American Family: Protecting dreams
By Mary Matsumoto

Cheryl Brack of American Family Insurance has been busy these days protecting the dreams of her clients.

Whether their dreams center around their homes, cars or families, there is a policy to protect it. All it takes is knowing each customer’s needs and matching that to a tailor-made plan. That’s where customer service comes in.

In fact, customer service is center to the Cheryl Brack Agency.

“People are not always aware of the additional coverages that are available by endorsement on the standard home, auto, business or life insurance policies,” said Cheryl.

These are things that are not automatically covered but nevertheless are there to be taken advantage of for the customer who is able to make an informed choice—things like sewer back up, sump pump overflow or identity theft.

This is where Cheryl and her staff, Gina Voland and Wendy Mertens, come in. They invite their clients to stop in anytime to sit down and review their coverages to be sure that what they have is what works best for them.

Auto coverage that is sometimes overlooked is rental reimbursement coverage, for instance. If a client is in an accident and needs to rent a car while theirs is being fixed, the cost would be covered under this plan.

Sometimes a higher deductible with increased coverage elsewhere, like liability coverage, would better fit a customer’s need.

Everyone is different

The idea is that everyone’s situation is different, and until a customer sits down to discuss their own particular circumstances with an insurance agent, they may not be getting the appropriate coverage for their situation. Cheryl will also review all available discounts for which the customer might be eligible.

American Family also offers life insurance. A popular plan is their 10-Year-Pay Whole Life Insurance where the life insurance is completely paid for in 10 years. This plan is popular for children or pre-retirees who like the idea of having their life insurance policy paid for before they retire. Other policies are offered with varying pay periods and payment schedules. Cheryl takes the time to review each client’s needs and helps them to choose the plan most appropriate for them.

American Family also has some special services other insurance companies don’t offer. One such service is the Teen Safe Driver Program. Cheryl has a teenage driver in the family and has been through the program herself.

“I didn’t truly understand the apprehension that parents have about teenagers driving until my own child began driving. It was great for me to have a child go through the program and see firsthand how it can improve driving habits.” She added, “It helps me to discuss the benefits of the program with clients.”

Webcam monitors young drivers

Center to the program is the installation of a webcam on the rearview mirror. Triggered by any sudden braking, acceleration or swerving, it records 10 seconds prior and after the trigger to show whether those in the car were wearing their seatbelts and what may have caused the disturbance.

While American Family does not receive the footage and, therefore, will not use it to affect the insurance rates of the party, a third-party company, DriveCam, monitors the clip and e-mails the footage along with any driving suggestions they have to the parent to review along with the child. This provides an opportunity to show young drivers what they are doing wrong—and right—behind the wheel.

Cheryl observes that while most incidents are not major, it helps teens to be more conscious of slowing down

Cheryl Brack (seated, left) is assisted at her American Family Insurance agency in Kiel by Gina Voland (center) and Wendy Mertens.

and paying attention with fewer distractions.

“We really don’t see accidents with children when their parents are in the vehicle,” she said, “and the camera can help improve driving behavior when parents aren’t in the vehicle.”

In fact, studies show that the program reduced risky behavior by 70 percent and achieved 100 percent seatbelt compliance in a matter of weeks.

The program helps parents feel more secure when they aren’t at their teen’s side.

Mary Matsumoto photo

The Teen Safe Driver Program is offered free of charge for a year for any of their teenage clients, and American Family will pay for the installation of the webcam.

In addition, Cheryl offers to meet with all young drivers to explain how their rates can be affected by their driving records. “If it helps one person or prevents one accident, it’s worth it,” she said.

Another free service American Family offers to its property insurance custom-

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