ICT ‘projecting hundreds of thousands of claims’ after winter weather
AUSTIN, Texas - The Insurance Council of Texas, or ICT, is "projecting hundreds of thousands of claims," after winter weather swept the state resulting in broken pipes, water damage, and car crashes.
"We’re looking at a statewide event which is, again, we’ve all heard this word, unprecedented, but it’s one of those events where resources are being taxed," said Camille Garcia of ICT.
Garcia says most claims are connected to frozen and burst water pipes. Last week, insurance agency State Farm saw 37,000 claims. Spokesperson Chris Pilcic says most of those are related to broken pipes. "So to put this into some perspective...last year in the state for the entire year we had 75 of those claims," he explained.
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If you have experienced storm damage, Garcia and Pilcic say the first thing you should do is make emergency repairs, or hire someone reputable to do so. "You’ll want to take videos, photos, you’ll want to make a list of 03:50 all the structure and the personal property damage that you see," said Pilcic.
If you have insurance you should immediately contact your agent. "Everybody's situation is going to be unique and a little bit different," he said.
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To help address the influx of claims, insurance company Allstate set up mobile claim centers in:
- Austin: Home Depot, 3600 Interstate Hwy 35 S, Austin
- San Antonio: Home Depot, 8135 Agora Pkwy, Selma
- Houston: Home Depot, 10707 North Fwy, Houston; Home Depot, 18251 Gulf Freeway, Webster
- Dallas / Fort Worth: Home Depot, 2220 N Coit Rd, Richardson; Home Depot, 7100 North Freeway, Fort Worth
"Even folks who are not customers of Allstate, if they’re there and they see our [mobile claims center] we’re there to help the community," said Allstate’s Carla Signoret.
The president has approved a federal disaster declaration. Here in Central Texas, that means residents of Caldwell, Bastrop, Hays, Blanco, and Gillespie counties can apply for federal disaster assistance. Burnet, Llano, and Mason counties were not included in the disaster declaration.
You can apply for disaster assistance online, by calling 800-621-3362 or 800-621-FEMA, or by using the FEMA mobile app.
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The aid is available to those without insurance. Those with insurance can obtain federal aid only after filing with their insurance provider. "Because we can’t duplicate insurance, so you need to know what insurance proceeds you’re going to get before we can proceed with the application process," said Kurt Pickering with FEMA.
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Pickering says the aid is "not set up to be insurance" explaining "...we’re not going to repair every bit of damage to your house. We’re going to make those repairs necessary to make the house livable. A fully functional, sanitary, secure dwelling --- and if that can’t be done, that’s when we would put somebody in emergency housing for some period of time while their home is repaired."
Garcia says business owners can also contact the Small Business Administration at SBA.gov for help with things like low-interest loans and grants.