Claims of hail damage rain down on Columbia insurers

Monday, September 10, 2012 | 6:46 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Local insurance companies are bracing for an onslaught of claims after the hailstorm that parts of Columbia and Boone County endured Friday.

Allstate agent Lynn Wobig said Boone County, particularly western Columbia and the Interstate 70 corridor, was among the hardest-hit areas of the state. The hailstorm moved through the area late Friday afternoon.

"We had anywhere from golf-ball to tennis-ball-size hail," Wobig said.

Allstate had more than 100 claims by Monday morning, and they were continuing to come in at a steady pace. Wobig said the claims started Friday afternoon around 4:45 p.m. and continued into the weekend. Some customers contacted Wobig on her Facebook page to report claims. 

Jim Camoriano of State Farm Insurance said the company doesn't provide projections of damage claims because they change so often. He said early Monday that there had been only a trickle of claims so far, but he was expecting many more.

Camoriano attributed the delay in reporting claims to the timing of the hailstorm and the Missouri football game on Saturday. 

Camoriano expected many customers to notify State Farm of damage to houses, but the company also is prepared for a large number of claims for vehicle damage. State Farm plans to set up a drive-thru lot that will allow clients to get quick damage assessments and, most likely, to get a check for the damage on the spot. 

State Farm expects to host the drive-thru assessments later this week, once its representatives are more certain how many vehicle claims they will have.

Shelter Insurance had around 500 claims Monday. Agent Steve Andersen said the company had a few claims come in over the weekend, but the real work began Monday morning. Anderson said Shelter expects more claims throughout the week.

Anderson said areas around the Columbia Mall were hit particularly hard, especially cars in the parking lots of the mall, Applebee's and Toys R Us.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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