F-4 Tornado Destroys Family Farm, Farmers Alliance is Right There to Help

F-4 Tornado Destroys Family Farm, Farmers Alliance is Right There to Help

On May 25, 2016, a category F-4 tornado swept across central Kansas. Multiple homes were damaged – even railroad tracks were destroyed that night. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

The tornado, described as a half-mile-wide wedge, just barely skirted south of Chapman, a town of about 1,400, but struck several farmhouses in Dickinson County. One of those farmsteads belonged to a Farmers Alliance customer. It was a total loss.

Rich Cunningham (Senior Field Adjuster) adjusting the loss at the farmstead near Chapman.

Prior to the storm, the farm, situated on 500 acres, included a lovely 1944 square-foot home, 6 barns, 3 machine sheds, 3 other buildings, and 2 center pivots. After the storm, as you can see from the photo, none of the buildings were left standing, and the equipment was heavily damaged, or missing.

For Ken and Deb Wood, the place they had called home since 1993 was gone — all the machinery except one tractor, all the farm trucks and a semi truck, and all their personal vehicles except the pickup Mr. Wood was driving at the time of the storm.

Where to start?

With a total loss like this, one might expect it would take a long time to get the claim settled, let alone rebuild. There are several steps in the process, but it all begins with the initial review of the property by the claims adjuster. And while the entire rebuilding process would take many months, that initial review – and making payment to the customer – was completed in just a matter of days (see infographic).



While each loss has its own timeline, in this case, and even with a loss of this magnitude, the review was completed and payments were provided to our customer in just 7 days. Those payments allowed them to begin rebuilding their lives – finding new temporary housing, replacing items lost in the storm, and making plans for construction of their new home.

Finding a Place to Stay

The family needed an immediate place to stay during the rebuilding. A member of the Chapman community heard that the couple lost their house and they had a two story farm house that belonged to a deceased family member.  The house was fully furnished including towels in the closet, dishes in the cabinet, beds that were made and ready to sleep in.  All the family had to do was put food in the refrigerator and cabinets – and, some friends and family already did that for them. They walked through the door and continued to live there as if it was their home.

The Rebuilding Process

Over the past year, the “new” farmstead has been built from the ground up. It would take several months to clean up the debris and other remains from the vicious storm. New construction began in October, starting with pouring the basement.


October 11, 2016, shortly after the foundation was poured and set.

Framing of the house began shortly after the basement and foundation were poured. (Photo taken October 28, 2016)

To replace several small buildings and sheds, a large Morton machine shed was being put up in no time. (Photo taken October 28, 2016)

The exterior of the house is framed and sided, as well as the Morton building. All that is left is the interior to do. (Photos taken February 28, 2017)

Moving In

The Wood family was able to move into their new home during the first week of May 2017.

Ken explained, “We were in shock the first month or two and look back and understand why it was so important for Rich to be there to help us get all the pieces put together and how it is a process of making sure things are done right and step by step. We have told many people that our insurance company is Farmers Alliance when asked, because others are still in the middle of working through the process while we are done and in a new house.  The others are looking into Farmers Alliance because of how well our claim was processed. Everything was rebuilt in less than a year.”

The Woods’ Farmers Alliance agent, Morris Edwards, owner of the Edwards Agency in Chapman, KS, had this to say about the claims department. “I was very pleased with the response from Rich Cunningham, and all of the claims department. Not only were they quickly on site, they kept in contact with the family until the entire claim was settled. This is how we would all want to be treated at time of loss.”

Welcome home, Wood family!

Why choose Farmers Alliance?

At Farmers Alliance, we’ve provided excellent claims service for more than 125 years, and we are committed to continuing that legacy. We take our responsibility very seriously, and stand ready to help when you need us.

If you’re already a Farmers Alliance customer, thank you! We look forward to serving you if the need arises. If you’re not a Farmers Alliance customer yet, contact a Farmers Alliance agent near you!