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Backlog of work means insurance claims will take time

Alberta has seen some crazy weather this summer and Lacombe is no exception.

Alberta has seen some crazy weather this summer and Lacombe is no exception.

After the severe storms that hit Lacombe and elsewhere in Central Alberta this summer, particularly the violent storm on the night of July 20, local insurance companies are seeing hefty amounts of claims for damage to homes and other property from Lacombe and the surrounding area.

“Our office alone got probably 180 claims from the storm on July 20,” said Dawn Gordon, insurance broker for Sims & Associates in Lacombe. Darren King, also a broker with Sims, added that those claims were within the first two days after the storm.

As such, it is taking longer than usual for insurance claims to go through and it may take some time for everyone to be reimbursed, said Gordon.

“People are just going to have to be patient,” said Gordon.

Not only is Central Alberta facing a rash of claims because of hail and other weather-related damage, communities affected by the flooding in southern Alberta are also making claims for related damages.

While these claims don’t really affect Lacombe brokers or insurance agencies, they do affect the insurance companies they deal with that actually provide the coverage. The result is a massive backlog of claims.

“There are only so many adjusters in the province, a limited amount,” said King. He added that some companies are contracting adjusters from outside Alberta to deal with claims. Even so, with so many adjusters tied up dealing with flood-related claims to the south, it may take some day for claims being made in Lacombe to be dealt with, said King.

Not only that, even after adjusters have an opportunity to examine damages and appraisals have been made, there is still the actual repair work to be done. Many of the contractors insurance companies deal with are facing the same problem and are also facing a backlog of work.

As for how long it might take to have repairs and reimbursements made once a claim goes through, Leanne Simpson, another broker with Sims, said it entirely depends on what company the individual is covered by. Some are spread thin with so many claims and taking a long time to process them while others are taking nearly no time at all.

For anyone who has experienced damage of any kind because of the recent storms, the first thing to do is get a hold of their insurance company or broker, said Gordon.

Once that is done, do whatever you can to mitigate the damage and prevent further damage, she added.

This might mean boarding up broken windows, taping up damaged siding on a house, or tarring damaged shingles. In the event that some kind of repair needs to be made, be sure to photograph the damage first so that adjusters still have some kind of record of the damage, said King.

It is also important to keep all receipts for any purchases necessary to make emergency repairs, he added.

When examining your property for damage, be sure to do a thorough walk-around, said King. It is important to look carefully for damages, as some damage may not be visible from all angles or sides of the building.

King added it is a good idea to take notes (and again, photographs) of the damaged areas.

Because some people have difficulty letting strangers on their property, King said it is important to remember that adjusters need to view the damage to put a claim through. If adjusters can’t view the damage, they can’t make a judgment on it.

It is also a good idea to get the names of all individuals dealt with throughout the claim process, said Simpson. Because the adjuster who deals with the initial claim may not be the same person who comes to view damage.

Keeping notes on who did what makes it easier for everyone involved to keep track of a claim.