Featured Business Partner: Fairmont Farmers Mutual Insurance Company

“Culture eats strategy for lunch,” the saying goes. But what if culture is your strategy?

Fairmont Farmers Mutual Insurance Company in Fairmont, Minnesota, has fostered a culture of customer service by empowering its staff to solve problems. This approach set the company on a growth path while maintaining the personal touch agents and policyholders expect from a mutual company.

The combination of using technology and taking on additional lines of business has helped them grow into a $19 million company serving farms and homes in the southern third of Minnesota. Its growth has made that personal touch a taller order and even more important.

Solving customer problems

“We try to be problem solvers,” said Paul Stueven, chief operating officer and treasurer of Fairmont Farmers Mutual. “It’s easy to say ‘No, we can’t do that,’ but we always try to take the approach of ‘Is there a solution?’ We try to find options. Even when we may not be able to provide the solution, our agents and policyholders appreciate that we listened to them and tried.”

Fairmont Farmers Mutual identified shortened response times as one way to solve customer’s problems. “We pride ourselves on our response times for claims,” said Stueven. “We get calls on nights and weekends. It’s something we monitor 24/7, and if it’s something of significance, we will send an adjuster and meet the policyholder.”

They also work with their vendors and business partners to ensure that their 10,900 policyholders get answers with a minimum of inconvenience.

“It is important that we make it easy for our agents and policyholders to access information and work with our company,” said Stueven.

Empowering employees to find solutions

Fairmont Farmers gives its 18 employees ownership over their areas of responsibility — they have the freedom to do their jobs, make decisions, and take action. Stueven models this culture by not just answering questions, but sharing the thought process behind them.

“It helps to get everyone involved if you can share the reason why you came to the conclusion you did,” Stueven said.