Why I Love Albert Lea

Story on AL Tribune: https://www.albertleatribune.com/2019/08/guest-column-why-i-love-albert-lea-10/

Story on AL Tribune: https://www.albertleatribune.com/2019/08/guest-column-why-i-love-albert-lea-10/

I found out how much I loved Albert Lea by moving away.  I grew up on a farm near Alden and was ready to leave small-town life behind after graduation.  I attended the University of Minnesota with 50,000 of my closest friends.  After graduating with a degree in Agricultural Industries and Marketing, I moved to Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.  For 15 years I took advantage of educational and career opportunities, enjoyed the communities I lived in, made friends and lived life.  


In 2013 I made the decision to move home and transition into ownership of my mom’s business – Donna Nelson Insurance, now Intego Insurance Services.  I never thought I’d move home, but you know what they say about never say never...  


My love for Albert Lea grew when I moved back and saw the community through the eyes of a new resident and not a bored teenager.  The lake! The parks!  The cute downtown!  The lack of traffic!  The lack of crime!  


One of the first stops back in Albert Lea was to get my library card.  I always loved the library and was even more impressed to see their new offerings.  I use library’s Hoopla system so that I’m never without an audiobook.  I enjoy browsing the shelves and think the programming that the library offers is fantastic.  The views at the library are amazing, too.


Something else that I enjoy year-round is having the beautiful lake path.  I love to run or bike the lake and watch the seasons change. Seeing the community embrace the lake and host more events near it is exciting.  


I participated in the inaugural Rock-n-Roll the Lakes event in 2018.  One of the stops was Three Oaks Winery – a great place to meet friends and enjoy a beautiful setting.  Another stop was the Boathouse where Community Ed has equipment for us to get out and explore nature with.  The Rotary club took on the project of the dog park near there and it’s great to see humans and their four-legged family members enjoying the space.


Summer is packed with activities and I especially love Thursday’s on Fountain - such great event. I’m involved in organizing Wind Down Wednesday and it’s fun to see the community enjoying all the festival has to offer.  And summer isn’t complete without a trip to the fair.  Being involved in 4-H, the fair was a highlight.  Attending the fair as adult, I recognize the lifelong connections I’ve made and skills I have because of being of 4-H.  To the kids, the parents and leaders who bring the fair to life with their projects and support, thank you.

I’ve met wonderful people by getting involved in the community.It feels great to give back to a place that molded and shaped me as I grew up and that continues to mold and shape me as an adult.I’m proud of the leaders in the community who are keeping us moving forward.We have a lot to be proud of; things like our green spaces, parks, picturesque fountains and splash pad are all big city assets, right here in Albert Lea.I hope you get out and enjoy them.Get connected and volunteer or become a tourist in your own town – you might be surprised by what you find!

Written by Sarah Nelson for the September/October Issue of the Albert Lea Magazine.

Available at our office, the Albert Lea Tribune and other various locations around town.

September/October Issue of the Albert Lea Magazine, cover photo.

September/October Issue of the Albert Lea Magazine, cover photo.

Increasing Car Insurance Premiums in Minnesota

November Blog.png

If your auto insurance policy has recently renewed, you’re probably paying more than you did at this time last year.  Most auto insurance companies across the nation are following this trend.   And, Minnesota car insurance premiums aren’t the only ones on the rise. In fact, auto premiums have generally been increasing since 2012 across the United States. 

No matter if you have a clean driving record, obey all traffic signs, and are a Minnesota Nice driver on the roads, your auto insurance premium may still be increasing.  Here’s why:


More Distractions

  • ·Distracted driving claims are huge factors in auto rates:

o   60% of teen crashes involve distracted driving according to AAA.

o   The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that every day, 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

More Fatalities

  • An upward trend in fatal car accidents is expected once all the data for 2016 is processed.  The National Safety Council expects fatal accident to have risen by some 6% year in 2016; the highest number of total of fatalities since 2007.

More Data

  • Costs of repairs to diverse types of vehicles, how well vehicles stand up to accidents, rates of accidents in various parts of the country, etc. are all monitored closely by insurance companies.

More Severe Weather

  • Weather affects more than just homeowner’s insurance. Disasters such as hail storms, floods, tornadoes, etc. ends up costing millions in car damages which auto insurers cover through comprehensive insurance.
  • Even though we may have had a mild weather year in Minnesota, if your insurance company has policies and claims in other states, the expense gets spread around to all policy holders.
  • The insurance companies are indeed paying out (and losing) more for comprehensive claims than they have in over a decade. The hurricanes in the southern states have been a significant factor in the recent increases.


Looking forward, we need to hope for a mild storm season across the United States. Hurricane Matthew cost the insurers billions in 2016, and the hurricanes that hit Texas (Harvey) and Florida (Irma) this year are not helping the insurers out very much.

Calmer weather isn’t the only thing that needs to happen to keep auto rates in check.  There is also going to need to be a reduction in the amount of accidents on the roads.


The list above may make you feel as if your auto premiums are completely out of your control.  But, there are some things you can do:

  • Keep your eyes on the road.  Keep your mind on driving.  Keep your hands on the wheel.

o   Turn off your phone or notifications when in the car

o   Place your phone in the backseat or in a spot that you cannot reach while you’re at the wheel.

  • Reduce or eliminate other distractions while driving

o   If a child needs your attention, pull over before handing them their snack.

o   Don’t eat or drink while driving.


·         If you’re 55+ years of age – take a Driver Improvement Course and save 10% on your auto insurance.  Visit the Minnesota Safety Center to learn more and enroll today. 

·         New driver in the household?  Consider the Teen Crash Prevention Skills course for them.


Casazza, Craig. “Why Are Car Insurance Rates Still Going Up?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 23    May 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/ccasazza/2017/05/23/why-are-car-insurance-rates-still          going-up/2/#74474d1d347a.

Rented, leased and borrowed machinery – are you covered?

Are You Covered- Blog Banner.png

With harvest in full swing in Minnesota, it is crucial to keep your equipment functioning properly, especially during a late harvest like the one we’re experiencing. What if you have a breakdown that forces your combine to be in the shop for a week?  What if you need a specific piece of machinery to perform fall tillage, but would rather lease it? Rented, leased or borrowed machinery comes into play for many reasons. Would you be covered for all the unknowns during harvest? Well, we are here to help explain the different coverages.  Here are seven frequently asked questions with some very important information to know:

1.      Is rented, leased or borrowed machinery included on your policy?  Or, do you need to call your agent to add it?  That depends on the company and type of policy you have.  Some policies automatically include that coverage and others only include the coverage if you specifically list the equipment at the time it’s borrowed, rented or leased.


2.      If it’s included, is there a limit to the amount of time you can rent, lease or borrow it?  That, too, depends on the policy.  Some companies allow 30 or 60 days of use.  Other companies may not have any time limit.


3.      Is there a limit to the value of rented, leased or borrowed machinery you can have?  It’s likely that there will be a limit to the value that’s automatically included, like $100,000.  With the values of combines and tractors today, that limit wouldn’t be enough for those items.  But, if you’re renting a skid loader or tillage equipment, that limit may be sufficient.


4.      What deductible will be applied if there is a claim?  Policy deductible will most likely apply.  Certain policies may allow for a lower deductible to be applied.


5.      Is Special Form coverage extended to the rented, leased or borrowed machinery?  No, Special Form isn’t automatically applied.  This is especially important during harvest when ingesting a rock into a borrowed combine could mean lots of damage that your insurance policy may not pay for without the correct coverage.  Rock ingestion would only be covered under Special Form coverage.


6.      What might NOT be covered?  Motor vehicles (cars or pickups) or recreational vehicles like Rangers are not eligible to be covered by rented, leased or borrowed equipment.  Rented, leased or borrowed machinery primarily pertains to tractors, combines and other farm implements.


As always, if you have any other questions, we are just one phone call away and would love to help you with your questions. Contact us at 507-473-4900!

Perils we insure.png

How To Make Sure Your Polaris UTV Can Handle Anything in Minnesota

How To Make Sure Your Polaris UTV Can Handle Anything in Minnesota

You’re planning to make the most of Minnesota’s extensive recreational trails this summer in a new Polaris Ranger or maybe you’re going to use that Polaris to get around your campsite in style.  

The Polaris Ranger and similar side by side styles are part of a newer class of vehicles called UTV’s - or Utility Task Vehicles.  UTV’s can be used off road for trail riding but also serve very practical purposes around the farm.  

So…it’s not a car and it’s not a motorcycle, how do you insure them?

Let’s find out how, with a few tips, to make sure you and your Ranger or other UTV policy is up to the task of protecting you if something goes awry.

Read More