Insurance adjusters busy after derecho

Almost two weeks after a severe storm swept through the region, leaving more than 840,000 Marylanders and about 9,000 Frederick County residents temporarily without power, insurance companies are still dealing with the aftermath.

Claims ranging from cars damaged by hail to food spoiled by long- term loss of power have kept agents and claims adjusters busy since June 29, they say.

“It’s not worse than the winter snowstorm we had a couple of years ago, but certainly I would say it’s quite a bit higher than our normal claims volume,” said Tim Winter, a State Farm agent in Frederick.

Fortunately, according to Winter, the company’s operations center in the county already houses some employees who specialize in catastrophe claims.

“When you have a catastrophe like a hailstorm, a severe windstorm like we had, (insurance companies) sort of have these floating catastrophe teams,” said Brian Foltz, a Liberty Mutual agent in Frederick.

“It basically has to do with the volume of the claims,” Winter said.

Representatives of All State, State Farm, Geico and Liberty Mutual all said additional personnel were sent to the region to handle claims after the recent storms, though they did not say how many extra employees were sent.

“You’re probably looking at a 50 to 60 percent increase in claims, to say the least, and that’s probably conservative,” Foltz said.

More than 5,800 property insurance claims and 1,420 auto claims were filed between the time that the storms hit and Tuesday morning, said Anna Bryant, a State Farm spokeswoman.

“It’s been very busy,” Winter said Tuesday afternoon after a workday that included surveying the damage from a 40-foot poplar tree that fell on a house.

Mike Jensen, owner of Mike’s Auto Body in Thurmont, said his business has increased in the past week and a half, mostly because of tree damage to vehicles.

Gabby Simon, one of his customers, said a tree fell on her car while she was driving on Cap Stine Road during the storm.

She called State Farm that Saturday and did not have her car’s diagnosis from them until Thursday, she said.

The holiday was one reason for the delay, she guessed, but she was also told that an increase in claims was slowing things down.

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