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S U N D AY, A P R I L 3 , 2 0 1 6



Taxes ...
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Brownbacks urging in hopes of

stimulating the economy.
Individual income tax collections fell about 9 percent short of
expectations in March, off $14.4
million, at $145.6 million. The
picture for the fiscal year to date
was better: Collections of $1.55
billion, short of expectations by
$56.1 million, or 3.5 percent.
Jordan said the shortfall in
individual income tax collections
were largely a result of ongoing
weakness in manufacturing and
oil and natural gas production.
As for the rebound in sales tax
collections, Jordan said he does
not yet know what the state can
read into the numbers.
The state collected $181.9
million in sales taxes in March,

A B O V E: A p a i r o f A l S h a n k I n s u r a n c e e m p l o y e e s p r e p a r e t o h i t th e r o a d i n t h e b u s i n e s s s e a r l y d a y s t o s h o w c a s e i n s u r a n c e o p t i o n s . T o d a y ,
Al Sh ank J r . s ai d, t he c o mpa ny se r v es bet we en 2, 400 t o 2, 500 c l ie nts in t he a r ea . Courtesy photo
F R O N T P A G E : A l Sh a n k I n s u r a n c e s c u r r e n t l o c a t i o n a t 2 4 W e s t 2 n d S t r e e t i n L i b e r a l , w h i c h t h e y h a v e o c c u p i e d f o r th e p a s t 1 0 y e a r s . T h e
bus in ess i s c ur r ent l y c o mm em o r at in g 7 5 y ear s of s er v i ng the L ibe r al ar ea . L&T photo/Elly Grimm
F R O N T P A G E I N S E T : A p a s t l o c a ti o n o f A l S h a n k I n s u r a n c e . A l S h a n k S r . s t a r t e d t h e b u s i n e s s s e l l i n g l i f e i n s u r a n c e o u t o f h i s h o m e i n 1 9 4 1 .
Courtesy photo

Shank ...
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business with you, thats fantastic,

but if we can do business with you
and become a friend along the way,
thats even better.
Al Shank Insurance started in
1941 with Al Shank Sr. selling life
insurance out of his residence at
the 800 block of North Sherman
Avenue. Then in 1942, he
contracted with Travelers Insurance
so he could sell not only life
insurance but other lines of
coverage, as well. At one point,
Shank said, several members of his
family worked in the agency, even if
it were only as a summer job. Upon
graduating from college in 1977,
Shank got into the business.
At one point, the company was
affiliated with Railroad Savings and
Loan and did home loans. Al Shank
Insurance also bought Zimmerman
and Company (one of its oldest
and largest competitors) in 2006.
The company then moved into its
current building at 24 West 2nd
Street. Then in the last five or 10
years, ASI has also become a
member of Associated Risk
Managers. Shank then combined
with six other agencies in Kansas to
form Bison Insurance Group.
This all started with one person
selling life insurance, and now we
have a total of eight people and
have all but one who is licensed
right now. So, obviously, we have
grown in that way, we have more
people and more clients, Shank
said of the companys evolution.
Technology has also impacted us
just like its impacted every other
business, whether its the
newspaper business or the grocery
business. The products have also
changed a little bit, but insurance is
still insurance and weve been really
While Shank had the opportunity
to work for a few different agencies,

he ultimately decided to keep shop
in Liberal.
I had a chance to work at an
agency in Lawrence, which was a
really good agency, and they kind of
knew my plan was to come back to
Liberal and work with my dad,
Shank said. But they asked if I
would want to stay there and my
wife and I just felt the opportunity
was here in Liberal. We were both
born and raised here, we raised kids
here who eventually all went to
school here. It just felt like we could
always travel and go places from
here in Liberal. Ive never regretted
the decision to come back here I
enjoy Southwest Kansas, I enjoy
Liberal. I know weve had
demographics and population and
the climates changed a bit, but Im
more of a homer and I love this
The company currently serves
between 2,400 and 2,500 clients,
Shank said, and he looks forward to
seeing those numbers growing. He
also talked about how the evolution
of insurance will also evolve
alongside technology.
Weve already got some
companies that send the policies
direct to the clients but wont send

them to us because they want us to

go on their websites, Shank said.
Weve got some clients now who
weve e-mailed their policy and
some of them will, no doub,t go
ahead and print them and some of
them will leave them as an
electronic file. So I think the way
the product is delivered will be
different and I also think theres a
lot more competition now in the
ways you can buy insurance either
in person or on the phone or on our
In fact, Shank said, staff is
looking at ways (within this year) to
give clients 24/7 access to their
I think technologys going to be
the biggest driver of that a client
today can contact us through
phone and in person and can also
connect with us and learn about us
through our website and our
mobile app, Shank said. I think
what we have to do is try to be
active enough to follow the
technology, and then as the
technology changes, then we have
to be smart enough to look at that
and say Is that something we can
do for our clients?
With 75 years already behind the
companys history, Shank said staff

is blessed to have been around that

long and added the company plans
to be around for a long time.
I cant say enough about my
staff Ive got people who have
been with me from either just in the
past year to around 30 years. One
of our ladies started her career with
my dad in 1970 when we were on
North Kansas Avenue, Shank said.
Everyone in the office also tries to
be supportive of the community
and local events, which goes back
to what my parents (Al and Maxine
Shank) called civic rent, which
means people were involved in the
community and active in leadership
positions. For a business
celebrating its 75th anniversary, its
important for us to give back to the
community and the area because
theyre the reason weve been here
so long. If you have a business
successful for any amount of time,
youve done that in part because of
your clients and the community
youre in. And thats what we want
to try and continue to do, help the

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with large Mormon populations.
The church does not back one
party or endorse candidates, but
Mormon leaders sometimes weigh
in on what they consider crucial
moral issues.
Church leaders have defended
religious liberty after Trump
suggested banning Muslims from
entering the U.S., and they have


$5.9 million, or 3.3 percent,

greater than expected. But collections for the fiscal year to date, at
$1.7 billion, are $20.8 million, or
1.2 percent less than anticipated.
Meanwhile, insurance premium
tax collections have been robust.
For March, the collections of
$21.7 million exceeded expectations by $6.7 million, or nearly 46
percent. For the fiscal year to
date, the collections were $107.3
million, ahead of expectations by
$11 million, or 11 percent.
Clark Shultz, the state
Insurance Departments director
of governmental affairs, said the
increase is tied largely to rising
health insurance premiums. He
said the 2010 federal health
President Barack Obama has led
to more people having coverage
and because of its mandates
premiums overall.
renewed calls for an end to culture
wars where people stake out
extreme positions.
Leaders urged a conference of
Mormon women last weekend to
help refugees in their communities
striking a different tone than
Trump and Cruz.
Before an election, the church
instructs lay leaders to a read a
letter in their congregations
encouraging members to vote and
to choose candidates who will act
with integrity and are wise, good,
and honest.