American Family Dispatches Catastrophe Team to Assist Kansas Tornado Victims

Madison, Wis. (June 12, 2008)—A catastrophe team from American Family Insurance is responding to Chapman, Manhattan and other east-central Kansas communities following Wednesday’s deadly tornado and wind storm.

The company is already receiving claims from customers who sustained damage from the tornadoes and strong winds. Customers in the area have also reported hail damage to homes and autos. Adjusters are in Chapman awaiting access from law enforcement to begin assessing damage.

American Family customers who have claims should immediately contact their agent or the company’s 24-hour Customer Care Center 1-800-MY-AMFAM (692-6326) to arrange an inspection of their damaged property or vehicle.

“Our first thoughts go to the people who lost their lives in this storm,” says American Family spokesman Ken Muth. “Our agents and adjusters are already at work doing what they can to help our customers recover and rebuild from this tragedy.”

American Family already had a catastrophe team in the area to respond to hail damage in the Manhattan, Junction City, Concordia and Salina areas, and team members were on the scene in Chapman Thursday morning. Prior to Wednesday’s storms, American Family received more than 2,500 storm claims from hail damage in the area, paying $2.8 million to customers so far.

Approximately 40 adjusters and other staff have been called in to assist with the claim response, in addition to the company’s satellite-equipped catastrophe trailer. The trailer is based outside the Clarion Hotel, 530 Richards Dr., in Manhattan. 

The catastrophe trailer uses satellite technology and a gas-powered generator to link claims personnel at the storm site to the company’s headquarters in Madison, Wis. Fully-equipped with computer work stations, phone lines, and a fax, the trailer allows storm adjusters to efficiently and quickly settle claims, often writing checks on the spot to policyholders.

Questions and answers for American Family customers:

How do I report my claim? To report a claim, please contact our 24-hour Claim Customer Care Center at 1-800-MY-AMFAM (692-6326) or your American Family agent.
What damages to my property might be covered? Your homeowners insurance policy covers tornado and wind damage to your home and personal property. The “comprehensive” section of your auto insurance policy provides coverage for tornado and wind damage to your vehicle.

Civil authorities have ordered me to evacuate my home. Does my policy pay for food and lodging during this time? Your homeowners insurance policy pays for additional living expenses for up to two weeks if you are denied access to your home by the civil authorities. This includes reasonable motel and food expenses. Keep copies of the receipts for your adjuster.

Can I get an emergency advance payment? Yes. If you have a covered loss and need emergency funds, we can provide you an advance payment. This advance payment will be applied to your final claim settlement.

Can I start to make repairs to prevent further damage? You should protect your property immediately against further damage and theft. Use plywood, tarps or other materials to cover broken windows and damaged rooftops. Keep the receipts of any materials/services that you purchase to make these repairs so your adjuster can review them and reimburse you for expenses covered by your policy.

Is there anything I can do to help with the claim process? Begin to compile a list of personal property and belongings you believe were damaged or destroyed by the storm. Briefly describe each item, including its age, current value, make, model and serial number.

When can I remove debris from my property?  Document your storm-damaged belongings with photographs, video and/or a written list before disposing of debris. If this is not possible, please wait to remove the debris until an adjuster can help you with the documentation.

Who do I call to make repairs? You are free to select any contractor or repair shop you wish. It is usually best to select one who has operated in the area for several years, is insured and bonded, and will give you a written guarantee for the work performed.