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Wednesday, 20 June 2012 21:24

Texas Hail Storms Cause High Insured Losses

It does not make drivers in Texas happy when they just get their car back from an auto body shop after getting repairs from the latest hail storm, only to have it damaged again as more baseball-size pieces of ice fall from the sky.

Such is the case for some unlucky drivers in the Dallas area as two storm systems pummeled several cities in the area with hail ranging in size from a golf ball to a baseball.

“We’ve had enough,” says Mark Hanna, spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT). “Here we go with another high-loss event.”

In April more than a dozen tornadoes ripped through the Dallas-Fort Worth area. ICT says insured losses from the tornadoes are estimated at $400 million.

But the hail and wind storms on June 13 could produce higher insured losses. State Farm says it has already received 3,800 auto claims and expects that number to increase.

“You’re talking about two systems with large hail hitting heavily-populated areas,” Hanna says. “Everything got hit. The price of roofs hasn’t gotten any cheaper and neither have car repairs.”

State Farm agent Stephanie South of Richardson, Texas says the morning after the hail storm was the busiest she has ever had.

“When I got in, every line was ringing,” she says. Most claims are for heavily-damaged vehicles with shattered windows. Other policyholders are calling to seek advice about their home roofs. South says she is telling policyholders to mitigate future damages, especially for cars without windows, by putting the car in the garage or placing a tarp over the car.

Hail the size of baseballs traveling at a high rate of speed from the sky is enough to break windshields and compromise the roofs of homes, leaving them susceptible to leaks.

Vehicles traveling on the city’s highways when the hail started falling scrambled to find shelter under overpasses, which became crowded quickly, or on the sides of tractor-trailers, at least to shield some of the falling ice.

“Other than that, you pull over and take your lumps,” Hanna says.

Insurers have classified the June 13 storm as a catastrophe, meaning insurance adjusters from throughout the state are returning to Dallas to help with claims.

“If they were headed home from the last storm, they’re headed back now,” Hanna says.

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