Insurance company officials say they don't expect the phones to stop ringing for several days as hundreds, if not thousands, of northern Utah residents continue filing claims for the damage caused by Wednesday's 100 mph-plus windstorm.
In Ogden, at least one major home insurer has summoned disaster teams to help manage the flood of claims, and many insurance agents throughout northern Utah are working overtime to keep up.Dan Larsen, a spokesman for State Farm Insurance, said he doesn't have a total number on claims called in, but 600 were registered with his office Thursday and Friday. "I don't know for sure, but I think there could be 3,000 to 4,000 out there, just for us."
The company has set up a disaster center in the Ogden Hilton, with phone banks and computers to take care of incoming claims. Larsen said the company brought in 10 additional claims adjusters, and may call in more if they are needed. "We won't know if we need to increase the number until we start estimating."
He said Logan and North Ogden were both hit hard, and that damage claims are also coming from Bountiful and a few from Salt Lake. Most claims involve roofs, fences and windows, he said.
Larsen said the company is anxious to have people file their claims quickly and is running spots on two localradio stations asking those with claims to call in.
"That might sound funny, for an insurance company to be asking people to file claims, but we want to encourage it so we can take a look at them while we've got the manpower to do so. Particularly in the wintertime, while we're trying to inspect damage, we'd like to do it as quickly as possible."
A similar storm in 1983 also resulted in thousands of claims to northern Utah insurers. Larsen said he was involved in the company's claim process then, and that "it's hard to tell how it compares, but I think this is about the same magnitude."
Cache Valley residents also continued to tally their losses on Saturday. LaGene Halverson, an agent with Farmers Insurance, said her office alone has received more than 100 calls from people whose roofs, windows and fences were damaged by the storm.
"There's an extreme amount of glass damage, and we've had some vehicle-damage claims due to flying objects - parts of roofs or campers" that shattered windows.
Halverson said the office has received claims from Hyrum on the south, northward to the Utah-Idaho border. "Most of the damage seems to be in areas closer to the foothills and mountains. There was also a lot of damage along the main highway that goes through the valley." She said many businesses had broken plate glass windows, and some had large signs that were damaged.
Lila Thompson, a secretary for one State Farm agent in Logan, said that agency has also received more than 100 claims so far. "It's been mostly homes. We have one business that was damaged quite extensively, but the biggest number of losses I'm seeing are a lot of roofs and metal sheds." She said several company claims adjusters met Friday to decide how to deal with the situation.