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Farmers & Traders Life Insurance Company -
Life Insurance

A History of Farmers and Traders Life Insurance Company

At Farmers and Traders Life Insurance, they have come quite a distance since the Company's founding in 1914. It's been a journey through history and technological change spanning four wars, the Great Depression, economic booms and busts, and the troubling fluctuations and uncertainties of the 1990's. From those first insurance contracts filled out in fountain pen by people born before the invention of the automobile, we have moved into the computer age and to the breathtaking possibilities offered by the Farmers and Traders Life Insurance Web Site on the Internet. Through it all, the Company has held firm to the original commitments of its founders - measured growth, a personal approach to serving customers, and conservative investments. And while Farmers and Traders Life Insurance have favored the strategies of conservative management, they have also recognized the need to adapt to changing technologies and market forces in order to serve their clients and their field force better.

Farmers and Traders was founded by members of the Grange, an agricultural fraternal organization which held a large membership of all farm people during the early 20th Century. Grange members were predominantly isolated from many of the services available in the cities. City-based insurance agents were unlikely to take the time to venture far from their offices into an America still largely rugged and rural and lacking the amenities of cosmopolitan life. In 1914, in an effort to provide access to life insurance for its members, the National Grange began their own life insurance company, which was also open to the general public.

Farmers and Traders Life set up a home office in Syracuse, New York in 1914, and after a number of years, established its current office at 960 James Street in Syracuse. Around the time Farmers and Traders Life began formal operations, New York State had written some of the toughest insurance regulations in the country in response to a nationwide investigation of the insurance industry by the Federally-sponsored Armstrong Commission. As a fledgling insurance company committed to multi-state operations, Farmers and Traders Life welcomed the chance to operate in an environment that would offer greater protections to its clients not only in New York but also in all states. An added bonus was Syracuse's central location within New York. The ripple effect of this early, strict regulation has been that today, many agents from outside the state have sought to become representatives of New York domiciled companies because of the increased credibility and security this regulatory environment represents.

As one might expect, Farmers and Traders Life's original founders were solid, hardworking citizens who held both a commitment to independence and a strong belief in the importance of helping their fellow man. They were determined people with well-grounded standards of integrity and a belief in diligence and careful decision making. They were not averse to risk itself, only to needless or excessive risk. And promises were very important to them. A promise and a handshake were the means by which so much of their day-to-day business was done. Not surprisingly, they believed the basis of all life insurance is a promise and that philosophy was reflected in their careful, conservative underwriting, investing, and marketing practices, which kept risks to a minimum.

Through the years as the banking and insurance industries have meandered through periods of high-risk investing in attempts to fulfill glamorous promises, Farmers and Traders Life has maintained a steady, level-headed course and weathered its difficulties admirably. The result is an enviable position of financial strength. Farmers and Traders Life is rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company and has had an outstanding record of dividend payments to policyowners. Today, the Company has nearly two billion dollars of insurance coverage in force.

Farmers and Traders Life currently conducts its business through approximately 1,600 Agents in 28 states. The Company has refocused its attention over the last five years on marketing life insurance on a "needs" basis. Farmers and Traders Life Insurance offer a complete portfolio of whole life and term insurance, universal life insurance, as well as flexible and single premium deferred annuities. Farmers and Traders' specialty sales include worksite marketing and plans for the senior market.

Farmers and Traders continues to enjoy an enviable reputation for marketing quality life insurance and annuity products. Farmers and Traders Life Insurance remains committed to delivering responsive policyowner service.


Whole Life
Whole Life insurance provides death protection for as long as you live. Because whole life remains in effect as long as you pay premiums, the initial premiums will be higher than comparable term insurance (in most cases). But you will pay less over the long run because term rates will continually increase each time you renew your policy in later years. And, in some cases a health condition may arise which would prevent you from being able to renew coverage at any cost.

With some whole life plans, you will pay premiums for only a certain period of years or until a certain age. At that point your premiums cease but your death benefit coverage remains in effect forever.

Since most whole life policies involve some "prefunding" of future mortality costs, whole life policies have cash values. Policy cash values are available to the policyowner at any time by surrendering (canceling) the policy. Alternatively, the cash values can normally be borrowed from the life insurance company. Interest is charged on this loan, and the loan is deducted from the policy cash value if surrendered or from the face amount if a death claim is paid.

Annual dividends are another source of policy values for some whole life policies.

Term Insurance
Term Insurance provides death protection for a specific period of time or "term" of one or more years. With term plans, a death benefit is paid only if death occurs during that term of years.
This type of coverage provides the largest immediate death protection for the premium dollar. It is frequently used by young families to provide significant and immediate death benefits at the lowest cost. It is usually "converted" or replaced with whole life coverage at a later date when the wage earner(s) are better established.

Some term plans are "renewable" for one or more terms even if your health has changed but, in every new term, the premiums will be higher. Some term plans are also "convertible" which means you may trade the term policy for a whole life or other insurance plan even if you are not in good health. Premiums for the new policy will be higher than you have been paying for the term insurance.

Premiums for participating policies are usually based on fairly conservative mortality, interest, and expense assumptions. The insurer may then recognize more favorable experience through the payment of dividends. While most participating policies include an illustration of dividends, the actual dividends paid are not guaranteed. If future mortality, interest, and expenses are more favorable, dividends paid may be higher than those illustrated, and vice versa. The term "dividend" as used with life insurance should not be confused with the same term used to refer to earnings on shared stock.

960 James Street,
P.O. Box 1056,
NY 13201-1056

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