Serving Clients in Extreme Weather: A Look Back at COUNTRY’s Response to Record-breaking 2023 Storms 

By Jesse Kohlbecker, Vice President of Claims and Client Services

When it comes to weather, 2023 was a year for the record books. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. experienced a historic number of billion-dollar disasters in 2023. COUNTRY clients in the Midwest suffered several convective storms from March through June, including the two largest claims events in our nearly 100-year history. Our Claims and Client Services teams rose to the occasion by providing exceptional service and delivering on our promises, helping more than 23,000 clients in their time of need.

Employees go all-in to serve clients

In an average year, COUNTRY will receive approximately 42,000 storm claims. In 2023, we received more than 60,000, which is a 44% increase. Nearly all (95%) of those claims occurred before August 31, meaning the highest concentration occurred in the spring and summer.

Commitment, flexibility and adaptability allowed COUNTRY employees to effectively manage the claim volume, while taking care of our clients. We took an “all hands on deck” approach, which meant several employees stepped out of their comfort zones to assist teams with handling the tremendous number of claims coming in, assisting with making first contacts and communicating with clients. The teams seamlessly stepped up to support our clients and each other.

What our clients said

COUNTRY clients responded to a survey after the storms. Here are a few comments we received:

  •  “My claim was handled quickly, efficiently and fairly. I initiated the claim via your website, and it was a simple process.”
  • “The claim process was very easy, done all online. I heard from a claim[s] adjuster almost immediately and was given the names/addresses of local repair shops. I was able to choose the shop I liked. Very easy!”
  •  “The claims process is easy and very streamlined. Quick response. Started the online claim on Tuesday and everything was settled by Friday afternoon. COUNTRY Financial is great to work with all the time!” 

Technology improves client claims experience

Technology enhancements were key to providing an excellent client experience, and they will continue to help us support clients into the future. Our teams used tools that benefited both clients and the organization to quickly offer support, including:

  • Virtually adjusting claims
  • Electronic Fund Transfers for client payments
  • Direct repair for removing trees from homes
  • Digitally uploading documents and photos
  • Filing claims digitally

Helping homeowners prevent loss in the future

In October of 2023, COUNTRY conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers¹ across the U. S. and found that half of homeowners are concerned they don’t have enough coverage to make home repairs, and 8 in 10 homeowners are worried the costs of repairs and labor will continue to rise. We know the cost to repair homes has risen significantly. 

In 2023, the cost of claims rose significantly, compared to a 3-year average:

  • Auto claims costs rose 40%
  • Home claims costs rose 33%
  • Farm claims costs rose 25%

As we move into storm season, we encourage homeowners to take the following steps to prevent claims and help ensure a smooth claims experience: 

  1. Complete a Client Annual Review with your insurance representative to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage. As your lifestyle changes, so do your insurance coverage needs. 
  2. Maintain your property to prevent damage – inspect your roof for leaks, clean gutters, and trim trees. 
  3. When a storm is predicted, take action. Put your vehicle in the garage or under a carport, and secure lawn furniture and remove debris and loose items in your yard.
  4. If damage occurs and you need to file a claim, quickly report your claim. Take photos of damage and keep receipts for repairs.  Consider using digital capabilities like filing your claim digitally, and if eligible, receiving payment via Electronic Fund Transfer. 
  5. If you are considering using a public adjuster for your claims, keep these things in mind:
  • Adding parties to the claim process can potentially add time and cost to your settlement. 
  • An adjuster’s fee may be taken from your settlement proceeds. 
  • It may take longer to get your settlement if the check is issued to both you and your public adjuster.

Building a claims workforce for the future

Career opportunities for claims professionals are predicted to rise over the coming years as many in the workforce retire, according to a Ward HR study². COUNTRY is building a claims workforce that will continue to provide the exceptional service our clients expect and deserve. COUNTRY recently launched a Claims Apprenticeship program that prepares individuals with little to no work experience for a successful claims career. View Apprenticeship openings and learn about other claims careers.


Media contact 

COUNTRY Financial® is a family of affiliated companies (collectively, COUNTRY) located in Bloomington, IL. Learn more about who we are.

¹COUNTRY Financial Security Index, 2023 CFSI Q3 2023 Severe Weather and Insurance Data Summary.pdf (

²Ward Group, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), 2023, Human Resources and Employee Benefit Practices, AON Ward Human Resources and Employee Benefits Practice Study Download (