Insurance companies brace for storm

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 9, 2005

With the anticipated approach of Hurricane Dennis, insurance companies began fielding phone calls from anxious clients, some of whom are still reeling from damage claims caused by Hurricane Ivan.

"Once it's announced that a hurricane is in the Gulf of Mexico, insurance companies, in general, begin closing down," Dale May, State Farm Insurance agent, said.

"Baldwin and Mobile counties had to shut off their business earlier this week because of Dennis' approach.

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As of today (Friday), our office is shut down, also.

We are taking phone calls, answering questions and concerns, and receiving payments.

Even though we can still take claims today, we can't take money from someone for new insurance coverage. There has already been a mad rush of people who have called for insurance, but if they don't have it by now, it's too late."

"If the hurricane comes our way, and we receive damage similar to that which we received from Ivan, the public will still be able to call in their claims.

If we lose power, phone calls will be forwarded to our home office in Bloomington, Ill.

They will take the claims on the phone, and then dispatch those calls and messages to the appropriate agent," May said.

"The severity of the situation will dictate how things will be handled after the storm passes," May concluded.

State Farm customers may call 1-800-SFCLAIM or 1-800-732-5246 with any claims, questions or concerns they may have.

Cotton States' customers may call 1-800-457-1658 with any questions.

Progressive Insurance customers may call 1-800-888-7764.

All insurance customers are reminded to check the back of their insurance identification cards for claim and policy numbers and 24-hour service numbers.