The storm of Aug. 20, 2010 will no doubt be remembered for years to come as hundreds of trees were lost throughout the city and homes, cars and utilities were damaged by Mother Nature.
Claims adjusters were called in from throughout the state and some from Minnesota to handle hundreds of claims.
The Demming-Noel Insurance Agency reported over 70 claims as of Monday. Doug Noel, was in Eagle River entering a fishing tournament with his daughter when the storm hit. He was immediately alerted by employee Deb Buelow and drove back to New London to assess damages. He said he was amazed at the shape of the city when he arrived. After a week of handling claims and working with four insurance companies and their adjusters, he said things are beginning to settle down. “A lot of people who thought they would have hail damage didn’t,” said Noel. “We were all fortunate, even though there was a lot of damage.”
At Karen Gething’s State Farm Insurance office, the staff had been watching the crew working on the Pearl Street Bridge just outside their door and later wondered where the crew found shelter during the storm. The phones started ringing about 5:20 p.m. and didn’t stop. The staff returned to work after checking on their families and worked until 9:30 p.m., as well as all day Saturday. “I didn’t even look at my own building until one of the workmen from the bridge noted to me that I had roof problems,” said Gething.
Gething reported over 70 home and auto claims by Thursday afternoon when she was interviewed. Gething said that the State Farm Weather Center had been watching the storm and seven adjusters were sent to handle claims in the area.
Mark Heise of American Family watched North Water Street fill with water in just minutes the afternoon of Aug. 20, and worked after 9 p.m. to get claims started. “I spent a lot of time this week calling clients to make sure adjusters had come,” he said. Three full time and four part-time adjusters from Appleton were out in the area. They processed nearly 100 claims.
At Radtke-Rhone Insurance on the Embarrass River, Frank Radtke was working in his inner office when office workers at windows alerted him to the high winds and debris. They saw trees down within a block of their business and soon lost power. “When the phones came back on at 6:30 p.m., I called in our staff to handle claims. I had six customers walk in to file their claims because their phones had been out too.” Radtke said the staff worked through Saturday gathering information and processing claims. He reported 20 adjusters in the field, with seven major companies covering their customers. They handled over 75 claims the first week.
Over in Hortonville, Smart Choice Insurance handled nine claims with one car and the rest home damages. “Lots of trees on houses in both Stephensville and New London,” reported Liz Wiesner. She commented that she lives near Cuff’s Berry Farm and didn’t experience any problems there. Howard Schwartz of Ellington Mutual reported 51 claims at his office.
All insurance agencies were thankful for the patience of their clients and thought the citizens and city workers of New London should be commended for their quick, efficient clean up efforts and getting the city back to order.