It's all about relationships

Picture a fine-tuned machine, firing on all cylinders.

For Randy Tiefenthaler, his company, Farmers Mutual Insurance Company of Warren County (Missouri), is that machine. There are moving parts — the board of directors, Tiefenthaler and his staff, the agency force, and Grinnell Mutual — working together as a team. Trust and communication keep those moving parts oiled and working at their best.

 “It all starts with trust and communication,” said Tiefenthaler. “I want to know what the board wants. The board needs to know they can trust me to carry through with their directives. It truly is teamwork.”

The commitment to trust and communication extends beyond the boardroom into the office and out to the field. Tiefenthaler believes that by establishing good communication with office staff and the agency force, mutual managers can earn their trust, too.

“If you don’t have trust then there isn’t integrity. You’re liable to have a breakdown somewhere,” said Tiefenthaler. “That’s how you stay strong.”

An experienced perspective

Tiefenthaler’s experiences as a 30-year veteran of the insurance business have helped him be well-rounded as a mutual manager. He has worked as a producer for several national companies, and served on the board of another Missouri mutual.

“I can represent both our mutual membership and understand the needs of our agents because I’ve been on both sides,” said Tiefenthaler. “When a board member retired, I suggested one of our agents fill the vacancy, just to have a presence of the sales force.”

A match made in heaven

Trusted relationships have not only helped Farmers Mutual Insurance Company of Warren County improve its performance, that focus has made the mutual a natural partner for Grinnell Mutual, which has made its reputation on great service and trust.

Tiefenthaler takes full advantage of that commitment to putting our mutuals first and offering ways to make their jobs easier.

“The new modeled pricing on the reinsurance contract we have with Grinnell Mutual allows us to live and die on our own merits,” said Tiefenthaler. “I appreciate that the reinsurance underwriting looks at each individual company. If I can do a good job with our company’s operations, that’s going to be reflected in our rates with Grinnell Mutual.”

The relationship with Grinnell Mutual has extended beyond reinsurance.

“I know some companies only use Grinnell’s services to a small degree. I use Grinnell Mutual’s Reinsurance Adjusting Program for 100 percent of our claims and they do 100 percent of our inspections, too. We’ve developed a good relationship with Grinnell Mutual and I’m pleased with it,” said Tiefenthaler. “If there’s something they can do better for me than I can do in-house, I’m going to outsource and subcontract that to them.