Getting back to business.
“The town too tough to die.”
That’s the motto for Pilger, a rural village in Nebraska with a population of 352. Two years ago, that motto was put to the test when two tornadoes touched down almost simultaneously a mile apart, devastating about 75 percent of the town.
“I knew what a tornado could do, but you never think it would hit your place,” said Dan Oswald, a Nationwide member who lost his seed business. Fortunately, with the help of two Nationwide associates and an independent agent, Dan’s insurance claim was processed before the governor even landed to declare a state of emergency. Since then, the seed dealer has rebuilt and, due to business growth, increased the square footage of his facility by 66 percent.
Not far from Dan’s seed business was the town’s largest employer, the Farmers Cooperative, whose grain storage and agronomy facilities — and the town’s only convenience store — also had been reduced to a pile of rubble.
Nationwide’s agribusiness division was on-site the day after the storm to assess the damage and help get the co-op back to business. By the end of the week, the co-op had a $1 million check in hand to cover immediate business expenses, and the reconstruction of new facilities was underway. By setting up essential equipment, the co-op was able to meet the demands of the fall agronomy season. And, within six months, co-op employees were able to move into their new office. Later on, construction was completed on a new grain storage facility and convenience store.
“Our claims adjuster worked hard to get us back up and running quickly,” said Aaron Becker, general manager of the Farmers Cooperative. “Today, we have brand new, state-of-the-art facilities and we’re stronger than ever.”