Longview-based insurance companies said they have responded quickly to claims for damage from the storm two weeks ago and have arranged for contractors to do repair work.
The claims also have slowed down since a storm May 8 dumped nearly 3 inches of rain and brought straight-line winds that blew trees onto roofs and cars and triggered power failures, representatives said.
They said they do not have a total dollar amount for claims but might have a better picture later on.
“I bet you within two or three weeks we will have a good idea of those figures” of overall claims and dollar amounts, said Mike Tubb, a partner with Gans & Smith Insurance Agency.
Tubb said Gans & Smith received “well over” 100 claims, with the majority coming from homeowners.
“A majority of them are just due to the amount of trees” that blew over and fell on homes and cars, Tubb said. “In numerous situations, there were trees knocked over on people’s properties but no damage to structures.”
Both Tubb and Tammy Tabor, regional manager for property and casualty for the Copeland Insurance Group, said claims have slowed down.
Responding to submitted questions, Tabor said Copeland represents 300 carriers, adding they “have done a great job with our clients, and our customers have noticed the quality of service.”
She said Copeland clients contacted the carriers immediately. Because the carriers were handling those claims, she said was unable to provide the number of claims.
Tubb said Gans & Smith expedited claims.
“We basically contacted our primary personal property casualty carriers and notified them that we had a significant weather event occur,” he said.
Tubb said contractors hired to repair damage went to work within 48 hours by removing and replacing roofs damaged by trees.
“Some of the jobs are minor,” he said.
However, he said roofing companies are backlogged to three to four weeks.
Gans & Smith, Copeland and other insurance companies also have processed claims for damage to businesses.
The storm caused downed power lines with more than 36,000 residential and commercial customers of AEP-Southwestern Electric Power Co. in Longview losing service. SWEPCO did not restore most power until May 13. At least six of its customers in Longview still were without power Wednesday afternoon, the utility reported.
“We have seen a couple of losses, on local businesses due to wind and power outage,” Tabor said in the email. However, she said Copeland received no claims for food spoilage from customers such as convenience stores and restaurants, apparently because they have generators.
Tubb said Gans & Smith did not receive any major claims for food spoilage, saying one restaurant submitted a claim because its owner bought a generator on the day of the storm. He said food spoilage is covered, depending on the policy.
“The generators (at the restaurant) were there to run the freezers,” Tubb said. However, he said a lot of the electrical equipment was not working after SWEPCO restored power, possibly because of a lightning strike.
State Farm, one of the major insurance companies doing business in Texas, was unable to provide a breakdown of the number of claims from the Longview area, spokeswoman Gina Wilken said. However, she said its agents received 3,000 claims for auto and 2,800 claims for home damage from storms statewide May 8 and 9.
The Texas Department of Insurance and Texas Council of Insurance also are warning area homeowners that unscrupulous contractors might be arriving from out of town. They recommend hiring local contractors to do the work.
“The problem is you do not know these (outside) people,” Mark Hanna of the council said. “You do not know the quality of their work. You do not know the quality of their material. If they do a bad job, you will not find them tomorrow.”