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.
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.
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 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.”
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.
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
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.
|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)
AMERICAN FAMILY AND SUBSIDIARIES LEADERSHIP
Jack C. SalzwedelChairman and Chief Executive Officer
Daniel R. SchultzPresident and Chief Operating Officer
Daniel J. KellyChief Financial Officer, Treasurer
David C. HolmanChief Legal Officer, Secretary
Mark V. AfableExecutive Vice President
Lisa R. BacusExecutive Vice President
Gerry W. BenusaExecutive Vice President
Peter C. GunderExecutive Vice President, Chief Investment Officer
Kristin R. KirkconnellChief Information Officer
Jerry G. RekowskiChief Business Integration Officer
Mary L. SchmoegerExecutive Vice President
William B. WestrateExecutive Vice President
Richard A. FetherstonSenior Vice PresidentCommunications
Betty A. BergquistVice PresidentIntegrated Sales & Service
Timothy D. ConstienVice PresidentClaims Operations
Justin B. CruzVice PresidentActuarial
Todd FancherVice PresidentAgency Sales Central Region
Carolyn S. GilbVice PresidentAgency Sales West Region
Gregory V. GisiVice PresidentRisk Transfer
Kari E. GraseeVice PresidentController
Christopher R. ListauVice PresidentCommercial & Farm/Ranch
Bernard T. McCartanVice PresidentClaims Legal
Mario S. MenesseVice PresidentProduct Management
Alan E. MeyerVice PresidentLife
Randy P. ParkerChief Executive OfficerPermanent General companies
Julie A. RupertVice PresidentPersonal Lines
Scott J. SeymourVice PresidentCorporate Legal & Regulatory Affairs
Pamela W. StampenVice PresidentHuman Resources
Richard M. SteffenVice PresidentAgency Sales East Region
Mary A. TheilenVice PresidentProperty and Casualty Loss Reserving
American Family board of directors
Jack C. Salzwedel (Chair)Chairman and Chief Executive OfficerAmerican Family Insurance Group
David R. AndersonRetired Chairman and Chief Executive OfficerAmerican Family Insurance Group
Londa J. DeweyPresidentQTI Group
Leslie Ann HowardPresident and Chief Executive OfficerUnited Way of Dane County
Ted D. Kellner, CFAChairman and Chief Executive OfficerFiduciary Management, Inc.
Rakesh KhuranaProfessorHarvard University
Harvard Business School
Michael M. Knetter, Ph.D.PresidentUniversity of Wisconsin Foundation
R. Scott MalmgrenRetired Senior PartnerDeloitte & Touche, LLP
Walter M. OliverSenior Vice PresidentHuman Resources and Administration
General Dynamics Corporation
Eliot G. ProtschPresidentWapsie Investment & Advisory, LLC
Daniel R. SchultzPresident and Chief Operating OfficerAmerican Family Insurance Group
Paul S. ShainPresident and Chief Executive OfficerSinglewire Software, LLC
Thomas J. ZimbrickChief Executive OfficerZimbrick, 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 amfam.com.
- All-terrain vehicle (ATV)
- Campers/motor homes
- Condominium unit owners
- Custom-value homes
- Golf carts
- Mobile/manufactured homeowners
- Personal liability umbrella
- Business auto
- Business Key
- Contractors Package Program
- Commercial general liability
- Commercial property
- Commercial liability umbrella
- Crime and fidelity
- 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.