Hundreds of insurance claims filed after hail storm

Hail damage claims have come in fast and furious since Tuesday’s storm in Central Alberta.

Hail damage claims have come in fast and furious since Tuesday’s storm in Central Alberta.

Darren King, insurance broker with Sims and Associates Insurance Services in Lacombe, said his office has been busy with more than 500 claims since the storm.

He said one of his clients had damage to two vehicles, his home and travel trailer.

“Everything he owned is now damaged. Everything that was parked outside,” said King on Friday.

He said some people were just finishing up repairs from a severe storm that hit Lacombe in July 2013.

“Two years ago it was big wind and hail. It was a nasty storm. But this one, the hail came down like rocks. It didn’t shatter on impact. It just kept going through whatever it hit.”

King happened to be at a local baseball field where his son was practising when hail struck on Tuesday evening.

“The first (hail stone) came down and landed beside a baseball. The baseball was bigger, but it would have been a toss-up.”

Everyone ran for the protection of the dugout.

“Ten seconds later, it just slammed,” King said.

Christine Swift, financial advisor with The Co-operators in Red Deer, said claims from people in Red Deer mostly involve their vehicles, but clients in Lacombe have filed claims involving vehicles and homes with some nasty damage.

The most extreme damage she heard of was to a modular home in Lacombe.

“The shingles from the roof were torn right off and then the water came in through the roof and it came in all the seams.”

The siding was peppered with holes.

She said the owner felt like she was in a tornado because the wind was so extreme.

Swift said The Co-operators sent out a storm team to help address claims.

“They have set up in Lacombe because that’s where the major event was. They set up there and started triaging.”

They dealt with most extreme damage first.

Celyeste Power, media relations manager with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said IBC will be alerted to how much damage the storm caused if claims total $25 million.

Earlier this month, IBC reported that hail and windstorms that swept across parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba on June 12 caused more than $45 million in insured damage.

In Medicine Hat and surrounding areas, that storm had winds gusting up to 116 km/h, with hail up to six cm in diameter.

Hail reached five cm in size in Lacombe and the north end of Red Deer on Tuesday, according to Environment Canada.

To prepare for storms, IBC recommends consumers proactively contact their insurance representatives for information about their policies and what types of coverage are best suited to their circumstances.

Damage to homes caused by hail or wind is usually covered under home insurance policies. Damage to vehicles caused by wind or hail is usually covered if people have purchased comprehensive or all-perils auto insurance.

To start a claim, people should assess and document potential damage when safe to do so; take photos; contact their insurance representative; keep detailed notes and be as detailed as possible when providing information; and be sure to keep all receipts related to cleanup.

For more information, call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1‑844‑227‑5422) or visit www.ibc.ca.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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