Golfball-sized hail leads to giant-sized service
Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance agency sales manager Justin and his staff were eating lunch at a
local diner one balmy May afternoon when a storm rolled through town. "We didn’t think much of it,"
he remembers. "It was a normal storm on our end of town." But then one of his customer-service
reps hustled into the diner with reports from the other side of town. "I remember him saying, 'It's
The rep's description of the storm included a phrase that everyone often hears but few are unlucky
enough to experience. It's a phrase that can fill insurance agents with a certain sort of dread.
An agent with more than four years of experience under his belt, Justin thought he knew what his
office could expect that afternoon. A hail storm doesn't happen in isolation. If a single car is damaged
by hail, chances are dozens, if not hundreds, of people and vehicles will be affected. So Justin and
his crew abandoned lunch and beelined back to the office. And that was a good thing, because his
office filed nearly 200 claims that afternoon.
When drivers get auto insurance, they're usually doing it to protect themselves and others in case of
an accident. They don't consider the vast number of ways insurance can help them out of jams. They
don't anticipate events that can leave their cherished vehicles resembling golfballs, or worse. This
storm leaned heavily on the side of "or worse."
"I was shocked by the damage," Justin remembers. "We had clients pulling in with holes through
their vehicles, badly dented body panels. I didn't know hail could do that. I'd guess that one in ten
cars were totaled that day."
The initial barrage of customer claims was just the beginning. People need their cars, and they need
them with little or no interruption. And that means that they need their insurance agencies to be
responsive so they can get back on the road and back to their lives.
The claims kept coming the next day and the next. To service each and every client as quickly as
possible that week, the Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance home office sent several claims reps to
Justin's office so that they could weather the storm's aftermath together. "We set up a drive-through
claim system so clients could just pull in and leave with a check," Justin says. "We didn't want our
clients to have to wait on estimates, or talk to body shops before they got the process rolling." The
system worked; the typical customer those days didn't wait more than five or ten minutes.
In one case, a mother rolled up with her back window smashed in. Glass was scattered throughout
the vehicle's interior, including over her two car seats. "We told her, 'Go get some car seats. Here's a
For the vast majority of clients serviced by Justin and company that week, this was their first
experience with non-collision damage. "They weren't just looking to file claims," Justin says. "They
were looking for guidance. What to do next, where to do it. I'm glad that we were there to offer it."
"It makes me feel good knowing that Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance cares enough about all its
clients to act quickly like that."
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