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Joplin Missouri Photos

To experience how the insurance industry is responding to the tornado that took out a large swath of Joplin, Mo. on May 22—the EF5’s path through the city was nearly a mile wide and about seven miles long—I “embedded” on June 7 with State Farm Insurance so I could witness the company’s concerted response to the devastating storm that left more than 150 dead and 1,000 injured.

During my visit, I met with a local State Farm agent, Karen Rutledge, to hear how her agency has been dealing with this enormous catastrophe—and the profound impact it has had on her clients.

Her first thoughts when the tornado struck? “Is everybody I know safe—whether it was my employees or my family. Of course, you think of all your customers, and you’re trying to find out where exactly did it hit. Right away you figure out you have lots of customers who have had a serious situation happen.”

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