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Insurance claims mount in hurricane's aftermath

By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
Insurance companies are always busy but never so busy as after a major disaster. Ivan has hit the area and left a lot of destruction in its wake.
Since the wind died down, insurance offices have been working almost nonstop to help their customers fill out claims to get their homes and automobiles repaired. The procedures are very similar with each company and a little organization will help the process along.
According to Karen Shell of Alfa Insurance, they had taken around 1,000 claims by Monday afternoon and still had many more to go. They don't know now what the monetary value of those claims will amount to, but they encourage anyone who hasn't to file now. An agent will take the information and assign an Alfa adjuster to estimate the damage. A bank draft will either come to the customer or their mortgage company. In order to make a claim, they ask that you gather all the information you can, such as policy number, name of the insured, date of loss, contact information and the severity of loss. Make temporary repairs, call for repair estimates, file report if anything stolen and be ready with photographs or proof of purchase. Keep receipts if it is necessary to stay away from the home and do not dispose of anything before an adjuster sees it. For more information call 1-888-964-2532.
Elton Crosby with Brewton Insurance and Real Estate said they had filed approximately 400 claims amounting to around $2 million by Monday with claim requirements similar to Alfa's.
State Farm Insurance in Birmingham issued a release stating they had received 17,559 homeowners claims and 1,508 auto claims in Alabama as of 12 a.m. Tuesday relating to Hurricane Ivan. They expect the numbers to rise. As of Monday they had 300 claims adjusters joining more than 2,600 staff, employees and agents of State Farm to assist in storm related claims. For those who need to report a claim, they should contact their local agent at 867-4518 or 867-5212 or call 1-800-732-5246.
Escambia County Insurance reports that around 700 claims had been filed in this area. They have no idea of the monetary value of those claims yet because of the shortage of people to survey the damage.
Other insurance agents in the area could not be reached for comments.