Insurance West Magazine – Helping Hands 2011 Red River Mutual Article
Red River Mutual will be featured in the September 2011 edition of Insurance West Magazine. Here is a preview of the article that was written about Red River Mutual’s community involvement through our Modern Mutual community initiatives.
Helping people avoid loss is more important than profit
Red River Mutual has set out to emulate the “modern mutual” by giving back to the community through charitable and loss prevention initiatives.
Located in Altona, Man., population about 3,800, Red River Mutual has a history of lending a hand. The company itself was born in 1875 out of the need to help the community. The Red River Valley Mutual Insurance Company was originally formed to protect the interests of local people who had recently immigrate.
The new company allowed neighbour to support neighbour in the event of loss.
In 2010 the insurer went through a re-branding, which included redefining itself as a modern mutual. Also, the company is now known simply as Red River Mutual and sports a new logo. Chad Friesen, VP of sales
and marketing, says Red River Mutual is on the move.
“Our mission is greater than just profits,” Friesen says. “Our goal is to help people avoid loss in the first place, following the notion that the best policy for to Western Canada. Those newcomers had little access to fire protection. customer and company is the one that is
The company is owned by more than 65,000 policyholders across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It employs 75 and will post a gross written annual premium for 2011 of more than $70 million. When it comes to charitable efforts, Red River Mutual invests a higher percentage of revenue to community support and loss prevention education than most other companies.
The mutual recently became the major sponsor of the Manitoba FireFighters’ Burn Fund, which is known for its charitable works in hospitals and burn centres. It also supports loss prevention education throughout the province. “We support the Fund because of the close alignment of each organization’s goals,” Friesen says. “Much like our company, the Burn Fund supports those who have experienced loss, but they also invest in keeping families safe from fire in the first place. Our partnership gives back to the community and benefits both organizations by sharing the common message of fire prevention.”
In 2010 the company partnered with the Burn Fund to build and distribute fire safety trailers throughout Manitoba. Each safety trailer will be distributed to a fire department or a mutual aid district to be used as a loss prevention educational tool. The program was initiated in Manitoba but will soon expand to Saskatchewan.
The trailers cost about $50,000 apiece, and Red River Mutual is contributing about $600,000 over the next four years. The first of 15 units for Manitoba was unveiled by Red River Mutual’s president and CEO Brian Esau at the Manitoba Association of Fire Chiefs conference in Brandon in June. Esau pledged the company’s continued support for the safety trailer program, saying it was proud to be backing the education initiative of
firefighters. He said the trailers will be used at schools and festivals by local firefighters to teach children about the dangers of fire and what to do in case of a fire. There are two interactive scenarios demonstrated in the 31-footlong trailers – fire prevention in kitchens and in bedrooms.
The trailers are equipped with smoke simulators, heat doors and large TVs to provide realistic and interactive training. Firefighters who’ve received trailers so far are The financial “give” from Red River Mutual, he added, is only the beginning. “We try to incorporate our staff in charitable efforts whenever possible,” Esau says. “The company contributes dollars and employees contribute time and effort.
We recently sponsored a Habitat for Humanity home. In addition to the financial investment, we had various staff and brokers onsite for a week working on the home. And in February 2011 we were a major sponsor of the
Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts, a popular curling event. Again, Red River Mutual staff stepped up to volunteer. It’s this partnership between company and employees that makes our efforts really successful.” Friesen says the company is currently working on more innovative ways of driving dollars back into all of the communities it serves through its partnerships with local insurance brokers. “Supported by a fantastic group of community-oriented staff and brokers,” Friesen says, “we’re determined to give back in some way to every community we serve.” IW