Storm victims make hundreds of insurance claims

Published: Feb. 26, 2016 at 10:24 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 26, 2016 at 10:40 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As tornado victims in Laplace pick up the pieces, insurance adjusters are paying them visits one by one.

"The adjuster was here this morning. He looked at it. It's unbelievable," said Richard Marino, who owns a rental property in the Carrollwood subdivision.

His home is across the street, and both structures sustained major damage.

Marino said he made his insurance claim right away.

"Before the wind stopped blowing I was on the phone with my agent, and the next morning I was on the phone with my agent again," Marino said.

Marino said being persistent is key.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said all tornado victims, no matter how much or little damage received, should always make a claim.

"The first thing you should do is pull out your policy, familiarize yourself with your policy, deductibles, etc., and access the telephone number for reporting your claim," Donelon said.

He said the next step is to minimize the loss by putting blue tarps or plywood over roofs, doors and windows.

Some insurance companies are making it easier for their customers to make quick claims. Allstate is set up in the parking lot of Home Depot.

"Like tree damage, we're able to go ahead and make payments for them to get those services right away," representative Brian Berrettini said.

Laurene Brady and her mother are taking advantage of the mobile center.

Geraldine Smith says she's glad to be moving along in the process, but she's still shaken by what happened Tuesday afternoon.

"I had an 8 month old and a 6 year old in the house at the same time this happened," Smith said.

Brady is helping her mom.

"They're to send a crew over sometime today, to access the condition of the home and stuff," Brady said.

Donelon said after a natural disaster, victims should be on the lookout for contractor fraud.

"It's common, unfortunately. Those folks are referred to as storm chasers," Donelon said.

He said you should check for a contractor's license and make sure they have an insurance policy before hiring them.

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