Sandy Claims Figure Update From State Farm, Nationwide

November 6, 2012

Sandy-related claims are coming in at a fast pace, major insurers say. State Farm Insurance said it received approximately 90,000 Sandy-related claims (76,100 property claims and 13,900 auto claims) as of end of day Nov. 5.

Looking at individual states and jurisdictions for property claims, State Farm received as of Nov. 5: 27,400 claims in New York, 21,000 in New Jersey, 11,800 in Pennsylvania, 6,000 in Maryland, 4,360 in Ohio, 2,540 in Virginia, 1,420 in Connecticut, 660 in Delaware, 360 in the District of Columbia, and 380 in West Virginia.

For auto claims, State Farm received as of Nov. 5: 7,870 claims in New York, 3,290 in New Jersey, 1,400 in Pennsylvania, 680 in Maryland, 400 in Virginia, 160 in Connecticut, and 130 in Delaware.

State Farm spokesperson Amy Preddy said the company’s catastrophe team — the industry’s largest mobile workforce of experienced claim representatives — is actively helping customers recover. The insurer said State Farm customers should call their agent to report claims once it is safe to do so. Customers can also report claim using the toll-free number 1-800-SFCLAIM (800-732-5246) as well as on StateFarm.com website. Auto claims can also be filed with the insurer’s mobile app for smartphones.

State Farm is advising consumers to make sure to choose a reputable contractor when repairing a damaged home. The company recommends that consumers get multiple quotes from local established businesses and look into professional affiliations and Better Business Bureau reports, and follow up on references from previous clients. Consumers should also check for up-to-date licenses, verify insurance protection, and insist on written estimates and a written contract that includes contact information, important dates and a breakdown of costs.

The company also said consumers should beware of warning signs of a scam. Scammers often offer unsolicited services for such projects as driveway sealing, chimney rebuilds and roof repair — projects that are commonly “pitched” to homeowners.

Fraudsters may also quote a reduced price on the work because of “materials left over from a job down the street” or by suggesting they would work on the customer’s home as a “demonstration.” Scammers may also appear to be from out of town or working out of an unbranded pickup truck. They may also demand immediate payment in cash, and provide no written contract or references/proof of insurance.

Meanwhile, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. said it has more than 25,000 claims so far. Many of those claims are from New York (7,207 claims) and Pennsylvania (7,415 claims).

“Our mission remains the same — we’re here to help our members when they need us most. We’re addressing our hardest-hit policyholders first,” spokesperson Elizabeth Stelzer said. “Those homes with a tree through a wall, an exposed roof, or other claims in which the home has become uninhabitable are the priority. Claims associates are also focusing efforts in those communities with the greatest concentration of property damage.”

Nationwide is encouraging all homeowners to make temporary repairs, safely, to prevent further interior damage or loss. Holes in roofs and broken windows should be covered with plastic or plywood and the property should be secured to prevent theft or vandalism.

An itemized list of the home’s damaged or destroyed contents can assist policyholders in addressing their claim, based on their policy limits and other coverage factors.

“Our claims force will work seven days a week and our agents can assist in the claims reporting process,” spokesperson Elizabeth Stelzer said. “In addition to our claims response, we have set up several humanitarian stations across the east coast. Nationwide representatives are distributing water and other emergency supplies as well as antibacterial wipes, personal hygiene items and other goods. The aid stations are open to anyone in need.”

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