Indiana Farmers Mutual CEO on Tornado Impact: 'It's Not Just About Property Damage'

NU Online News Service, March 9, 12:04 p.m. EST

The damages in Henryville, Ind. are beyond visual.

“It’s hard to explain,” says Daniel E. Stone, president and chief executive of Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. in an interview. “You hear about heirlooms and memories lost. People have spent their entire lives here.

“The school they went to is gone. The church where they worshipped is gone.”

Stone visited the small town and its surrounding area following a destructive tornado March 2.

Henryville was nearly flattened by the storm. Thirty-nine people died and thousands were left homeless.

Stone says he heard numerous stories from policyholders as they visited the neighborhood Indiana Farmers Mutual agency, without heat and powered by a generator to keep the phones working.

“Someone said their sister and brother-in-law were actually pulled up into the tornado and then released,” Stone says. “They’re in the hospital now, recovering.”

The mobile home they lived in was reduced to scattered debris, he adds.

“It’s heart-wrenching,” Stone says. “You can’t find the right words. This is the business we’re in and it’s our opportunity to fulfill a promise we made to them, but you come to find that’s the easiest thing you can do.

“This isn’t just about property damage.”

Indiana Farmers Mutual had fielded more than 720 claims and paid out about $4.6 million as of late March 8, Stone says.

The company will retain the first $6 million in losses before reinsurance kicks in, adds the chief executive of the Indiana-only insurer.

“What impresses you is the selflessness,” he says. “We’ve had people come up and say, ‘We just lost our roof. They lost everything. Take care of them first.’”

Stone says one advantage to being such a local insurer is response time. The insurer had people—employees and in some cases, their spouses—on the ground immediately.

Saturday morning when Stone took a very early trip to the office, his executive team was already there waiting, planning.

“If you take a poll of our workforce, most people have spent most, if not all, of their lives in Indiana,” Stone says. “This is where we live. These are our neighbors.”  

Comments

Resource Center

View All »

Contractors General Liability Coverage 102

What is a prior work exclusion? Which option is right for my client? Why do...

Sign up today to get a 50% matching credit -...

Insurance marketing sometimes seems like it's a game of swings and misses, but we're here...

Guide: 5 Steps to Selling Cyber

Cyber risk and data security is on the agenda of every business owner and executive....

Citation Correlation

Do rigger and signalperson qualifications correlate with the cause of crane and rigging accidents? ...

Complete Guide to Electronic Signatures in Property & Casualty Insurance...

In property and casualty insurance, closing new business quickly is key. Learn how to leverage...

INSTANT ACCESS: Complimentary Sales Closer Questionnaires

Help property owners or managers compare your commercial residential property insurance coverage vs. the competition....

Determining Vacant Property Perils and Valuations

Are your clients fully covered for Vacant Properties? In this economic climate, your insureds may...

Risk Management for Law Firms

This package of 3 concise risk management articles offers straightforward content and practical suggestions law...

Guide: Top 15 E&O Risks-And How To Avoid Them

Accidents happen. But when it's an errors and omissions oversight, that accident can open your...

We'll Show You How to Reach Your Sales Goals

Whether you work alone or have a team of agents working for you, we can...

Personal Lines Pro eNewsletter

Critical insights into the personal auto, homeowners, and other consumer insurance markets to help P&C professionals stay informed – FREE! Sign Up Now!

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.