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Most insurance claims started, virtually none finished after derecho

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Insurance update snip
Nicki Kramer looks at damaged siding on her home in East Cedar Rapids.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - Nicki Kramer of East Cedar Rapids was on the phone with her insurance agent a few hours after the derecho hit.

"She called me back the next day and said she had reached out to somebody and it was maybe five days before an adjuster got out here," Kramer said.

State Farm, who insures Kramer's house, has received over 41,000 claims from Iowans related to the derecho since Aug 10. So, five days was actually a very speedy response time.

This was made possible by calling in claims adjusters from out of state to survey damage.

"It was a team from I think Louisiana and they were here from 8:00 in the morning until 3:00," Kramer said.

State Farm separates customers into three categories after natural disasters like this, ranging from those whose homes are unlivable to those who need only minor repairs. Kramer's agent says some people are still waiting for a call back.

"I would say our process --their goal is to get through the rest of the third category by the end of the week," Lindsay Lange with State Farm said.

A big part of this is because local agents have been affected by the power outages just as much as their customers.

"One of our agents here in town just got their power and everything back in the last couple days," Lange said. "That really puts a crunch on what we're able to do."

Kramer's now being told she needs to move out for over a month as a contractor repairs roof damage, a crack in her home's foundation and damaged siding. She feels like the worst is over but there's more to come.

"Things are trying to get back to normal a little bit, until the demolition starts. That's going to be another process to get through," Kramer said.

State Farm encourages people to:

  • Take pictures and video of damaged homes and personal property like cars
  • Prevent further damage by making temporary repairs
  • Save receipts for things like tarps you put over a damaged roof
  • Start your claims process as soon as possible
  • Research contractors before paying them to work on your home

Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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