Texas Tornado Claims Counts Rising
BY CHAD HEMENWAY
Insurers are finding out the recent disastrous weather in Texas took a heavy toll on vehicles.
auto damage—from tornadoes, but
more commonly from hail—is the cause
of rapid claims accumulation, insurers say.
state Farm has logged 8,610 auto claims,
of which 1,221 vehicles are immobile.
Most automobiles that cannot be driven
suffered damage from the tornadoes, says
spokesman Gary stephenson.
many auto claims. The insurer has received
about 3,800 total claims.
Jerry Davies, spokesman for Farmers
Insurance, says the storm system was a
“huge hail event.”
Farmers has received nearly 5,000
claims, of which 3,120 are auto claims. The
insurer sent its mobile-claims-center bus to
The bus is equipped with
communications equipment, laptops and
phones for customers and non-customers.
state Farm’s stephenson says he
has seen many storm sites—and
every one affects him.
“You go in knowing what you
are going to see; you’ve seen it
before,” he says. “But when you get
there, it’s always overwhelming.”
For many carriers, claims are
piling up fast as insureds push past
fallen tree limbs and sift through
the remains of what were once
“some are just able to get back
to try and recover some belongings,
to see what they can salvage,” says
alley, who followed a claims adjuster to
as of midnight april 5, state Farm had
received 3,082 homeowner’s claims—130 of
which were homes deemed uninhabitable,
stephenson adds. NU
TEXAS MARKET SHARE
Source: SNL Financial
Other autos show significant damage
from hail—some the size of tennis balls—
that fell during the april 3 severe storms and
tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
nicole alley, spokeswoman for usaa,
says the Texas-based insurer is also seeing
From Takeout to
Truck Sham Derailed
BY CHRISTINA BRAMLET
Fifteen suspects accused of using food trucks to rig more than a dozen accidents are now sampling the cuisine at a florida
the case is part of a continuing crackdown by
florida cfO Jeff Atwater’s Division of insurance
fraud and the national insurance crime Bureau
(nicB) to quell rampant auto-insurance fraud
schemes that have plagued the state for years—
and siphoned funds from sunshine state
insurers and policyholders in the process.
During the course of a two-year investigation,
authorities tracked a Miami-based fraud ring
whose routes put a new spin on the term
“the lunch rush.” According to Atwater’s office,
the defendants allegedly used the trucks to
orchestrate accidents for which they filed more
than $800,000 in fraudulent property damage
and personal-injury protection (pip) claims.
I am confident
that reforms passed
this session will help
stop fraud at the
source while giving
us more tools to go
after scam artists.”
Florida CFO Jeff Atwater
it is also believed that the vehicle owners
enlisted the help of additional participants posing
as insureds to set up more than 12 auto accidents
between 2008 and 2010. the division recently
announced the arrest of 15 suspects in connection
with the venture and expressed optimism about
the recent legislative developments in putting the
brakes on these scams permanently.
“i am confident that reforms passed this
session will help stop fraud at the source while
giving us more tools to go after scam artists,”
Atwater says in a press release. “i will not stand
by and let these organized crime rings steal
[policyholders’] hard-earned dollars.”
image by Khampha Bouaphanh/Mct/Landov