about his next step, and asking how it can be covered,” says Ken. “We make a great team, and I really appreciate that he’s shared our experiences with others.”

Russell’s praise of American Family has inspired many of his relatives to follow in his footsteps. Russell and his family members have purchased 25 American Family policies, including life insurance for Russell’s brothers, renters insurance for his sister-in-law and renters and auto for his father.

Russell says his motivation to spread the word is simple. He wants others – and their dreams – to be protected the way he is.

“I have the utmost trust in American Family. I know American Family and Ken are there for me when I need them. That’s one thing I don’t have to worry about as I work to grow our company and give my family the life they deserve.”

“A wildfire spread into our neighborhood and destroyed our home along with many others. We feel lucky to be with American Family. Our agent made sure we were protected before the fire, and our adjuster took great care of us after it. We’re now in our new house, settling in, making it home.”
Mike and Gail Estes
American Family customers
Colorado Springs, Colo.
“I was so worried for my son when he was admitted to American Family Children’s Hospital with a strain of E. coli. But the hospital and its staff turned things around and saved Dayne. I am so proud to be part of a company that supports the community and causes like American Family Children’s Hospital. It tells me American Family has its heart in the right place.”
Keith Oleson
American Family employee
Madison, Wis.

$840.6 million

Anticipated claim payments made to American Family customers who received damage from severe weather and wildfires in 2012.


The decrease in water consumption at American Family buildings since 2008 as part of our corporate sustainability plan. The 25 percent equates to a reduction of more than 7 million gallons per year.

“At 38, my husband died too young. By planning ahead with American Family, his decision to buy life insurance gave our family the ability to continue living a good life. I’ll tell anyone not to procrastinate about buying life Insurance. It’s necessary. You never know what’s going to happen to you.”
Juanita Gutierrez
American Family customer
Denver, Colo.
“We’re saving for our dream. We have two cars and renters insurance with American Family and we’re looking to move into our own home by the end of the year. We want American Family to protect that, too. Our agent makes the difference. It’s never about what he’s selling, but about our needs.”
Wellington and Nadeea Starling
American Family customers
Atlanta, Ga.


Consecutive years American Family Life Insurance Company has made Ward’s list of top 50 life insurance companies for financial strength and stability.

4 out of 5

Our customer satisfaction is at an all-time high. We rank in the high-satisfaction tier of four out of five J.D. Power and Associates national insurance customer satisfaction studies. They include auto claims, homeowners insurance, property claim satisfaction and insurance shopping studies. We’re determined to make the auto insurance study the fifth.

“I was stunned when I was told I had won the American Family ‘Go Get Your Dreams’ competition. Now I have more inspiration to finish writing my book about parenting special needs children like Shruthi and how children like her can bring so much love and happiness to others. It goes to show you’re never too old to dream.”
Cathy Reed with daughter, Shruthi
American Family customer
Herculaneum, Mo.
“People of all ages are coming to DreamBank and sharing their dreams. It’s inspiring to hear what people want to do and, only a few months into this venture, we’re seeing some people act on their ambitions. I love my job. It’s really neat to see the community around us grasp our idea very quickly.”
Amy Jo Fisher
American Family DreamBank manager
Madison, Wis.


The percent of Americans who say pursuing a dream helps them achieve what’s most important in life.

Based on data from the 2011 American Dream Study conducted by Market Tools.

10 thousand

Consumers who have downloaded American Family’s free DreamVault app. DreamVault gives users the ability to create an inventory of their personal belongings in the event they are stolen or damaged.

Growing StrongerPolicyholder Equity Protects You

Daniel J. Kelly
Chief Financial Officer

We’re a mutual insurance company, owned by our policyholders. And the best measure of financial strength for a mutual insurer is policyholder equity, which serves as a backstop for unanticipated and extreme events.

American Family added $579 million to policyholder equity in 2012, bringing our total to more than $6.1 billion. We have the equity to fulfill our promises to you.

A prudent, perceptive investments program made the equity increase possible, overcoming the significant impact of weather-related catastrophes. American Family customers endured significant hailstorms and wildfires in 2012, contributing to claim payments and expenses of $1.03 for every dollar of premium we received from our customers.

American Family’s measures of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty reached record highs in 2012, and our premium base grew faster than expected. Our message to Protect Your Dreams is genuine and caring, and we’re delivering competitive products and outstanding service. With more enhancements on the horizon, American Family will continue to grow.

Close readers of our financial reports will notice American Family made two acquisitions in 2012: the Permanent General group of companies and Lumbermens Casualty Insurance Company. Permanent General conducts business in 25 states, serving the non-standard auto insurance market. Lumbermens does not actively sell policies, but provides us state insurance licenses we can use for future expansion to additional parts of the country. Both transactions are reflected in the consolidated highlights and consolidated balance sheet.

American Family – your company – finished 2012 financially stronger than we were at the start of the year. And that means we’re in an even better position to protect your dreams.

American Family Insurance Group Consolidated Highlights

(Dollars in thousands except life insurance in force)

The Consolidated Highlights provide an at-a-glance summary of American Family’s performance during the past five years. They show trends in assets, equity and revenue growth.

Select the icon to learn more.

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Assets (in thousands) $17,937,257 $17,148,612 $16,787,779 $16,250,813 $15,501,845
Equity (in thousands) $6,136,828 $5,557,726 $5,431,728 $4,826,146 $4,162,986
Revenue (in thousands) $6,238,062 $6,165,526 $6,321,474 $6,360,130 $6,742,578
Life insurance in force $88.3 billion $87.0 billion $86.5 billion $85.4 billion $84.0 billion
American Family field force 3,499 3,457 3,498 3,822 3,901
American Family employees 7,474 7,893 7,801 7,745 8,071
Permanent General employees 695 -- -- -- --

The American Family Insurance Group consists of the following companies with almost $18 billion in total assets:

  • American Family Mutual Insurance Company
  • American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin (ASIC)
  • American Family Life Insurance Company (AFLIC)
  • American Family Brokerage, Inc.
  • American Family Financial Services, Inc. (AFFS)
  • American Family Insurance Company
  • American Standard Insurance Company of Ohio (ASICO)
  • AmFam, Inc.
  • American Family Securities, LLC
  • Lumbermens Casualty Insurance Company (LCIC)
  • New Ventures, LLC
  • PGC Holdings Corp. and its subsidiaries (Permanent General)

About Us


  • Jack C. Salzwedel
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Daniel R. Schultz
    President and Chief Operating Officer
  • Daniel J. Kelly
    Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer
  • David C. Holman
    Chief Legal Officer, Secretary
  • Mark V. Afable
    Executive Vice President
  • Lisa R. Bacus
    Executive Vice President
  • Gerry W. Benusa
    Executive Vice President
  • Peter C. Gunder
    Executive Vice President, Chief Investment Officer
  • Kristin R. Kirkconnell
    Chief Information Officer
  • Jerry G. Rekowski
    Chief Business Integration Officer
  • Mary L. Schmoeger
    Executive Vice President
  • William B. Westrate
    Executive Vice President
  • Richard A. Fetherston
    Senior Vice President
  • Betty A. Bergquist
    Vice President
    Integrated Sales & Service
  • Timothy D. Constien
    Vice President
    Claims Operations
  • Justin B. Cruz
    Vice President
  • Todd Fancher
    Vice President
    Agency Sales Central Region
  • Carolyn S. Gilb
    Vice President
    Agency Sales West Region
  • Gregory V. Gisi
    Vice President
    Risk Transfer
  • Kari E. Grasee
    Vice President
  • Christopher R. Listau
    Vice President
    Commercial & Farm/Ranch
  • Bernard T. McCartan
    Vice President
    Claims Legal
  • Mario S. Menesse
    Vice President
    Product Management
  • Alan E. Meyer
    Vice President
  • Randy P. Parker
    Chief Executive Officer
    Permanent General companies
  • Julie A. Rupert
    Vice President
    Personal Lines
  • Scott J. Seymour
    Vice President
    Corporate Legal & Regulatory Affairs
  • Pamela W. Stampen
    Vice President
    Human Resources
  • Richard M. Steffen
    Vice President
    Agency Sales East Region
  • Mary A. Theilen
    Vice President
    Property and Casualty Loss Reserving

American Family board of directors

  • Jack C. Salzwedel (Chair)
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    American Family Insurance Group
  • David R. Anderson
    Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    American Family Insurance Group
  • Londa J. Dewey
    QTI Group
  • Leslie Ann Howard
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    United Way of Dane County
  • Ted D. Kellner, CFA
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    Fiduciary Management, Inc.
  • Rakesh Khurana
    Harvard University
    Harvard Business School
  • Michael M. Knetter, Ph.D.
    University of Wisconsin Foundation
  • R. Scott Malmgren
    Retired Senior Partner
    Deloitte & Touche, LLP
  • Walter M. Oliver
    Senior Vice President
    Human Resources and Administration
    General Dynamics Corporation
  • Eliot G. Protsch
    Wapsie Investment & Advisory, LLC
  • Daniel R. Schultz
    President and Chief Operating Officer
    American Family Insurance Group
  • Paul S. Shain
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Singlewire Software, LLC
  • Thomas J. Zimbrick
    Chief Executive Officer
    Zimbrick, Inc.

American Family Products

Personal lines and Commercial-Farm/Ranch products are underwritten by American Family Mutual Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin, American Standard Insurance Company of Ohio and American Family Insurance Company. Life products are underwritten by American Family Life Insurance Company.

Some products are not available in every state. To learn more about any of these products or services, contact an American Family agent or visit our website at

Personal lines

  • Auto*
  • All-terrain vehicle (ATV)
  • Boatowners
  • Campers/motor homes
  • Condominium unit owners
  • Custom-value homes
  • Golf carts
  • Homeowners
  • Mobile/manufactured homeowners
  • Motorcycles
  • Personal liability umbrella
  • Renters
  • Snowmobiles


  • Business auto
  • Businessowners
  • Business Key
  • Contractors Package Program
  • Commercial general liability
  • Commercial property
  • Commercial liability umbrella
  • Crime and fidelity
  • Farm/Ranch
  • Farm/Ranch personal liability umbrella
  • Inland marine
  • Nonprofit directors and officers liability
  • Rental Dwelling Protection Program
  • Workers compensation


  • Fixed annuities
  • Term life
  • Universal life
  • Whole life

* Subsidiary Permanent General underwrites its own auto insurance products, under The General® brand.

Our Operating Territory

Founded in 1927, American Family began selling insurance in Wisconsin and then expanded into additional states. American Family operated in 19 states in 2012, and grew again on Dec. 31, 2012, when it acquired the Permanent General group of companies. Permanent General conducts business in 11 states that are also part of American Family’s operating territory, and 14 additional states.

American Family’s national headquarters is in Madison, Wis., with regional offices in Englewood, Colo., Madison and St. Joseph, Mo. Permanent General is based in Nashville, Tenn.

Operating state of both American Family and Permanent General
Operating state of American Family only
Operating state of Permanent General only