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Poolman: Hail-storm Damages Will Exceed $220 Million
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jim Poolman
June 19, 2001 701-328-2440


Bismarck, ND - Projected total damages to consumer property from the hailstorm that struck the south central part of the state June 9 will exceed $220 million, Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman said Tuesday. 

As of Monday, consumers had filed more than 31,000 claims with the state's top 10 auto and homeowner insurance carriers, and the department expects claims to crest at over 60,000 by the time the process is completed, he said. About 70 companies write auto and homeowner premiums in North Dakota.

"Now that the claims are starting to roll in, we're beginning to see the larger picture, and the picture shows a pretty battered community," Poolman said.

The 10 carriers, on whose projections the numbers are based, account for about 61 percent of the insurance market share in North Dakota. They furnished the information at the commissioner's request Monday to help him gain an accurate measure of the extent and severity of the damages incurred by consumers in the storm.

"We wanted to make sure that these companies knew that the Insurance Department was going to be a player in making sure that our consumers are properly taken care of during this disaster," Poolman said. He asked companies to speed up claims for those that are most severely damaged.

Some companies cited inclement weather, both locally and nationwide, as their chief obstacle in processing claims. A week of rain in south central Dakota has prevented adjusters from doing assessments on homes, and severe weather events around the country have created a demand for adjusters in places like Texas, Louisiana and Minnesota, which was struck by wind and tornadoes within days of the hail storm.

A second potential delay they cited was a limited number of both building and auto finishing contractors to make repairs.

Most companies are estimating it will take about a month to resolve claims, although some are predicting it will take two to three months to assess homeowner damages. The commissioner requested that companies prioritize claims, attending to the most severely affected first. Poolman urged consumers to work with their insurers if they encounter delays.

"Because of the uncooperative weather, disasters in other areas and a limited number of adjusters, patience is going to be a virtue," Poolman said.

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North Dakota Insurance Department
600 E. Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, ND 58505-0320
Phone 701.328.2440
Toll free 800.247.0560
Fax 701.328.4880

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