A Trusted Partner...
Initially developed for fire and lightning coverage, Stark Farmers has increased its insurance coverage through the years. Complete farm insurance, homeowners’, and tenant/renter’s package policies are offered at Stark Farmers.
Stark Farmers Mutual Insurance Company partners with two statewide mutual companies: North Star Mutual Company (Cottonwood, MN) and RAM Mutual Insurance Company (Esko, MN) We're able to provide a broad range of coverage by packaging our policies. RAM Mutual also serves as our reinsurance carrier.
Thousands of farmers and millions of dollars of farm and personal property have been protected from loss by Stark Farmers Mutual. Offering a complete insurance package policy, Stark Farmers, in conjunction with their statewide insurance companies, offers one of the most comprehensive policies today.
Stark Farmers Mutual Insurance Company... working for the people who own the company, our valued policyholders!
WHERE WE STARTED
In the Beginning...
Although today, Stark Farmers Mutual Insurance is a well-known and valued organization, we came from quite humble beginnings.
On March 17, 1884, a group of farmers gathered in a home in Iberia and organized their own fire insurance company. It was a revolutionary idea at the time. With 24 charter members, it was formed to keep insurance rates down. It was planned as a mutual company, owned by its policyholders with the insurance coverage to be sold at cost. In 1885, financial reports revealed that the business had $84 in assets and $825,000 insurance in force.
Stark Farmers has had four locations since its beginnings.
Three Generations of Service
While going through records, it was learned that three generations of the Mertz family had served Stark Farmers Mutual. They are Peter Mertz, Nick Mertz, Sr., Dolores Mertz Regimbal, and her brother, Nicholas J. Mertz, Jr. During the illness and after the death of Nicholas J. Mertz, his sister, Dolores, was appointed acting manager until a new one was hired. Greg Gangelhoff became manager on April 19, 1982.
The Mertz family offered three generations of service to Stark Farmers Mutual Insurance. Beginning with Peter Mertz as one of the directors of the company to his son Nick Mertz Sr. who served as one of the directors as well as the vice president from 1940-1945 and as secretary from 1949-1954 to his son, Nick J. Mertz, Jr. who was appointed manager on February 10, 1970, the Mertz family has had a strong dedication to Stark Farmers. Dolores (Mertz) Regimbal, Nick Jr.’s sister, served as secretary from 1954 to 1970. She also served as one of the company’s directors and, during her brother’s illness and death, she was appointed the acting manager until a new one could be hired. Greg Gangelhoff was hired on April 19, 1982, a position he continues to hold to this day.
Throughout the years, some unusual claims have crossed the desk of Stark Farmers. Former Business Manager, Nick Mertz Jr, recalled a claim made in 1971. The policyholder’s pet rabbit has chewed its way through the sewing machine cord, causing a short and ruining the motor. The rabbit also died. The policy holder was attempting to collect on the sewing machine motor.
Stark Farmers has had four locations since its beginnings in 1884. The first was a home in Iberia. The office was then moved to the State Bank Building in Sleepy Eye in 1927, paying $5.00 a month for rent. In June of 1948, the office was moved to what was known as the Hansen building. In July of 1980, it moved into its newly constructed building on Main Street where it remains today.
An early policy reveals a $7.50 premium for $6500 of insurance protection on the George H. Moll farm in Home Township. The policy was taken out in 1923.
In 1919, an assessment of 15 cents per $100 of insurance was collected from all policy holders. One-half of the assessment was sent to the State Insurance Commissioner’s office for the benefit of the farm mutual companies that were focused on the forest fires in Northeastern Minnesota.
In 1920, the board voted to limit the amount of insurance on a dwelling to $6000.
The salary of the company’s secretary was set at $600 per year in 1921. The board set the pay of agents for adjusting losses at $3.00 each.