grain bin

Grain Bin Suffocation Prevention from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

The tragedy makes news headlines repeatedly: People are entrapped in a grain bin with only seconds to react before they are engulfed and suffocated.

A death in the work force of a farm operation can be devastating both to the family and the operation.  We at Farmers Union Insurance Agency believe prevention and education are key in these situations, and have provided you this information from our company partner, Secura Insurance.

How Grain Bins Trap People

Scenario 1: A worker enters the top of a grain bin, and the auger begins running to unload the grain.

  • Within five seconds the worker becomes trapped.
  • The flowing grain behaves like quick sand, pulling the worker down.
  • The worker is completely covered by grain after 22 seconds.

Scenario 2: Unbeknownst to him, a worker stands on a “bridge” formed by clumped grain due to moisture or mold.

  • The worker becomes buried when the pocket of space under the firm layer of grain collapses.
  • The worker is trapped when grain unloading begins.

Scenario 3: A worker standing on the floor is attempting to dislodge grain that’s accumulated on the side of the bin.

  • The pile of grain collapses onto the worker.

Scenario 4: Without warning, a bin can develop hazardous atmosphere or a lack of oxygen.

Preventing Grain Bin Suffocation

Considering it’s one of the top causes of farm deaths, it’s hard to believe grain storage bin suffocation is easily preventable.  But it is, as long as employers:

  1. Turn off and disconnect, lockout and tag, or block off all mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic equipment that presents a danger.  Do not empty or move grain into or out of the bin while workers are inside.
  2. Do not allow walking down grain to make it flow.
  3. Prohibit entry onto or below a bridging condition, or where grain is built up on the side of the bin.
  4. Provide workers entering a bin from a level at or above stored grain, or walking or standing on stored grain with a body harness connected to a lifeline or boatswain’s chair.  Make sure the lifeline is long enough to prevent a worker from sinking more than waist-deep in grain.
  5. Give workers rescue equipment specifically for rescue from the bin.
  6. Station an observer who is equipped to provide assistance and perform a rescue outside the bin.  Make sure the observer and workers who enter the bin maintain communication.
  7. Test the air within a bin for oxygen content and the presence of hazardous gases before entering.
  8. Obtain a permit each time a worker enters a bin.  The exception is if the employer will be present during the entire operation.  The permit must certify that before workers enter the bin, they met the precautions above.

This information was provided by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  

Reposted from Secura’s Blog, originally found here.  You can find more grain bin safety resources at Secura’s Prevention Connection.

You can find a local Farmers Union Insurance Agent to receive a comprehensive quote on your farm operations in your area here.

Hunting for Hunting Insurance? Call Your Local FUIA Agent for Coverage!

Fall in Minnesota means hunting season.  Hunting is a part of life in rural America, and there are a host of clubs, organizations and businesses that cater to hunters, archers, and gun enthusiasts.

Businesses: Gun Ranges, Hunting Clubs, and Guide Services

These types of businesses are a great way to combine your personal passion with a profitable profession.  As you grow your business, you’ll have the same concerns as any small business owner, plus some additional things to consider like whether the activities of your members are covered under your policy. Talk to one of our experienced Independent Agents to make sure you are properly protected.  Many of them are hunting enthusiasts themselves!


Even if your club is a non-profit organization rather than a for-profit business, you could be held liable for injuries, property damage, and even membership discrimination.  You will want to consider the best type of coverage for the group so you can focus on what you love, rather than dealing with liability issues.

Special Events: Sponsored Shoots & Tournaments

If you are organizing an event, don’t forget to get short-term event coverage for any added liability. Sponsored shoots, tournaments, fundraisers, and social outings have their own unique risks that you will want to make sure you have coverage for.

For more information about insurance for your hunting and shooting endeavors, visit our website at to find an Agent in your area that can help you find coverage.

Remember to Teach Gun Safety

Approximately half of all U.S. homes have guns. And, according to a study published in a Pediatrics journal, nearly 1.7 million kids live in a home where firearms are kept loaded and unsecured.

The Matthew Bellamy Project ships free gun locks to anyone who requests them. Free gun locks may also be available from your local law enforcement agency in partnership with Project ChildSafe.

Visit company partner Secura’s blog for more information about gun safety and other helpful safety tips.

Thanks to Secura Insurance Company for contributing to the content of this blog. Farmers Union Insurance Agency is proud to be a Premier Partner with Secura.

5 Reasons to Work with an Independent Insurance Agent – from Your Local Insurance Agent, MN

Catchy ads and cut-rate pricing may appeal to some, but they can’t replace the value of working with an experienced independent Agent.  The key words when choosing an Agent are “experienced” and “independent.”

An independent Agent can help you understand your coverage needs and help you find an insurance company that meets them.  A captive Agent only has one company’s coverage options to offer.  The shopping experience is significantly different, and options are limited.

The additional perspective of working with an independent Agent gives people seeking insurance a definite advantage.  Here are five reasons to work with an independent Agent.

Find your local FUIA Agent HERE.

  • Experience – Insurance can be confusing, and it’s tough to know which carriers are good to work with, especially when filing a claim.  An independent Agent has experience working with multiple carriers and can offer greater perspective that a captive Agent cannot.
  • Comparison Shopping – You can compare carriers and products to help you find the most effective coverage at the best value.  Because an independent Agent has access to multiple insurance companies, they are able to offer you competitive pricing and quality service.
  • Assistance – Comparing apples and oranges is never easy.  Each insurance company offers different coverage options, and an independent Agent can help you sort out which are best suited to your needs.
  • Customized Coverage – Do you need a combination of coverages for your home or business?  Independent Agents understand the nuances of policies and coverage options from each of their carriers and can leverage these products to your advantage.
  • Navigating Claims – Captive Agents are obligated to watch their insurance company’s bottom line.  Independent Agents are free to represent you, their client, and advocate on your behalf after filing a claim.

If you’re looking for insurance, speak to an independent Agent about your needs.  It will be time well spent.  Let us help you find an independent Farmers Union Insurance Agent in your area. 

Find out more about Farmers Union Insurance Agency, the companies we represent, and the insurance products we offer on our website.  Thanks to our company partner, Secura Insurance Company, for contributing to the content of this blog.

Storm Damage Prevention Tips from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

Protect Yourself Before the Storm Hits: Weather Tips from Your Minnesota Insurance Agent

Here at Farmers Union Insurance Agency, we believe in helping you understand your policy better, so you know what to expect when a storm hits and for what you will be held responsible.  Many homeowners – especially new homeowners – don’t give a lot of thought to their insurance coverage until the wind picks up.  Spend a few minutes reviewing these common causes of damage and how you can help protect your home from Mother Nature’s worst… in Minnesota and across the country.


Tornadoes are devastating, of course, but gusty days and straight-line winds actually account for more claims than confirmed tornadoes.  Make sure your home is in good repair and your landscaping is kept up to prevent damage.  Remove weak branches before they fall on the house, use bark instead of landscaping rock that can damage windows, and store lawn furniture safely out of the wind when it’s not in use.


Large or small, hail can leave a mark.  Whether your car is parked outside during a storm or your roof takes a beating, inspect your property after a hail storm.  If you notice dents or cracks, you’ll want to call your Farmers Union Insurance Agent immediately.


It’s important to understand that there’s a difference between water backup and flood damage.  Water backup is when water and other materials come into your home through the sump pump, sewers, drains or related equipment.  Many home insurance policies provide water backup coverage, but will limit how much could be paid.  Higher limits might be available at an increased cost.

Learn more about safeguarding your home from storms here.

The majority of homeowner’s insurance policies do not protect you in case of flood damage.  With flooding, water can enter through windows, doors, and cracks in the foundation.  If you live in a flood zone or have concerns about flooding, as your local Farmers Union Insurance Agent whether you have the proper coverage.

Home Inventory

You can’t control the weather, but you can be prepared when a storm strikes.  One of the best things you can do as a homeowner is to prepare a record of your belongings before a storm hits.  A home inventory is a listing of your belongings that you can reference if you have to make a claim.  You may want to store your inventory online, so you can access it from anywhere, any time.  You can also download an app for that now!

Keep your home inventory updated as you make improvements to your property.  Review it with your Farmers Union Insurance Agent because it can help you identify property that may need additional coverage, such as antiques, specialized equipment, or a new patio or deck.

If you’re worried about the possibility of storm damage, speak with your Farmers Union Insurance Agent, or check out more Prevention Connection topics from our 2017 Premier company partner, SECURA Insurance.

Thanks to SECURA for contributing to the content of this blog.


What You Need to Know About Car Rental Insurance from Farmers Union Insurance Agency, St. Paul, MN

Are you looking into car rental for your summer vacation?  Review your Auto insurance coverage before you go.  Don’t wait until you reach the car rental counter, where you might feel pressured to make a quick decision and buy extra coverage.  Do your homework ahead of time and figure out if you need the car rental company’s insurance.

Does My Car Insurance Cover Rental Cars?

Your Auto insurance typically provides the same kind of coverage offered by the car rental company.  Some Auto policies, for example, include liability coverage for rental cars.  If you have physical damage as part of your coverage, that will apply to your rental as well.

If you have collision coverage or comprehensive coverage, you’ve probably covered most of your bases.  But car rental companies have a way of adding extra fees that go beyond traditional coverage.  Before traveling, check your policy and call your local Farmers Union Insurance Agent to make sure you understand what’s covered on your Auto policy and what isn’t.  Find out if your policy:

  1.  Extends to rental cars
  2. Covers car rental company fees, such as administrative fees, towing, and loss of use while the vehicle is being repaired
  3. Covers diminished value claims
  4. Covers the rental car’s full value in case the car is totaled
  5. Includes coverage if the car is being valet parked or in the custody of a valet service

If you have a coverage gap, talk to your Farmers Union Insurance Agent about how you can stay protected on your trip.

Find Out What Your Credit Card Covers

Some credit cards offer car rental insurance when you pay with your credit card.  This coverage is typically “secondary insurance,” which means it only covers what your primary Auto insurance policy doesn’t cover.  Terms vary by issuer, but typically include coverage for physical damage and theft… but not injury, liability, diminished value, or damage to other vehicles.

Coverage only applies if you decline the rental car company’s insurance and may exclude certain vehicles such as large vans, trucks, and expensive cars.  Coverage may also be excluded in some popular tropical destinations, like Jamaica.

Consider the car rental company’s insurance if:

  • You’re traveling outside the U.S.
  • You’re renting an RV, large van, truck, or specialty car
  • Your primary Auto insurance coverage doesn’t include diminished value or other special conditions listed above.

Be aware you may need to show proof of insurance at the car rental counter.  If you don’t have it, the car rental agency may require that you purchase the insurance they offer before renting you the vehicle.  Rules are different when traveling for business or using a business credit card.  Once again, check with your Farmers Union Insurance Agent to better understand your benefits.

Thanks to our company partner, Secura Insurance, for the content of this blog.  See more helpful insurance insights from Secura Insurance’s blog here, and talk to your local Farmers Union Insurance Agent about insurance coverage with Secura Insurance.

Preventing Ticks On Pets

At Farmers Union Insurance Agency, our pets are part of the family!  Here are some tips to help protect your furry family members from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases.  Vaccines are not available for all the tickborne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home.  For these reasons, it’s important to use a tick preventative product on your dog.

Tick bites on dogs may be hard to detect.  Signs of tickborne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick.

To reduce the chances that a tick will transmit disease to you or your pets:

  • Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
  • If you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away.
  • Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about tickborne diseases in your area.
  • Reduce tick habitat in your yard.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventatives on your pet.

Note: Cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals.  Do not apply any insect acaricides or repellents to your cats without first consulting your veterinarian!

Kill Ticks on Dogs

A pesticide product that kills ticks is known as an acaricide.  Acaricides that can be used on dogs include dusts, impregnated collars, sprays, or topical treatments.  Some acaricides kill the tick on contact.  Others may be absorbed into the bloodstream of a dog and kill ticks that attach and feed.


  • Helps to reduce the number of ticks in the environment
  • Prevents tickborne disease


  • Tick bites can cause a painful wound and may become infected.
  • When bitten, a dog may become infected with a number of diseases.  This depends on the type of tick, which diseases it is carrying (if any), and how quickly a product kills the feeding tick.

Examples of topically applied products (active ingredients):

  • Fipronil
  • Pyrethroids (permethrin, etc.)
  • Amitraz

Repel Ticks on Dogs

A repellant product may prevent the tick from coming into contact with an animal at all or have anti-feeding effects once the tick comes into contact with the chemical, thus preventing a bite.


  • Prevents bit wounds and possible resulting infections
  • Prevents tickborne disease


  • Will not reduce the number of ticks in the environment (doesn’t kill ticks)

Examples of topically applied products (active ingredients):

  • Pyrethroids (permethrin, etc.)


Additional Resources:

  • Further tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for avoiding ticks on humans can be found HERE.
  • Tips for preventing ticks in your yard can be found HERE.
  • Tips for removing a tick can be found HERE.
  • Symptoms of tickborne illness in humans can be found HERE.

Reference to any commercial entity or product or service on this page should not be construed as an endorsement by Farmers Union Insurance Agency, its products, or its services.  Please consult your veterinarian for the best options for you and your pet’s well-being.

tornado safety

Tornado Safety Tips – Brought to You By Your Insurance Agent St. Paul, MN

Now that Spring is here, it is the perfect time to get prepared for the weather systems that can occur in the warmer months. In this blog post, we will explore Tornado safety tips.

Safety Tips Before a Tornado, Department of Homeland Security

  • Create an Emergency Kit:
    • Water -the rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
    • Food – must be non-perishable, enough for at least three daystornado safety
    • Battery Powered / Hand Crank Radio
    • First Aid Kit
    • A Flashlight plus extra batteries
    • A Whistle – so you can signal for help
    • Manual Can Opener
    • Wrench or Pliers – in order to turn off the utilities
  • Follow the weather pattern through the television or through a radio
  • Look for danger signs that could include:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
    • If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

Safety Tips During a Tornado, Storm Prediction Center

  • In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you. Head protection, such as a helmet, can boost survivability also.
  • In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury.
  • In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building — away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.
  • In a mobile home: Get out! Even if your home is tied down, it is not as safe as an underground shelter or permanent, sturdy building. Go to one of those shelters, or to a nearby permanent structure, using your tornado evacuation plan. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. This mobile-home safety video from the State of Missouri may be useful in developing your plan.
  • At school: Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or windowless room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down andtornado safety protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.
  • In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely risky in a tornado. There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or underground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible — out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or another cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
  • In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.
  • In a shopping mall or large store: Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.
  • In a church or theater: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.

Safety Tips After a Tornado

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.tornado safety
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • If you are trapped, do not move about or kick up dust. Tap on a pipe or wall or use a whistle, if you have one, so that rescuers can locate you.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings and homes until local authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
  • If your home is without power, use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns rather than candles to prevent accidental fires.
insurance agent mn

Key Documents to Track and Store Safely – Advice from Your Local Insurance Agent MN

Insurance Agent MN | Insurance Quotes MN | Insurance Agency MN

Are you stuck with trying to keep track of all of your important documents? Now is the time to keep track of where all of your documents are located. Your local insurance agent MN found this great document from, you can use as a starting point. Don’t forget to follow through on moving any of these documents or tasks from your “to do” list to your “it’s done” list!

Document Checklist

~Marvin H. Feldman

insurance agent minneapolis mn

Burglar Proofing Your Windows – Tips From Your Local Insurance Agent Minneapolis MN

In 2015, there were 1.6 million burglaries in the United States. Did you know that 30% of burglars enter the home through an open or unlocked window? Your local insurance agent Minneapolis MN has provided you with some suggestions on how to make your windows safer.

  • Window Bars

    • These will make your home extremely burglar-resistant. Most people go for other options since they beinsurance agent minneapolis mnlieve that they make the house feel more like a jail than a home.
    • Where Can I Buy Them?
  • Reinforced Glass

    • Tempered Glass: is more durable than traditional glass, meaning that it is more difficult to break. As far as reinforced glass goes, tempered glass is one of the least expensive options.
    • Laminated Glass: also known as “safety glass”, consists of a layer of vinyl in between two sheets of glass. In order to break this, a burglar would have to strike the same spot multiple times, therefore make a lot of noise.
  • Plexiglas Windows

    • These windows are ten times stronger than traditional glass but are the same thickness. They are on the more expensive side of things, but “they’re 250 times more impact resistant than safety glass and ten times stronger than acrylic windows” (Erin Raub)
  • insurance agent minneapolis mnWindow Alarms

  • Window Locks

    • Deadbolts and Window Guards can be a simple, affordable, yet highly effective way to burglar proof your windows.
    • Popular Window Locks:

For the full article, click HERE.

Safe Winter Driving Brought to You by Your Insurance Agency Minneapolis MN

Winter driving can be dangerous and scary, especially in northern regions that get a lot of snow and ice. Additional preparations can help make a trip safer, or help motorists deal with an emergency. Read on to discover tips from your local insurance agency Minneapolis MN on how to prevent motor vehicle injuries due to winter storms! 

  • If at all possible, avoid driving while you are fatigued, this will reduce driving risks.
  • Check your tires, battery, and windshield wipers on a regular basis throughout the Winter. insurance agency minneapolis mn
  • You should never use cruise control when driving on any slippery surfaces.
  • It’s always a good idea to keep your gas tank at least half-full in case of an emergency situation.
  • If you are ever in a dangerous situation, stay in your car. Put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine dome light, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.
  • In the Winter it is necessary to know that stopping distances are longer if there is ice or water-covered ice.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • Did you know that children 12 and under are always safer in the back seat?
  • You should never but a rear-facing, or any, in front of an air bag.
  • Don’t forget to buckle-up!  

Items to Always Have in Your Car – Suggestions From Your Insurance Agency Minneapolis MN

  • Extra hat, mittens, scarves, boots, etc.
  • Flashlight – plus the extra batteries
  • Something to use for traction – sand, cat litter, or strips of carpet all work well
  • Jumper Cables
  • Shovel and ice scraper
  • Blankets – try to have a couple
  • Food – candy and nuts are good high-calorie, non-perishable food options
  • Water

insurance agency minneapolis mnEven with a flashlight, jumper cables, a shovel, an ice scraper, and all that extra food and water; keep in mind that driving in the Winter is very treacherous. And even if you maintain control of your car, not everyone else will. So don’t ever lose your focus on the road, do everything slowly and gently. Remember, in the snow, the tires are always just barely grabbing the road. Accelerate slowly and gently, turn slowly and gently, and brake slowly and gently. To do this, you have to anticipate turns and stops. That means what? Going slowly and leaving plenty of distance between you and other cars. Rapid movements lead to skids and loss of control.

For more resources on driving safe in the winter, check out the links below!