07:33 AM

Our Herman Wittwer moment

CEO Jack Salzwedel reflects on how premium relief for customers is part of American Family's heritage


By returning premium to American Family Insurance auto customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, CEO Jack Salzwedel says we are living out the dream of our founder and delivering on our 92-year-long promise to customers.  

I needed a little perspective.  

Recently, I took a break from the sadness and chaos of everything happening around us. I picked up Dare to Dream, a terrific book about the story of Herman Wittwer, the founder of my company.  

If you haven’t heard it, bear with me.  

As a struggling insurance agent, Herman had a dream. It was 1927, and he wanted to offer a different kind of insurance product. He didn’t think it was right that Wisconsin farmers were paying the same for auto insurance when they weren’t driving as much, especially during rough winters.  

Herman believed they deserved better. That same year, he formed Farmers Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. (We would become American Family Mutual Insurance Company in the early 1960s.) It was his dream – one that’s lasted 92-plus years and that’s been reaffirmed by so many who followed in his footsteps at Farmers Mutual (and eventually American Family Insurance).  

His story – our story – was the perspective I needed. Because we’re living in unfair times once again.  

Read the rest of Jack's column on LinkedIn. 




About the American Family Insurance Group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 306 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance (formerly Ameriprise Auto & Home), The GeneralHomesite and Main Street America. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.