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Wednesday, 24 April 2013 20:00

Mississippi Hail Damage at $25 Million in Early April and Expected to Rise Dramatically

Property damage from the March 18 hailstorm that pelted central Mississippi topped $25 million in early April and was expected to rise drastically as more residents filed insurance claims, the Clarion Ledger reported.

The Mississippi Department of Insurance on April 2 reported claims filed by nearly 10,000 homeowners and more than 31,000 auto owners in the wake of the massive storm. Together, they total more than $25 million, an amount that’s already been paid by the state’s major insurance carriers.

 

It was estimated that the figure would jump by 50% when insurance companies submitted mandatory updates, said Commissioner Mike Chaney. It’s set to go even higher over the coming months as the final tallies trickle in.

“I’m surprised it’s not already higher,” said Andy Case, Mississippi Insurance Commission consumer services director. “That number is probably nowhere near where it will be.”

Case attributed the costly damages to the storm’s large hail size combined with its path through a heavily populated area during a work day.

Among those who already filed a claim is 29-year-old Brandon resident Thomas Adams. He was working in downtown Jackson when the sky unleashed golf-ball-sized hail on his 2012 Toyota Camry parked outside.

“I had just made my third payment on it,” Adams said. “All I could do was sit up here and put my head in my hands.”

Adams took his car to the Mississippi Farm Bureau office, where a claims adjuster estimated roughly $4,000 in damages payable to a local body shop scheduled to work on the vehicle by the end of the week.

It could take up to 14 days to repair, Adams said.

Also navigating the aftermath is Jonathon Tumblin of Smith County, whose 2008 Dodge Ram suffered up to $10,000 in damage while sitting in the Baptist Medical Center parking lot. Unlike Adams, though, Tumblin said he’s still waiting for a claims adjuster to confirm his estimate.

“It’s frustrating as can be,” he said. “It’s just slow because it’s so backed up.”

Tumblin said he uses Geico insurance.

Insurance companies have been inundated with calls since the hailstorm, with some receiving as many as 50 inquiries per hour. Although the number of those calls since has decreased, the process lingers as adjusters face a backlog of claims.

Despite this, Chaney said, the commission has received few complaints and that he’s “pleased with the way the companies are responding to consumers and processing claims.”

The commission recommended the following actions while awaiting inspections:

• Cover any broken windows in your car to prevent damage to the interior from rain and remove glass from the car’s interior to prevent cuts and damage to upholstery and carpeting.
• Save receipts for what you spend and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.

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