To Nationwide client and agent Buddy Cahall, conversations are worth their weight in gold when it comes to an insurance claim.
He sells insurance with Crow Insurance based out of Middletown, Del., but his background is in agriculture which he says helps when it comes to good coverage and claims. His work in the insurance industry began after one of those fortuitous conversations with a neighbor, Roy Crow, while Cahall was struggling with his family’s dairy farm.
“There were very low profits in dairy at that time in the early 2000s. If you have enough of those years when you see yourself sliding backwards and your buildings are going downhill… it’s a tough business. There’s too much work and responsibility in it to not receive a profit,” Cahall said. “But I met with him, he was an example. He was a former dairy farmer. He was doing alright with the insurance business, but needed some help and that’s where I came into it. I could speak the language and understood it from a farmer’s point of view.”
Since 2006, Cahall has helped farmers find just the right coverage for them so if a claim situation occurs, they can continue their operation safely.
“It’s not about the money when it comes down to a claim. It’s about the language in the policy that enables them to cover it. If it’s there, they’re going to pay it, but their hands are tied if it’s not there,” Cahall said. “Usually, if a claim is lost, a lot of times it’s because of miscommunication. The farmer might have thought they had coverage for something that they didn’t. I’ve lived that with people on claims before.”
He emphasized the importance of the initial conversations between an agent and client when they should dive into every detail about the farming operation, so miscommunication never occurs in the first place.
“When I’m asked to quote somebody, I’d really like to come out and meet you. I’m going to come out to your address, sit down with you and ask questions. Where are you? Are you spread out? Is this your working location? What dwellings do you have here? Tell me about your equipment. Tell me about the odd things you do? It’s a lot of information,” he explained. “Nationwide’s a good company. They’re top of the line. When it comes to claims, we barely come out without a positive result for the farmer. In fact, one of the beauties of Nationwide is that we have a multi-state policy available which some farmers could benefit from. We just need to have those conversations so we’re all on the same page.”
In his experience, adding equipment and names of people or entities associated with the farm, he said, were some of the crucial pieces of information sometimes missed in the intake process by new insurance clients.
Cahall recalled a claim in New Jersey that almost resulted in no coverage because of that very problem. A farmer had been operating farm equipment while working in a field of standing rye; they drove at full speed into an irrigation riser which he didn’t know was on the farm at all. The owner called Cahall, upset because he thought the piece of farm equipment used in the field was not covered under his insurance policy.
“I didn’t remember hearing about that [equipment] at all. The owner called me the next morning upset that it wasn’t on there. I thought I had missed something,” he said. Luckily for the client, they had built in a category for miscellaneous equipment resulting in coverage for the farmer in that case.
“This claim had a $5,000 limit per item. In the end, he was thrilled to have that. Now we know to put in a small blanket for the things they forgot to tell us about,” Cahall said. “It worked out good in the end and then we all learned from it. And now that client, when they’re purchasing something new, they’re calling me on the way home and that’s the way it should be. We’ve seen it where items weren’t listed because they were forgotten and that’s really on the farmer, not the dealer.”
In-depth conversations with the farmer is incredibly important to Cahall when starting a new policy and maintaining existing policies. Speaking with the younger generations is just as important, he encouraged.
“I try to encourage them to involve their younger generation if they’re working with them now. My dad did and I benefited from it. I knew who our insurance agent was. If they have any interest in that business and you’re helping them to take it over, I’m all for them coming in to the review. They can have my cell phone number; they can call me,” he said. “And then God forbid something happens to their parents, they’re not out in the blue about who I am. They can pick up the phone and call me and we can go on forward. Communication is key. Develop that relationship. You will be better off for it.”
For more information about Nationwide Insurance or to reach Buddy Cahall, visit https://www.crowinsuranceteam.com/.