Rooftop House Fire

Best Practices in Avoiding Home Insurance Claims

KC Keith

KC Keith, VP and General Manager Stockman Insurance

Homeowner claims in Montana are just as diverse as its terrain. Not withstanding the Father’s Day Tornado in 2010, Billings experienced a series of catastrophic hail storms in 2016 and 2017 (not to mention the August 11, 2019 severe storm), while Missoula experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in 2017 and most recently a 4.1 in the Manhattan area in early August 2019. No matter how hard we try to avoid, prevent and minimize claims, the odds are not in our favor as one in 20 homes have a claim each year.  Wind and hail claims are the most frequent, and claims relating to fire and lightening are the costliest.

Here are some best practices on how to limit risk or avoid them altogether:

Wind/Hail:  Is the most common claim and is hardest to prevent. Nationally, one out of 50 homes has a claim each year.  The simplest way to minimize claims is to use good quality, climate-recommended products when replacing your roof and siding.

Hail Damage

Water/Freezing Damage:  One in fifty insured homes has a water/freezing pipe claim each year.  Although floods are not predictable, preventing frozen or broken water pipes is avoidable by preventing pipes from freezing and getting those drips fixed. A bucket under the kitchen sink should not be the preferred method of handling a leak.

Broken Pipe

Theft: One in 325 homes has a theft claim each year.  Keeping your doors and windows locked, and having a home security system are your best deterrents.  Scheduling your jewelry, guns, and fine art helps alleviate compensation questions at claim time, and can reduce deductibles and increase coverage.

Home Break In

Fire and Lightening:  The national cost for fire repair is just over $68,000.  This includes small or partial fires.  One out of 360 homes has a fire loss each year. Make sure your electrical service is at code along with properly installing and using fire rated wood stoves and fireplaces.

Rooftop House Fire

All Other Property Damage: From tree branch damage to your siding or roof, or your lawnmower pitching a rock through your window – all other property damage is very broad in scope.  It’s important to visually inspect the interior and exterior of your home monthly for any noticeable damage.

Bedroom Damage

From unpredictable weather to keeping your home safe, these best practices are just some of the preventative actions that you can take. Our Stockman Insurance team of professionals is also a great resource.  We are here to help with any questions or concerns that you may have about a claim. Give us a call today!

Insurance Disclosure

Doug Kallenberger

The Many Hats of Doug Kallenberger

The Many Hats of Stockman

We can’t have a “Many Hats” blog without bringing a cowboy hat into the mix, and Doug Kallenberger, Vice President, Ag Loan Officer in Havre, is just the guy to wear it! His ranching background, love for the sport of rodeo and the success he has had makes for a true Montana story!

Doug, who is a native of Havre, came to MSU-Northern’s Rodeo team after a very successful high school rodeo career, where he was a two-time Montana High School Rodeo Association Champion Saddle Bronc Rider and qualified for Nationals twice. While competing for Northern, he qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in 2001 and 2003 and was the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Big Sky Region Saddle Bronc Champion. He’s been a two-time Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals qualifier and a four-time Northern Rodeo Association Finals qualifier. Not only does he ride broncs, but team ropes as well. In 2013, he won a Wrangler Team Roping National Championship.

Doug Kallenberger - Award

Doug and his wife Emily coach the MSU Northern Lights and Sky Lights Rodeo Teams, and stay busy with their two children who are also involved in rodeo. You can tell this is a family affair.

Doug and Emily Kallenberger


How did you first become involved in rodeo?

My first rodeo: I was 4 years old and riding sheep. I fell in love the first time and have been hooked ever since. I went to college on a rodeo scholarship and that is when I really found my deep love for rodeo. While in college, rodeo did everything for me. That is where I met my wife, Emily, and rodeo paid for my schooling through scholarships.

When did you become MSU Northern’s Rodeo Coach and why?

Before I took the rodeo coaching job, I spoke with my Branch Manager at Stockman Bank and he was more than supportive. Stockman Bank is nothing short of amazing in their support of the local community. I became the Rodeo coach in July of 2012; this year marks the start of my 8th season as Head Coach. My wife Emily and I were both on the team at MSU-Northern during our college years, and when the job opened we thought why not? MSU-Northern has a special place in our hearts as we are both alumni. We wanted to give back to the school that gave us such a great education. We were lucky enough that MSU-Northern wanted to take a chance on us.

What have been the most memorable moments of coaching rodeo?

I would have to say the best part is helping kids through school and then seeing them a few years later as adults. Having them be grateful and tell us “thank you for everything you did for me” is the most rewarding part.  As far as a single moment, I would say it would be a tie between the men’s team championship that we won in 2013 at Miles City, and the women’s team championship we won in 2017 at the Cody rodeo. Both of those were special as the last time a team from MSU-Northern had won a Team Championship was in 1973.

What is your coaching philosophy as it relates to college students and your expectations?

My philosophy has changed over the years. I feel the number one thing is to enjoy your time here at college since it goes by fast, remember you are here getting an education, and you get to do your favorite sport while doing that. I also tell my athletes to smile J. Finally, and most importantly, remember that “Champions are made in the Practice Pen!”

Doug Kallenberger - Rodeo Team Fundraiser


How do you balance rodeo, Ag Lending and family time?

That is the best part of the job! My wife Emily is the Assistant Coach. She loves rodeo as much or more than I do. We have two younger children and they are on the back of a horse five days a week, at least. They are able to be with us at every practice and rodeo. That is the best part about rodeo – the whole family can be involved!

We tip our hat to Doug and the Stockman Bank people who wear many hats to make our communities better places to live, work, and play!

Bank Disclosures

Woman thinking

PLANNING AHEAD: Will-Full Thinking

In our last blog, we wrote about some of the technical and legal aspects of creating a will. Now let’s address the more personal side: your life, family, and stuff, and who will take care of it.

You’ll need to ask yourself (and your spouse—if you’re married, this is a good joint exercise) some questions, do a life inventory, and think about who you really trust.

Woman thinking


Here are some specific things you will need to consider when preparing to write a will:

Who will be the executor (also known as personal representative) of your will?

This should be a person who you trust implicitly, and who you know will follow your wishes. Whomever you choose, you will need to explain the role to them and ask whether they are willing to take on such a responsibility. This is no small matter.

If you have minor children, who will be their guardian?

Naturally, this is of the utmost importance, and imparts a huge responsibility on the person named. You will also want to name someone you trust to manage the property you leave to your minor children (often a different person than the guardian).

Who will be your beneficiaries?

Be sure to have all of their personal information (correct names, addresses, and how they are related to you). You might want to consider including alternate beneficiaries, in case any primary beneficiary predeceases you. You may have special property or heirlooms you wish to give to loved ones – make sure to include these.

Make a list of all property

Your list should include real (land and permanent improvements), personal (cars, bank and investment accounts, jewelry, furniture, etc.), and separate spousal property (gifted or inherited, acquired before marriage, and the like). Try to estimate values, in case tax planning may be necessary.

Check list writing

If you do have a will…

David Morgenroth, CFP Missoula

David Morgenroth, CFP Missoula

Make sure you review it at least every five (5) years, or whenever you experience a life-changing event, such as:

    • Change in residence
    • Death of a spouse or close family member
    • Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, etc.
    • Adoption
    • Birth of a child or grandchild

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good start. Your Stockman Wealth Management CFP® can answer many of your questions and help make the process a smooth one. As a caveat, we are not attorneys and we don’t draft documents, but we can certainly advise you on your options, offer recommendations, and lay the groundwork to reduce costs.

Wealth Management Disclosures


Camping – The Great  Montana Pastime

Summer is in full swing.  If you’ve driven the interstate, it’s most likely been full of RVs, trailers and pick-ups, packed in anticipation of camping adventures. Camping is one of those activities that people either love or hate. Sleeping under the stars isn’t for everyone. But for me, it’s heaven. Cool air, dark nights, warm fire, marshmallows, bright stars, family, friends and memories. There’s nothing better.

Kids in Sleeping Bags

Family Time

I grew up as a happy camper. My father loved it and we went everywhere in our RV. Every summer was full of new adventures. It was the best time we spent as a family and when I had a family of my own, I couldn’t wait to carry on the tradition. And we started early! My son was three months old when we first took him camping!


In today’s world of technology, we head out into the great outdoors where there is – gasp – no Wi-Fi or cell service! So, instead, we hike, canoe, pull out a football or Frisbee, play board games and cards and at night, around the campfire, we talk. Yes, just talk. It’s amazing what your children will share with you without the distraction of their cell phones, which by the way, they never seem to miss.

Over the Years


The Food

Part of the camping experience is the food! Have you ever noticed that food always seems to taste better cooked over an open flame? The kids always make sure the cooler is packed with sausage, bacon, eggs, pancake batter, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and homemade goodies like Scotcheroos and of course, S’mores. We never leave home without marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers.


The Great Outdoors

In Montana, we are surrounded by the beauty of nature. We have camped all over our state, next to rivers and lakes and in both of our national parks. We have hiked past magnificent waterfalls to mountain peaks. It is truly breathtaking. And, you never know who might visit your campsite! Over the years, we’ve seen buffalo, elk, deer, moose, bears, foxes, raccoons, otters, eagles and heard wolves howling in the distance.



New Adventures

Our children are now grown. My son graduated from college a year ago and is working in Washington. My daughter is headed to college in August. Both tell me that some of their fondest memories of growing up are camping. My son often camps with friends now and we will all be together for an annual camping trip with friends to Swan Lake later this summer.

But right now, my husband and I are getting ready for a weekend of camping without our kids for the first time in 24 years. It will be different. We packed a couple of steaks instead of hot dogs and hamburgers. But all that I love will be the same. Cool air, dark nights, warm fire, marshmallows, bright stars, family, friends and memories.  There’s nothing better.

Cindy & Sean

Bank Disclosures