The Catastrophe Response Team: Rushing to Respond

Mar 10, 2023 3 min read

Not your average office job, members of our Catastrophe Response Team (CAT Team) are ready to help at a moment’s notice.

Farm Bureau Financial Services’ Catastrophe Response Team (CAT Team) is ready to respond as soon as the storm passes. Dan Behrens, Property Claims Director, explains, “Our team is ready to do whatever it takes to ensure our client/members receive prompt, expert claim service after a significant storm has occurred.”

Created in 2015 to respond to significant storm events requiring specialized knowledge to process claims quickly and accurately, the CAT Team includes 17 field staff and 15 desk staff, plus seasonal support members located across our geography. Whether it’s a hailstorm in Kansas or a tornado touch-down in Iowa, this team is there to answer the call. They make it their goal to be the first insurance company representatives on the scene and among the first ones finished with resolving their claims. When a storm hits, activated team members work up to 21 days straight, inspecting property damage and writing repair estimates at their designated storm site. They then have 7 days off to rest up before their next assignment.

However, their commitment to serving client/members knows no bounds. When the August 2020 derecho blew across the Midwest, CAT team members deployed to the hardest hit communities and stayed to make sure people were taken care of. Agent Chris Oberbroeckling said, “we had a member of the CAT Team in our office basically full-time for five weeks, I think. He was able to cut checks right there for Randy [Strnad, Agent] and me to deliver, and as people called in with questions, they were able to come in to visit with him as well.”

Behrens says, “When the CAT Team comes in, they’re there to serve both the client/members and the local agents. They help ensure that client/members receive timely, accurate and courteous service.”

Despite the widespread damage the derecho caused, CAT team members were focused on ensuring top quality service for each client/member. “Probably the thing that caught me off guard was when our adjuster said, ‘I’ve looked at your policy, I know what’s on it, so now we get started going through what you might have for claims.’ And I thought, you took the time to study my policy already before you got here? That saved a lot of time just by knowing he knew what was going on. Then I just felt relaxed, because I knew I had an adjuster that was straight-forward and detailed,” said client/members Bart and Kim Gingrich, who operate a pumpkin patch in eastern Iowa.

A Day in the Life

Lucas Straub, Senior CAT Team Claims Representative, is a leading member of the team. “Being on the Catastrophe Response Team takes a special kind of person.  It takes someone who is passionate about helping others as well as living the Farm Bureau core values.  It's a gift being a part of a team where everyone involved wants to be there to help others and make a difference,” says Straub, who regularly mentors new members of the team.  “We are fortunate that no two days are alike.  We constantly get to travel to new areas and meet people with different claims and backgrounds.  Scoping and settling the claim, which is the job, is even more rewarding when you know you are helping someone out in a time of need.  Farm Bureau is an incredible company that feels more like a family than a workplace.”

Farm Bureau Cares

After a town has experienced a major loss, many of our client/members are overwhelmed; we’re committed to help them in any way we can. Aside from processing claims quickly and ensuring our client/members have what they need immediately, we have a Farm Bureau Cares trailer that can visit affected areas to serve a hot meal and answer any additional questions.  


Paws on the Ground

Some of our storm team members have four legs and fur. In the aftermath of tornadoes or other severe weather disaster, Farm Bureau’s crisis response dogs are ready to offer emotional support.

Helping Client/Members During a Time of Need

When disaster strikes, the CAT Team isn’t the only group that jumps in to help. Behrens explains, “Teamwork and a commitment to company values amongst our claims reps in all of our states is vitally important.” While the CAT Team is the first to respond physically, there are other storm claims representatives that help our client/members from other locations:

  • Storm Service Team: This team provides immediate response to incoming calls and emails related to storm losses. This team only handles claims related to weather-related events. They talk with client/members and explain the claims process to them. They’re some of the first team members our client/members talk with after they’ve experienced storm damage.
  • Express Claims Team: This team is trained to help answer all property-casualty claims questions. Whether a car accident or hail damage to a home, this team is ready to help our client/members immediately begin the claims process.
  • Property Storm Adjusters and Auto Storm Adjusters: these part-time representatives work storm claims for us on an as-needed basis, usually after a large storm has taken place.

Joining Our Storm Teams

If you’re personable, passionate, well-organized and motivated to help others, joining one of our storms team might be a good fit for you. We have what you’re looking for - whether that’s something where each day is predictable or one where it’s different, a field or office position, a full-time or part-time opportunity – there’s a role for you. Keep an eye out for openings or join our Talent Network today.  

Want to learn more?

Contact a local FBFS agent or advisor for answers personalized to you.

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