Hurricane Sandy: Insurers Stay Busy as Athena Adds to Mix
For the most part, insurers say an approaching nor’easter on Wednesday will not hamper efforts to address claims from Superstorm Sandy—at least so long as conditions remain safe.
“The new storm will not affect our current operation,” says State Farm spokeswoman Arlene Lester. “Our adjusters will remain in the field as long as it is safe to do so.”
Storm warnings are active for parts of New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia. Winter Storm Athena—the first winter storm to get a name under The Weather Channel’s new naming system—could drop 3-to-5 inches of snow in these areas. Accumulations of slush are expected elsewhere, in places such as Baltimore.
According to weather forecasters, rain and high winds will batter Southern New Jersey and Eastern Long Island, N.Y.—two areas hard-hit by Sandy. Winds could gust above 50 mph and some flooding from storm surge is possible, especially during high tide.
The wind, rain and snow could cause tens of thousands of power outages as many residents have either just had power restored, or are still without power, from Sandy.
However, Lester adds, State Farm’s mobile units are “safe and secured to withstand the elements,” and they remain open to take claims. The top writer of homeowners and auto insurance in the affected areas has received more than 80,000 homeowners’ insurance claims and nearly 14,600 auto claims.
Nationwide spokeswoman Elizabeth Stelzer says there is no change in plans at this time.
“We continue to attack Sandy and will do so unless the weather inhibits us dramatically,” she says. The insurer has received more than 29,500 claims related to Sandy.
USAA is advising anyone in the path of the Athena to seek shelter t and file claims by calling, going online or using the insurer’s mobile app.
“Life safety is number one,” says spokeswoman Rebecca Hirsch. “We don't want our employees or members putting their lives at risk.”
Liberty Mutual spokesman Glenn Greenberg says, “We don’t anticipate the storm will impact our ability to handle Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance claims. Our mobile claims units are operating today, and all scheduled customer appointments will be maintained as long as weather permits.”
If weather becomes too severe, appointments will be rescheduled, he adds.
Insurers encouraged homeowners to make temporary repair to homes following Sandy, which could keep additional insured losses from Athena down. Homeowners have likely made, or have started to make, inventory lists and taken pictures of Sandy damage, and carriers recommend the same for any additional damage caused by Athena.