In 1891 there was a single car in the entire state of Ohio. It wrecked. Today—despite millions of autos on our roads—crashes, collisions, fender-benders and rear-enders may soon become a thing of the past.
On-board computers, global positioning satellites and other George Jetson thingamajigs are poised to synch so that cars won’t, even can’t, run into each other, or into anything. For my grandkids who will eventually reach driving age, that’s pretty terrific. For Ohio Farm Bureau and our great partner Nationwide, it’s a game-changer.
Nationwide was born in 1926 as the Ohio Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company with the sole purpose of providing affordably priced car insurance. To this day, affordable insurance is a big reason why many of you are Farm Bureau members. But if someday cars stop bumping into stuff, how much insurance are you going to need? And if you don’t need as much insurance, will you still need Farm Bureau and Nationwide?
Frankly, if the only thing you get from our two organizations is a price break, we don’t deserve your loyalty. But with just a bit more thought, I believe you’ll see a value that’s far greater than some cost savings: Security.
Life comes with risks. Some we can manage by ourselves. Others we can’t. That’s the true value of your relationship with Farm Bureau and Nationwide—security in the face of risks too big and diverse to handle alone.
Farm Bureau’s speciality is mitigating the risk posed when government does either too much or too little. Nationwide’s expertise is in protecting property, finances and family. Whether the risk comes from Uncle Sam or Mother Nature, the principle is the same—we all benefit by working cooperatively to safeguard our families, farms, businesses and communities.
This idea of organizing to secure our futures is why we exist. Today, as it was 90-plus years ago, Farm Bureau answers to our members. As a mutual company, Nationwide is responsible to policyholders, not shareholders. Your dues and premiums don’t profit investors; they sustain the organizations you own, and your communities.
I regularly brag in this column about things Farm Bureau members accomplish in their neighborhoods: Dialogues about food, youth and leader development, care for animals, attention to the environment and so much more. What I don’t talk about often enough is how our friends at Nationwide are equally committed to bettering the lives of their neighbors.
Nationwide’s philanthropic contributions have exceeded $310 million while supporting more than 3,000 community organizations. Additionally, Nationwide employees, agents and retirees have donated 20 million meals to hungry families, 16,000 units of blood to the American Red Cross, $97 million to United Way and 115,000 hours of volunteer service, all while serving you by paying nearly $14 billion in claims and benefits and increasing policyholder equity to more than $19 billion last year. What I see in Nationwide is a Fortune 100 company with the values we appreciate in small town America: honesty, generosity, hard work and dependability.
Now, a bit more about that wreck I mentioned. The car collided, ironically, with a hitching post, illustrating how the past can get in the way of the future. As Ohio Farm Bureau and Nationwide move forward, we won’t let that happen. As your expectations evolve with shifts in technology, economics and lifestyle, we’ll keep up. The products, services and membership incentives we deliver may change, but the commitment behind them won’t. We’ll protect what’s important to you. We’ll work together to get that done. And we’ll keep the promises we’ve made.
John C. (Jack) Fisher, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president