Insurance Commissioner Poolman Offers Claims Advice in Wake of Storm
Posted on 6/11/2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jim Poolman
June 11, 2001
Bismarck, ND - Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman Monday advised consumers to stay calm and follow a few thoughtful steps in making their insurance claims for property damages incurred in Saturday night's hail storms.
"Although we have no firm estimates on the extent of the damages yet, it's clear from initial reports that many homes, cars and other property were hit hard," Poolman said. "Following a few simple steps can make the claims process run more smoothly and efficiently."
1. Make necessary emergency repairs to prevent any further damages. Covering a broken window on homes or cars, for example, can prevent damage to carpets, curtains and upholstery. Remember to keep receipts and records of any repair you make to prevent further damage.
2. Determine if the damage is severe and requires immediate repair, or if the repair can wait until after your company assesses the damage. If the damage requires immediate repair, advise your agent as soon as possible, so that your claim can be processed on a priority basis. Your auto insurance company, for example, may want to inspect your vehicle prior to replacing any broken glass to determine if the total extent of damage exceeds the value of the vehicle.
3. Contact your insurance agent. Your agent will notify your company of your claim and provide you with information on how your company will proceed with it.
4. Due to the extensive damages, many of the insurance companies will be setting up emergency claims service centers in the area by midweek. Your insurance agent can provide you with the details. Companies generally announce their locations in media, as well.
5. Inventory all property damage for your insurance company's adjuster, the person the company will likely send to assess your damages. Be sure to identify and save all personal property that was damaged in the storm for the adjuster to look at.
6. Work with your agent and company to resolve any problems you may have with your claim. If you cannot resolve the problem, contact the Insurance Department at 701.328.2440, or toll free at 1.800.247.0560 for assistance.
7. Above all, be patient. A severe storm causing extensive damage and involving thousands of claims will take time to process. Working cooperatively with your agent and company can make processing your claim more efficient.
The storms, which struck late Saturday afternoon, may have done damage in varying degrees from Center to Ashley, according to Larry Maslowski, director and senior analyst with the department's Property and Casualty Division.
"Following these steps can greatly increase the efficiency of the claims process," Poolman said.